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Department of Taxation and Finance

About the STAR credit program

Questions and answers for homeowners

Q: How do I register for the STAR credit?

A: To register, visit Register for the STAR credit. Before you begin, gather all the information required to register, because you won’t be able to save the registration to complete at a later time.

Q: When should I register?

A: We recommend you register as soon as possible after you move into your home. Registrations will be accepted for three years from the income tax filing deadline for the year that the credit covers. For example, to claim the STAR credit for 2020, you must register by April 15, 2024. However, the sooner you register, the sooner you will receive your STAR check.

Q: Do I need to register every year?

A: No. Once you’ve registered, we’ll automatically review your eligibility for the credit every year after that for as long as you continue to own and occupy your home.

Q: If I’m receiving the STAR exemption, should I switch to receiving a check for the STAR credit?

A: Yes. Beginning in 2019, homeowners who have the STAR exemption may receive a greater benefit if they switch to the STAR credit. The value of the STAR credit savings may grow by as much as 2% from year to year, but the value of the STAR exemption savings cannot increase. In fact, in 2020, the STAR credit amount (for Basic or Enhanced) could be up to 4.04% higher than the STAR exemption savings.

In addition, if your income is $250,000 or higher, you must switch to the STAR credit to continue receiving the STAR benefit.

To get started, see Switching to the STAR credit from the STAR exemption.

Q: After I buy a new home, when do I become eligible for the STAR credit?

A: You will become eligible for the STAR credit in the first year that you own the home and it is your primary residence as of the date that school taxes are due.

Example 1:  If the school taxes in your community are due by September 30, and you purchase the home on September 15, you will become eligible for STAR that year, as long as you Register for the STAR credit and meet the eligibility criteria.

Exception:  If the prior owner had been receiving a STAR exemption on the home, and the sale occurred after the local “taxable status date” (generally March 1st), his or her STAR exemption will be carried over to your first school tax bill, and you will begin receiving the STAR credit the following year.

Example 2:  If the school taxes in your community are due by September 30, and you purchase the home on October 15 (after school taxes are due), you will become eligible for the STAR credit the following year, as long as you register and meet the eligibility criteria.

Q: I used to receive the STAR exemption on my school tax bill, but I bought a new home. Why do I have to get a STAR credit check instead of the exemption?

A: In 2016, the law changed regarding the STAR exemption. Instead of applying to your assessor for the exemption, you’ll now register with New York State for the STAR credit. If you are eligible, you will receive a STAR credit in the form of a check. The dollar value of the credit will generally be the same as the property tax exemption.

Q: I purchased my home last year and I received the STAR exemption on my first school tax bill. Do I need to register?

A: Yes. The reason you received the STAR exemption on your first school tax bill is because the previous owner of your home was granted the STAR exemption. You were entitled to their benefit for the first year you owned the home, but you are not entitled to keep their STAR exemption beyond that. You must register for the STAR credit in order to receive a STAR benefit in the future.

Q: I own my single-family home and have been residing in it for over a decade, but I never applied for the Basic STAR exemption. Am I eligible for the Basic STAR exemption now, or do I have to register for the STAR credit with the Tax Department?

A: By law, to receive the STAR exemption now, you must have received it in 2015. Since you weren't receiving the STAR exemption on the property in 2015, you're not eligible to receive the exemption. You should register with the Tax Department for the credit.

Q: When I file my income taxes, do I report the STAR credit I received?

A: See How to report your property tax credits.

Q: I didn’t receive my STAR credit check in time to pay my school tax bill. Is my credit check now eligible for interest?

A: State law allows for interest to be paid on STAR credits only if you registered on or before July 1 of the year of the credit. However, even if you registered on or before July 1, your eligibility for interest depends on when your school district’s tax roll was filed with the Tax Department. Specifically, if the school tax roll was filed with us:

      • by July 1, you’re eligible for interest if the check isn’t issued by July 31.

      • by September 1, you’re eligible for interest if the check isn’t issued by September 30.

      • after September 1, you’re eligible for interest if the check isn’t issued within 30 days from the filing of the roll.

Note: Checks for cooperatives and mobile homes may be on a different schedule. If you are entitled to interest, it will be automatically added to your check when it is issued.

Q: I recently bought my mobile home and live in a mobile home park. Am I eligible for the STAR credit?

A: Mobile home owners are eligible for the STAR credit as long as they meet all the STAR eligibility criteria.

Q: I own a mobile home in a mobile home park and receive the STAR exemption.  Will my STAR savings be larger if I register for the credit?

A: You may receive a larger savings with the credit instead of the exemption if the mobile home is not separately assessed and its equalized assessed value is less than $20,000. (You would be separately assessed if you have any other exemptions in addition to the STAR; for example, a veterans exemption, a senior exemption, a disabled exemption, etc.) The reason for the difference is, for the exemption, the savings is calculated based on the assessed value of the mobile home unit. The park owner receives the school tax bill and distributes the STAR savings to the unit owners, often by reducing their lot rent.  In addition, the owner can keep 2% of the savings for record-keeping purposes.

However, by law, the STAR credit for a mobile home unit that is not separately assessed is based on a minimum equalized assessed value of $20,000, and the credit is issued as a check directly to the unit owner—not the park owner.  In addition, the park owner is not involved with the administration of the STAR credit so the 2% reduction allowed for record-keeping purposes to administer the exemption is not applicable.

Q: I registered for the STAR credit in a previous year. Since then, I bought and moved to a new home. Do I need to register again?

A: Yes, if you change residences you must re-register for the STAR credit in order to receive the benefit on your new home.

Q: I have continuously owned my home and have been receiving the STAR exemption, but a co-owner has been added or removed as a result of marriage, divorce, or the death of a spouse. Do I have to switch to the STAR credit?

A: No. If you received the STAR exemption in 2015 and you continue to own the home, you’re eligible to continue receiving the exemption.

Note: You should consider switching to the STAR credit, because you may receive a larger STAR benefit. For more information see Why switch to the STAR credit from the STAR exemption.

Q: I’m receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption and I’m considering placing my home in a trust or life estate. Will I lose the STAR exemption and have to register for the STAR credit?

A: No. As long as you continue to live in the home and you’re either the trust beneficiary or life tenant, you’re eligible to continue receiving the exemption. For more information on trusts, life estates and STAR, see STAR eligibility.

Note: You should consider switching to the STAR credit, because you may receive a larger STAR benefit. For more information see Why switch to the STAR credit from the STAR exemption.

Q: I have been receiving a Basic STAR exemption since 2014. I turned 65 years old a few months ago and believe that I now qualify for the Enhanced STAR exemption. Do I apply to the assessor to receive the Enhanced STAR exemption?

A: Yes. If you have been receiving the STAR exemption since before the 2015 STAR application deadline, the STAR rules are the same for you as before.

To have your Basic STAR exemption upgraded to the Enhanced STAR exemption, you must submit the following to your assessor:

         • RP-425-IVP, Supplement to Form RP-425-E (include the Social Security numbers of all owners of the property and any of their spouses who reside at the property), and

         • RP-425-E, Application for Enhanced STAR Exemption.

Note: You should consider switching to the STAR credit, because you may receive a larger STAR benefit. For more information see Why switch to the STAR credit from the STAR exemption.

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