New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Robert L. Megna announced this week that the Department will begin to mail rebate checks the week of September 29 to New York homeowners who qualify for the 2008 Middle Class STAR Rebate Program.
The mailing will continue through the end of October.
Unlike 2007, most homeowners will not have to apply for this year's rebate. If a household's 2008 property information remains unchanged from 2007, no reapplication is necessary. These homeowners will get their checks automatically.
Property owners who did not apply in 2007, and homeowners whose property information changed during the past year, will have to apply. Applications to these households will also be mailed automatically beginning September 29.
Nearly 3.3 million households may be eligible for a STAR rebate, which is in addition to the STAR property exemption on taxpayers' school tax bills. It is expected that more than $1.1 billion will be turned back to homeowners through this year's rebate program.
Commissioner Megna said, "Every eligible household should take advantage of this benefit, which is targeted to middle class homeowners and senior citizens. It is income based, so those who need it most will receive the largest benefit."
Rebate checks and applications will be mailed automatically in alphabetical order, by county, meaning that Albany County homeowners will receive their checks or applications first, followed by homeowners in Allegany and Broome Counties. Mailing to all of the state's counties, including the City of New York, will be completed by the end of October.
Residents can access the Tax Department's website at www.nystax.gov to find out when their checks will be mailed and the amount of the rebate they will receive. Information for senior citizens getting the Enhanced STAR rebate, and information for homeowners who need to apply for the 2008 program, can also be found on the website.
Last year there were about 635,000 rebate checks mailed to senior citizens who receive Enhanced STAR, and about 2.3 million checks mailed to homeowners who get the Basic STAR exemption.
The maximum benefit for those receiving the Basic STAR rebate goes to upstate homeowners earning $90,000 or less, and New York City metropolitan region homeowners earning $120,000 or less. The benefit diminishes until a homeowner's income reaches $250,000. Taxpayers earning over $250,000 are not eligible for the rebate, but continue to receive the STAR exemption on their school tax bills.
Applicants are encouraged to apply on line at www.nystax.gov. All applications must be received by December 31, 2008. Enrollment is easy and the rebate checks are mailed to homeowners as the applications are processed. Online applications take less time to process and the check is issued faster than with a paper application.
To apply, the homeowner only has to verify the property information provided on the application, enter the names, social security numbers, and all required information for all resident property owners and their spouses, verify the mailing address, and submit the application.
This year, rebates for Basic STAR recipients are subject to offset for debts owed to New York State agencies, the Internal Revenue Services, and certain other states.