SPRINGVILLE — This year, Springville-Griffith Institute district residents can register for a Basic STAR property tax exemption more easily than ever, through the S-GI website. Superintendent of Schools Paul Connelly said that he hopes residents remember to apply for monies that will help both the resident and the district, in the long run.
“It’s so easy to forget about it, and it only takes two seconds to apply,” Connelly said. “It’s beneficial for saving taxes. Used to be, you had to go down to the office and fill out the paperwork, but now we’ve got a link on our website that makes it a lot easier.”
Springville-Griffith Institute Business Administrator Ted Welch said that whether or not homeowners file for their exemption affects the budget only in the amount the school gets from property taxes, instead of through state aid.
“If the homeowners don’t file, then we get the amount through their property tax. If they do qualify and file for the exemption, the state gives us the STAR amount,” he explained.
“We get $2.4 million in Basic STAR, which may vary because of the new registration process,” Welch added.
Because of widespread fraud, across New York state that includes homeowners with multiple properties or those who do not qualify for the benefits’ filing for and receiving exemptions, the state government has been re-examining how these benefits are allocated, according to Welch.
“Because they’re working to prevent that fraud, we may see some of that $2.4 million go down, depending on how much fraud is discovered and discontinued,” he said, of the state’s proposed plans. “But we’ll re-capture it, on the tax side. Say someone in our district is receiving $2,000 in Basic STAR fraudulently. Well, if they’re caught and discontinued, that goes back into their property taxes. We’ll lose that out of our $2.4 million, but we’ll get it back in taxes. So, it all works out.”
According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, residents no longer have to register with the department, in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years. That legislation also means homeowners will no longer have to re-register for Basic STAR every year, since the department will monitor homeowners’ eligibility in future years.
The NYSDTF will be mailing eligibility codes to all Basic STAR recipients, or residents can use the look-up tool located at www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/lookup.htm. Residents will need to provide the names and social security numbers for all owners of the property and their spouses, confirm that the property is the primary residence of one of the listed owners and that the combined income of the owners and their spouses does not exceed $500,000.
Recipients of the Basic STAR exemption may receive residency-based tax benefits from only one state, so those who receive those tax breaks from other states are not eligible to receive Basic STAR.
According to Connelly, the tax exemption can be sizeable, for local residents.
“This is an easy way to get tax relief and support the district,” Connelly added.
“For example, say you have a house worth $100,000. Put the exemption in and you might get back five grand. That’s good for everyone’s bottom line.”
The link to the form can be found on the S-GI website at www.springvillegi.org.