STAR and Property Tax Delinquency
Beginning in 2020, property owners with property tax delinquencies greater than one year are not eligible for the Basic STAR exemption or the Basic STAR credit.
Property taxes are considered delinquent for purposes of this program under either of the following circumstances:
- The taxes remain unpaid one year after the last date on which they could have been paid without interest. For example, for 2020 STAR benefits, the town and county taxes due on January 31, 2019, have not been paid by January 31, 2020.
- Where property taxes are payable in installments, the taxes remain unpaid one year after the last date on which the final installment could have been paid without interest. For example, for 2020 STAR benefits, the final school tax installment due March 31, 2019, has not been paid by March 31, 2020.
Recipients of the Enhanced STAR exemptions and credits are not impacted by the new law and may continue to receive their STAR benefits even if their property taxes are delinquent.
The following table outlines the program steps for a county where school tax bills are issued on or around September 1, 2020.
The timeline and participants will vary based on the calendar and specifics of particular localities.
|1||The county treasurer, and any tax collectors who do not return unpaid taxes to the county treasurer, provide data on delinquent homeowners to the county real property tax (RPT) director.||April 28, 2020*|
|2||County RPT director provides data on delinquent homeowners to the NYS Tax Department (firstname.lastname@example.org)||May 6, 2020*|
|3||The NYS Tax Department notifies delinquent homeowners who receive a Basic STAR benefit that they must pay their taxes in full within 30 days or they will lose their STAR benefit.||May 22, 2020*|
|4||Delinquent homeowners who receive a Basic STAR benefit must pay delinquent property taxes in full by this date.||30 days after the mailing date of the letter in Step 3|
|5||County treasurer and tax collectors notify county RPT director of previously delinquent homeowners who paid their taxes in full by the deadline in Step #4.||July 6, 2020|
|6||County RPT director notifies the NYS Tax Department (email@example.com) of previously delinquent homeowners who have not resolved their delinquency by the deadline in Step #4||July 17, 2020|
|7||The NYS Tax Department notifies assessors and county RPT director of properties that are not eligible for Basic STAR exemptions in 2020.||July 31, 2020|
|8||Local officials update tax bill files and/or tax bills.||Mid-August|
|9||School district issues school tax bills.||September 1, 2020|
|10||County treasurer and tax collectors notify county RPT director of previously delinquent homeowners who paid their taxes in full after the deadline in Step #4.||Within 30 days of receipt of payment|
|11||County RPT director notifies the NYS Tax Department (firstname.lastname@example.org) of previously delinquent homeowners who paid their taxes in full after the deadline in Step #4. The lost STAR benefits for the current year will be added to next year’s STAR credit.||Quarterly beginning on October 15, 2020|
*Dates are examples only; they do not represent the actual dates for any particular jurisdiction.
Repayment after 30 days
Q. If a property owner resolves their property tax delinquency after the 30-day deadline specified in the letter can they continue to receive the STAR benefit?
A. Yes, but they can no longer receive the STAR exemption. If they resolve the delinquency after the deadline in the letter, the county RPT director will notify the Tax Department on a quarterly report.
Existing STAR exemption recipients – The Tax Department will send a letter to the property owners notifying them to register for the STAR credit in order to continue receiving the STAR benefit.
Existing STAR credit recipients – The property owners do not need to register again for the STAR credit. The Tax Department will include their 2020 benefit in their 2021 check for the STAR credit.
What should local officials include on the spreadsheet for the NYS Tax Department?
Q. Should local officials report all properties or just those with the STAR exemption?
A. To simplify the local role, we encourage you to report all delinquent properties in all property classes. Include those that are delinquent for any property tax, including county, city, town, village, and special districts. The NYS Tax Department will only send letters to those that received the Basic STAR exemption last year or that have registered for the Basic STAR credit.
Q. Should properties in bankruptcy be included on the spreadsheet?
A. It is not necessary to include them, but if it is easier for you to do so, please note them with an X in the Bankruptcy Flag column. We will not send letters to property owners in bankruptcy.
Q. Should properties with a delinquent tax installment payment agreement under RPTL § 1184 be included on the spreadsheet?
A. It is not necessary to include them, but if it is easier for you to do so, please note them with an X in the Payment Agreement Flag column. We will not send letters to property owners that you indicate have an installment payment agreement.
Q. What if the property owner is behind on their § 1184 installment payments?
A. If they are not making regular payments, they should be included on the spreadsheet and not flagged as having an installment payment agreement.
Q. If we have sold the tax lien for a property, should the property be included on the spreadsheet?
A. It is not necessary to include them, but if it is easier for you to do so, please note them with an X in the Lien Sale Flag column. We will not send letters to these property owners.
Q. Should local officials include property owners that are delinquent on fees other than property taxes, such as those for water, refuse, sewer, and code violation charges?
Q. If the owner of a farm or other type of property that includes multiple parcels is delinquent on parcels other than the residence, would he be ineligible for STAR moving forward?
A. No. If the residence is not tax delinquent, it will not lose its STAR benefit based on being tax delinquent.
Q. For purposes of STAR eligibility, do delinquent taxes refer to school taxes only, or are other local taxes included?
A. For this program, delinquent taxes include county, city, town, school, or village property taxes for all properties that:
- remain unpaid one year after the last date on which they could have been paid without interest; or
- are payable in installments and those taxes remain unpaid one year after the last date on which the final installment could have been paid without interest.
Q. Property owners in Article 11 counties are required to pay their most recent delinquent property taxes first before paying prior year delinquent property taxes. How does that affect this program?
A. It doesn’t affect the program. Property owners in those counties will have to repay their delinquent property taxes that are more than one year overdue to continue receiving the STAR exemption. If they cannot pay them all at once, they will have to pay them in reverse chronological order, as RPTL §1112 requires.
Q. Will the NYS Tax Department letter to property owners include the amount due?
A. No. But to the extent possible, it will advise property owners how they can ascertain and pay the amount due. See the sample letters under Resources below. Please provide the appropriate contact information on your reports to the NYS Tax Department.