Penalties related to the STAR Program
Taxpayers whose STAR exemptions are revoked by the assessor may be subject to a penalty. Penalties will apply if the exemption has been inappropriately granted in the past and revoked for the following reasons:
- inadvertently receiving multiple STAR exemptions, or
- making a "material misstatement," as described below.
The penalties are calculated as follows:
- The amount of the benefit received inappropriately over the "look-back period*", plus interest; and
- a $500 processing fee applicable to inappropriate exemptions occurring on assessment rolls filed after April 1, 2013
Additional penalties for material misstatements
If a property owner makes a "material misstatement" on his or her STAR application to the assessor, additional penalties apply.
A "material misstatement" means that the property owner:
- claimed a property was his or her primary residence when it was not;
- claimed they had relinquished the STAR exemption on a former primary residence when they knew they had not; or
- misrepresented their age or income to appear eligible for the enhanced STAR exemption.
The penalty for a material misstatement increases on October 1, 2013.
- Misstatement on an application prior to October 1, 2013
- $100 penalty (fee goes to assessing unit)
- Payback up to 3 years of inappropriately received benefits plus interes
- Disqualification for any STAR exemption for 5 years
- Misstatement is on application after October 1, 2013
- Penalty equal to the greater of $100 or 20% of inappropriately received benefits, not to exceed $2500 (fee goes to assessing unit)
- Payback up to 6 years of inappropriately received benefits plus interest
- Disqualification for any STAR exemption for 6 years
* In 2013, the look-back period is the prior three years. In 2014, the look-back period is the prior four years. In 2015, the look back period is the prior five years. In 2016 and beyond, the look-back period is the prior six years.