Step-by-step guide to the STAR credit process
To calculate STAR credits and determine eligibility for more than 250,000 new property owners annually, the Tax Department relies heavily on local school and municipality data. The assistance and expertise of thousands of officials from local government and school districts is essential.
Below is an example of the multi-step process necessary to issue STAR credits. In this example, the town publishes the tentative assessment roll in May, and the school district sends out tax bills in September.
While this is a typical calendar for many upstate communities, the dates vary widely among the nearly 1,000 towns and 700 school districts statewide.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
New property owners register with the Tax Department for the STAR credit.
The Tax Department uses the information provided by property owners to make initial eligibility determinations. Automated systems match the taxpayer information to income tax data.
The assessor or county real property tax (RPT) director sends the tentative assessment roll to the Tax Department.
The Tax Department uses the tentative assessment roll data to:
- verify that STAR registrants aren’t receiving a STAR exemption, and
- estimate the credit amount.
The assessor or county RPT director sends spreadsheets listing mobile home and co-op owners to the Tax Department. Mobile homes in mobile home parks and individual units in co-operative buildings are generally not listed on the assessment roll. This data must be provided separately.
The Tax Department uses the mobile home and co-op data to:
- confirm the information provided when the property owner registered,
- ensure the property owner is not receiving a STAR exemption,
- estimate the STAR credit amount, and
- determine whether the property owner is eligible for the property tax relief credit.
The assessor or county RPT director standardizes the way STAR exemptions are identified on the files.
The Tax Department can efficiently confirm that property owners won’t receive a STAR exemption on their school tax bills.
The assessor or county RPT director sends the final assessment roll to the Tax Department.
The Tax Department compares the roll data to the information provided by property owners who registered for the STAR credit since the tentative roll was filed. In addition, as the department continues to estimate credit amounts, it reviews the impact of any changes between the tentative and final rolls.
AUGUST (PRIOR TO PROCESSING SCHOOL TAX BILLS)
- A school district official provides the Tax Department with school tax rates, which the Tax Department uses to calculate preliminary STAR credit amounts.
- On August 10, the Tax Department provides the assessor or county RPT director with a list of STAR credit recipients for properties that receive tax bills. (Mobile home and co-op units do not typically receive school tax bills and are not included on these lists.)
- The assessor or county RPT director uses the list to update the roll files with STAR credit recipients.
- School tax bill processors apply STAR credit guidelines to their tax billing process. As a result, property owners who will receive the STAR credit are notified on their school tax bills.
- School tax bill processors confirm that STAR naming conventions are standardized on tax bill extracts.
- On September 1, the Tax Department begins issuing STAR credit checks.
- The school district issues tax bills on September 1.
- Within ten days of issuing tax bills, a school district official sends the school tax bill data file to the Tax Department.
After checks are issued, the Tax Department will use the school tax bill data to confirm the credit amounts and calculate any necessary adjustments.