In New York state, low- and moderate-income seniors have the opportunity to apply for a property tax break that could save them hundreds of dollars.
This tax break, known as the “senior citizens exemption,” is similar to the STAR school tax break and is applicable to municipal taxes such as those for the town and county. To be eligible, the senior must have a household income below $37,400, although some localities have a higher threshold (e.g. Albany has a threshold of $58,400).
Qualifying seniors who are 65 or older can receive a reduction of up to 50 percent in the taxable assessment on their home, leading to a lower tax bill. The amount of the reduction and the qualifying income level vary by locality. The legislation for the exemption also includes discounts on rent paid by qualifying seniors.
Currently, 170,646 homes in the state use the senior property tax exemption, with the highest numbers being in Albany County (3,560 homes), Rensselaer County (2,219 homes), Saratoga County (1,745 homes), and Schenectady County (2,196 homes). Despite initial opposition from county officials, the notices for the exemption are being sent out, and assessors are receiving calls from seniors who were previously unaware of the opportunity.
However, some confusion still persists among seniors, with some thinking there may be another exemption available and others under 65 also calling. Officials have noted that the information about the exemption has been available on tax warrants for a long time, but people may not have been aware of it.
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