Tonawanda News

November 7, 2013

STAR registration alarmingly low

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — With a deadline looming at the end of the year, state representatives say that only one-third of eligible Niagara County residents have filed for the Basic STAR program, which gives school tax reductions of $700 for those who quality. 

Sen. George Maziarz and Assemblyman John Ceretto urged Basic STAR recipients to re-register for the school tax savings program in order to continue receiving benefits.  

With 44,293 eligible residents county-wide, roughly 15,000 households have yet to submit there applications for the program, which could equal out approximately $10 million in unclaimed funds, according to Maziarz’s spokesman Adam Tabelski. 

In North Tonawanda, only 31 percent of eligible residents have registered for renewal. 

“We don’t want a single homeowner to miss out on this important savings on their school tax bill,” Maziarz said. “We are doing all we can to publicly urge Basic STAR recipients to re-register because there are almost 15,000 recipients in Niagara County alone who still haven’t done so yet.” 

The one-time re-registration requirement for the Basic STAR program was included in the 2013-2014 state budget as a means of eliminating fraud and abuse among recipients, according to Maziarz. The registration deadline is Dec. 31 in order to continue receiving the exemption in 2014 and beyond.

The state legislators also announced that as of Nov. 4, 2013, one-third of Basic STAR recipients in Niagara County, 67 percent, have not yet re-registered.

“The average homeowner saves $700 per year thanks to Basic STAR, and that savings is critical to many families who are trying to make ends meet,” Ceretto said. “We don’t want these families hit with a much higher tax bill next year.” 

To re-register, homeowners will need the personalized STAR Code that was mailed out in September by the state Department of Taxation and Finance.Tax Department. For more information call 518-457-2036 or go to www.tax.ny.gov.