State to take over monitoring STAR Rebate program

State to take over monitoring STAR Rebate program

ALBANY — The State of New York will personally be cracking down on those who double dip or defraud the STAR rebate program.Taking effect for the 2014-2015 school year homeowners on the basic STAR program will soon have to fill out paperwork with New York State. Applicants will still apply with their local government but need to fill out the added state form.The state’s paperwork will ask for a homeowner’s social security number, among other things, allowing the state to make sure taxpayers are only claiming one home on the STAR program. Right now local governments don’t seek that information nor do they have the ability to track if people own homes in different municipalities.The law allows for a homeowner to claim one residence, their primary, to be used to get the partial school tax credit.According to a February New York State Comptroller’s Office report 20 percent of homes audited, during the 2011 fiscal year, were found to have filed improperly. In many cases homeowners had more than one house receiving tax breaks.It is our fiscal responsibility to make sure that the money is paid in the accurate way, said Nonie Manion of the Department of Tax and Finance.Manion says local governments do not have the access to as many records as New York State does. In all just over 2.6 million people are on the basic STAR rebate program, Department of Tax and Finance records show.Seniors on the enhanced STAR program will not be affected, Manion said.New York State plans to hold three workshops outlining the new step in each of the 62 counties before the changes are implemented.

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