Stop waiting for a 2nd STAR property tax break from NY in 2020; the check isn’t coming

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Homeowners in New York state got used to receiving a second STAR property tax break check in the fall.

But this year, the state is only giving one STAR handout.

Taxpayers will continue to get the tax break they claim routinely on their school property tax bills. It comes as a discount on school property taxes or as a check from the state, depending on where the homeowner is enrolled in the program.

In 2020, the second check is not coming.

It’s the loss of a benefit worth hundreds of dollars for homeowners. If a homeowner made less than $75,000 a year and had a basic STAR exemption of $1,000, the second check would have been $850. Higher earners received less.

Two million New York homeowners received that check last year.

That second check was called the Property Tax Relief Credit. It was created by state legislation at a time when the state was imposing a spending cap on school districts.

The money went to homeowners who were signed up for basic or enhanced STAR, had an income of less than $275,000 and lived in a school district that stayed under the property tax cap.

The idea was that voters would pressure schools to stay within the cap if they stood to get a check from the state as a reward.

It was also free money arriving in the mail from Albany just in time for the November election.

The Property Tax Relief Credit expired in 2019 and was not included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget for this year.

Homeowners who want to see whether they got their checks for the previous three years can look it up on the state tax department’s website.

To see if the home received the original STAR tax break this year, check the school property tax bill for the discount. (Previous school tax bills are available on the Onondaga County website.)

Homeowners who signed up for the STAR tax break to be applied as a state income tax credit should receive a check just before taxes are due. Taxpayers who bought their homes after 2015 or make more than $250,000 in annual income must enroll in STAR with the state.

The state has mailed 313,000 of those checks to homeowners so far this year, a spokesman said.

They start coming in July in the city of Syracuse. They come in September for most suburban districts.

Homeowners can look up each school district on the tax department’s website to see the date checks started to be mailed.

Contact the state tax department at 518-457-2036.

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