STAR Rebate Enrollment Campaign Continues in Central New York Counties

Online Application Will Make Enrollment Fast and Easy
ALBANY, NY (08/27/2007; 1432)(readMedia)– Acting New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Barbara G. Billet today announced that homeowners in nine additional counties in western and central New York State will begin receiving letters offering information on how to apply for their 2007 Middle Class STAR Rebate check and receive the full program benefit.

The mailing to Cayuga, Livingston, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates Counties began Monday, August 27, with approximately 199,300 notices to STAR-eligible homeowners reminding them of the need to apply. The mailing to homeowners in these counties will continue through August 31.

Mailing to the state’s nine westernmost counties – Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming – began August 20 and runs through August 28.

“Governor Spitzer’s Middle Class STAR program is a $1.3 billion tax cut, the largest in state history, and specifically targeted to middle class homeowners, where it provides much-needed help to senior citizens and hard-working families. It is income-based, so those who need it most will receive the largest benefit,” Acting Commissioner Billet said.

“In striving to make a regressive property tax system more progressive, we’re providing more relief to those with the least ability to pay. With this added fairness comes the additional responsibility of filling out a form, and our Department worked meticulously to create a process that was simple and fast for families to receive their checks,” Acting Commissioner Billet said.

Seniors 65-years or older who receive the enhanced STAR exemption do not need to apply. These homeowners get their STAR rebate checks automatically.

Letters to other eligible homeowners throughout the rest of the state continues regionally beginning September 3 and runs through the end of September.

Staggering the notifications allows the Tax Department to manage homeowner telephone inquiries and applications while maintaining a high level of customer service and responsiveness. All letters will be sent out by the end of September to give ample time for homeowners to fill out the application prior to the November 30 deadline.

Rebate checks will be calculated on a sliding scale based on income, with the maximum benefit going to all upstate homeowners earning $90,000 or less, and all NYC metropolitan region homeowners earning $120,000 or less. The difference in threshold levels corresponds to the difference in average regional incomes and cost of living. The benefit gradually diminishes as income exceeds these thresholds until a homeowner’s income reaches $250,000. Taxpayers earning over $250,000 are not eligible for new relief, but will continue to receive their current STAR benefit.

Once a homeowner receives a notice, enrollment is easy with a simple application that can be submitted by mail or online. The rebate checks will be mailed to homeowners as their applications are processed. Online applications take less time to process, though generally people may expect their check several weeks after they submit their application. Enrolling online at http://www.nystax.govwill be the fastest way to receive a rebate check.

To receive a rebate check, homeowners only have to verify the property information provided on the application, enter the names, social security numbers, and all required information for all resident property owners and their spouses, verify the mailing address, and submit the application.

The Tax Department has updated information on its website, http://www.nystax.gov, and created a special hotline in the Department’s Call Center at 1-877-6-STAR-NY (1-877-678-2769) for STAR calls. Spanish speakers will be able to receive assistance through the Call Center.

Homeowners interested in the program can go online or use the Call Center to find out when their notice and application will be mailed, see a sample application and instructions, view a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and find out how much they will most likely receive in their rebate check.

For more information about the program, please visit the Tax Department’s website at http://www.nystax.govor call the STAR hotline at 1-877-678-2769.