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Enhanced STAR: Deadline looms for seniors to get tax break

Seniors who want to keep their Enhanced STAR property-tax rebates have until March 1 in most communities to make sure they are registered in the state’s new income-verification program.

A new law in New York requires all property owners age 65 and over who are eligible for Enhanced STAR to complete a form with their local tax assessor to verify their income.

The deadline is March 1 in most municipalities so seniors can get the break on their school taxes this fall.

The state has long had an income-verification program, but now the process is mandatory.

Once a property owner is enrolled, the state Tax Department, not the local assessor, will verify income eligibility for Enhanced STAR each year.

About 650,000 seniors annually receive the Enhanced STAR exemption, and roughly 75 percent of them are already enrolled in the income-verification program, said Nonie Manion, the acting tax commissioner.

The average tax break is about $1,400 a year and applies to seniors with incomes of $86,300 or less.

“Once enrolled, property owners will automatically receive their exemption as long as they’re eligible and won’t have to reapply with their assessor,” Manion said in a statement Thursday.

The change doesn’t affect those who bought their homes after Aug. 1, 2015. Those homeowners get a check each fall to pay for a portion of their school taxes, so long as they apply with the state.

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