Saturday February 16, 2013

ZEKE WRIGHT

Staff Writer

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- If you earn less than $500,000 and live in your own home, you’re probably eligible for the New York State School Tax Relief Program, otherwise known as the STAR exemption. Potentially knocking hundreds of dollars off local school tax bills, the deadline for applying for the STAR exemption is March 1.

There are two types of partial exemptions from school property taxes available through STAR: basic STAR, which is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the owners’ combined income is less than $500,000, and enhanced STAR for senior citizens age 65 and older with a qualifying annual income of $79,050 or less. (Senior citizens who do not qualify for the enhanced exemption may still qualify at the basic level.)

Homeowners qualifying for basic STAR need only apply once; but enhanced STAR and other tax relief related to seniors on low incomes, disability and veteran status, and agricultural exemptions must be applied for annually. When in doubt, contact your local assessor’s officer.

The exemption only applies to school district taxes -- the single largest tax bill -- and not county, town, or other property taxes. Application forms can be picked up at local town assessors’ offices, and must be mailed or hand-delivered back to your local assessor. They’re also available online at the state Department of Taxation and Finance’s website at: