The STAR program has been instituted by the state of New York and other states as well as cities to help homeowners pay lower local school district taxes.
It significantly reduces the school tax burden on owner-occupants in New York.
You don’t just get it, though. You have to ask for it.
But you only have to ask for it once during your ownership of the property that is subject of the STAR treatment. And of course you loose the right when you eventually sell your home.
The STAR application is a simple half-page form which must be delivered (along with proof of ownership – generally, a copy of your deed) to the office of the assessor of the town in which the property is located.
It must be delivered by the “ tax status date” of the municipality (which is generally March 1) to affect the school tax bill issued that and subsequent years. Be careful, though. The City of Rochester (as well as some other municipalities) has a “tax status date” of February 1.
So, if you are already an eligible homeowner, make sure you have applied for STAR treatment. If you don’t know, your most recent school tax bill will indicate if the property is receiving the STAR benefit. Or you can call your town assessor and ask.
If you are investigating the tax liability of a property (as you are deciding whether or not you want to buy it) , make sure you take cognizance of the effect of the STAR program on that property’s taxes.
And the STAR project isn’t the only way you can save on taxes. Today there are even companies that will work with you in finding ways to lower your home’s tax burden.
Take for an example a Houston based business http://propertytaxreduction.com. They guarantee that if you hire them, they will have your overall property taxes reduced. Sometimes by a lot.
And even though the total might seem insignificant, perhaps they can only save you $200 a year on your property taxes, it adds up over time.
In 10 years that’s a $2000 savings. Savings that can be put to your mortgage or other home expenses.
So when you are looking to save money as a homeowner, don’t forget about your taxes. They add up! And any savings is more money in your pocket rather than the governments. Always a good thing!