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Department of Taxation and Finance

STAR eligibility

Important information for STAR exemption recipients

If your income is greater than $250,000 and less than or equal to $500,000

If you currently receive the Basic STAR exemption and your income is between $250,000 and $500,000, the program is changing for you. If eligible, you will now receive a check for the STAR credit instead of the reduction on your school tax bill.

If you receive a letter asking you to update your STAR registration (Form RP-425-RDM), see Update registration.

If your income is $250,000 or less

If you currently receive the STAR exemption, you can choose to register for the STAR credit to receive a check instead; you may receive a greater benefit. To learn more, see STAR program.


The income criteria for the STAR credit and the STAR property tax exemption has changed (see table, below).  You can’t receive both the credit and the exemption.

Eligible types of property

  • houses, condominiums, cooperative apartments, manufactured homes, and farm houses
  • mixed-use properties, including apartment buildings (but only the owner-occupied portion)

Eligible homeowners 

Requirements for Basic and Enhanced STAR
Factor Basic STAR Enhanced STAR
Residency You must own your home and it must be your primary residence.*
Age No age restriction 65 or older

For jointly owned property, only one spouse or sibling must be at least 65 by December 31 of the year when the benefit will begin.
Income** $500,000 or less for the STAR credit ($250,000 or less for the STAR exemption)

The income limit applies to the combined incomes of only the owners and owners' spouses who reside at the property.

For 2019 benefits: $86,300 or less
 
For 2020 benefits: $88,050 or less

The income limit applies to the combined incomes of all owners (residents and non-residents), and any owner's spouse who resides at the property.

* Determining your primary residence

Some factors that help determine whether a property is your primary residence include:

  • voting,
  • vehicle registrations, and
  • length of time spent each year on the property.

The Tax Department may also request proof of residency.

** Income eligibility

Income eligibility for the 2020 STAR credit is based on federal or state income tax return information from the 2018 tax year.

Income for STAR purposes

Income means federal adjusted gross income minus the taxable amount of total distributions from IRAs (individual retirement accounts and individual retirement annuities). To determine your income eligibility, use the following table to identify line references on your 2018 federal or state income tax returns.

How to calculate your income for STAR
Form number Title of income tax form Income for STAR purposes
Federal Form 1040
U.S. Individual Income Tax Return Adjusted gross
income (line 7) minus
taxable portion of IRA
distributions (see Special
instructions for IRAs
below)
NYS Form IT-201 Resident Income Tax Return Federal adjusted gross
income (line 19) minus
taxable portion of IRA
distributions (line 9)

Special instructions for IRAs

Taxable IRA distributions are not separately reported on 2018 federal Form 1040. Use these instructions to decide whether you need to determine your taxable IRA distributions for 2018, and if so, how.

  1. If any of the following conditions apply to you, you do not need to determine your taxable IRA distributions for 2018:
    1. The amount shown on line 7 of your 2018 federal Form 1040 is less than or equal to the applicable income limit described above. (You meet the income qualification.)
    2. The amount shown on line 7 of your 2018 federal Form 1040 minus the amount shown on line 4b is more than the applicable income limit described above. (You do not meet the income qualification.)
    3. If line 4b of your 2018 federal Form 1040 is zero, your taxable IRA deductions are zero. (Your income qualification will be based on line 7 of your 2018 federal Form 1040.)
  2. If none of those conditions apply to you, you do need to determine the amount of your taxable IRA distributions for 2018:
    1. If you filed a NYS income tax return (Form IT-201) for 2018, the portion of your taxable IRA distributions is the amount shown on line 9 of that return.
    2. If you did not file a NYS income tax return (Form IT-201) for 2018, you must review your records to determine the portion of line 4b of your federal Form 1040 that is attributable to taxable IRA distributions. If you are uncertain, consult your tax advisor.

Special eligibility rules

Surviving spouses

You can retain an existing Enhanced STAR benefit if you're at least 62 years old as of December 31 in the year the benefit will continue. Otherwise, you may receive the Basic STAR benefit.

Nursing home residents

If you own your home, you're eligible for Basic or Enhanced STAR, as long as no one other than the co-owner or spouse resides there.

Trusts

If you're a trust beneficiary who conveyed your home to trustees but continues to live in the home, you get the STAR benefit. For example, a senior creates a trust and conveys her home to her children as trustees. If she remains in the home as the beneficiary of the trust, she is considered the homeowner and gets the STAR benefit.

Life estates

Under a life estate, one party has a life tenancy (ownership for the rest of his or her life) and another party—the remainderman—will become the owner after the life tenant dies. While the deed may appear to convey ownership to the remainderman, the remainderman will not take title until the death of the life tenant. Therefore, for exemption purposes, the life tenant is deemed to own the property, and STAR eligibility is based on the life tenant's qualifications.

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