STAR: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A: The School Tax Relief (STAR) program offers property tax relief to eligible New York State homeowners. If you’re eligible and enrolled in the STAR program, you’ll receive your benefit each year in one of two ways:
- STAR credit check. If you are registered for the STAR credit, the Tax Department will send you a STAR check in the mail each year. You can use the check to pay your school taxes. You can receive the STAR credit if you own your home and it's your primary residence and the combined income of the owners and the owners’ spouses is $500,000 or less.
- STAR exemption: a reduction on your school tax bill. If you’ve been receiving the STAR exemption since 2015, you can continue to receive it for the same primary residence. As long as you remain eligible, you’ll see a reduction on your school tax bill for the amount of your STAR exemption. Note: The STAR exemption is no longer available to anyone who purchased their home after 2015.
Whether you receive the STAR exemption or the credit, there is a Basic STAR benefit and an Enhanced STAR benefit. For more information, see Types of STAR benefits.
A: Homeowners with incomes under $500,000 are generally eligible for the STAR credit on their primary residence. For details, see STAR eligibility.
A: Because the STAR exemption is a reduction on your school tax bill, you can determine if you are receiving it by reviewing your school tax bill or contacting your assessor. See Property tax bill examples. You can also check the assessment roll for the municipality in which you reside to determine whether a STAR exemption has been placed on the assessment roll for your property. Assessment rolls are generally posted on your municipality or county’s website. Learn about the assessment roll.
Because the STAR credit is paid to recipients annually by the Tax Department, you can look up property tax credits previously paid to you on our Property Tax Credit Lookup tool.
A: We recommend you register as soon as possible after you move into your new home. However, we’ll accept your registration for up to three years from the income tax filing deadline for the year covered by the credit. For example, to claim the STAR credit for 2023, you must register by April 15, 2027.
A: No. Once you’ve registered, we’ll automatically review your eligibility for the credit every year for as long as you continue to own and occupy your home.
A: No. The department makes one payment to all resident owners of a property. If multiple owners wish to divide the STAR credit benefit, they must make arrangements among themselves.
Q: I recently bought my manufactured home and live in a manufactured home park. Am I eligible for the STAR credit?
A: You may be. Manufactured homeowners are eligible for the STAR credit if they meet all the STAR eligibility criteria.
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; or
- 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 manufactured homes may be on a different schedule.
If you are entitled to interest, we’ll automatically add it when we issue your check.
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 1), 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 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’re eligible, you’ll receive a STAR credit in the form of a check.
The credit may be more beneficial to eligible homeowners because it may provide a greater benefit than the exemption. The value of the STAR credit savings may increase by as much as 2% each year, while the value of the STAR exemption savings will not. The STAR exemption savings can never be greater than the STAR credit savings. For more information, see STAR credit and exemption savings amounts.
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. Their exemption remained in place in 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 to receive a STAR benefit in the future.
Q: I own my single-family home and have resided in it for more than 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. Because you weren't receiving the STAR exemption on the property in 2015, you're not eligible to receive the exemption. However, you may still register with the Tax Department for the credit. See When should I register?.
Q: If I currently receive the STAR exemption but would like to switch to the STAR credit, what should I do?
A: If you want to receive the STAR credit instead of the exemption, it may be to your advantage. However, once you switch to the STAR credit, you cannot switch back to the exemption.
To receive the STAR credit, follow the instructions to register for the STAR credit and select Make the Switch from the Registration Options. Once you register for the credit, you will no longer receive the STAR exemption. If you do not select Make the Switch, you’ll continue to receive the STAR exemption.
Q: I have received 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: If you reviewed the eligibility requirements and believe you’re eligible, yes. To upgrade your Basic STAR exemption to the Enhanced STAR exemption, you must submit the following to your assessor:
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 for your new property in order to receive the benefit on your new home.
Q: I have not moved, or sold my property, but would like to change my mailing address. Should I update my STAR registration?
A: Yes. See Register for the STAR credit, select Get Started to open the application, and choose Update your registration from the options.
Q: I have continuously owned my home and have been receiving the STAR exemption, but a co-owner has been added or removed due to 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.
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.