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Penalties related to the STAR Program

Penalties

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.

Updated: August 20, 2013