WHAT IS STAR?
STAR is New York State's School Tax Relief Program that includes a partial property tax exemption from school taxes. If you own and live in your home, you are probably eligible for the STAR exemption.
There are two parts to the STAR property tax exemption:
- The Basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied primary residences where the total income of all property owners is $500,000 or less per year. Basic STAR exempts the first $30,000 of the assessed value of the home for school tax purposes only.
- The Enhanced STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied primary residences where at least one owner is 65 years of age. In addition to the age requirement, there is a maximum income level requirement which changes yearly. For the 2012/13 school tax bill, the maximum income is $79,050 on your 2010 income tax return. Income for Enhanced STAR purposes is defined as your adjusted gross income minus taxable amount of total IRA distributions. The Enhanced STAR works by exempting the first $60,100 of the assessed value of the home for school tax purposes only.
WHAT IS THE SENIOR EXEMPTION?
Section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law gives local governments and school districts the option of granting a reduction in the amount of property taxes paid by qualifying senior citizens age 65 and older. This reduction is in addition to the Enhanced STAR exemption. There is a maximum income limit to qualify which varies between the County, Town and School Districts. In addition, non-reimbursed medical expenses may
be deducted in certain instances. For further information regarding the income limits along with the medical deductions, please contact the assessors office during normal business hours.
IF FARMINGTON CONDUCTS A REASSESSMENT, WILL MY TAXES INCREASE?
A reassessment does not necessarily mean your taxes will increase. Nor does it mean that your assessment will definitely increase. Also, if your assessment is increased, it does not necessarily mean your taxes will increase. A property assessment should reflect market value. As market values fluctuate and the assessments are not changed to reflect the fluctuation, a property owner may pay more or less then their fair share of taxes. Keeping assessments up-to-date each year is necessary for fair tax distribution.
WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE ASSESSMENT ON THE TENTATIVE ROLL?
The first step would be to have an informal meeting with the assessor. During that meeting you can review how the assessor arrived at the market value of your property and tell her any information regarding your property that she may not be aware of. The assessor typically will not make a decision on changing the assessment at that time. You will receive a letter advising of her decision by the beginning of May. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may file for a formal review of your assessment to the Board of Assessment Review (BAR). The BAR meets on the forth Tuesday in May. The assessors office can explain to you how to go about filing the paperwork needed for the BAR.
WHAT IS AN ASSESSMENT?
A property assessment is based on market value. What would a willing buyer and a willing seller pay for the property under normal conditions. There are three approaches used to value real property. They are the sales approach, the cost approach and the income approach. Typically when placing a market value on a pre-existing single family residence, the assessor uses the sales approach and compares sales of similar houses to the subject. However, the cost approach can also be used. The cost approach is based on the depreciated cost of labor and materials required to replace it. The income approach is typically used to value commercial properties. Any of these three approaches can be used to provide the best estimate of a properties market value. The property must be assessed as its current use, not the highest and best use of the property.