Taxes are one of the items cited on a regular basis as a major problem for New York State. That’s why tax relief is one of my top priorities – and several new measures are set to take hold to help reduce the tax burden of hardworking New Yorkers and their families.
In the coming weeks, thousands of local families with children under the age of 17 will receive a $350 family tax relief check. These checks, which are designed to help families cope with the rising cost of raising a child, will provide more than $400 million in direct tax relief to hard working New York families.
You do not need to apply to receive the relief check. If eligible, you will automatically be mailed a check from the State Department of Taxation and Finance. You are eligible for 2014 if, on your 2012 state tax return you:
Were a New York State resident the entire year;
Claimed at least one child under the age of 17 as a dependent;
Had New York State adjusted gross income between $40,000 and $300,00;
Had a state tax liability after credits that was zero or greater.
In 2015 and 2016, you will claim the Family Tax Relief Credit when you file your income tax return, with eligibility based on the return you file.
I also worked with my senate colleagues during the past legislative session to create a new incentive to encourage local governments and school districts to operate efficiently and hold the line on tax increases. In return, local homeowners in these communities will soon be receiving a new property tax rebate check.
The new Property Tax Freeze Credit will provide direct relief to taxpayers in school districts and municipalities that stay within the two percent property tax cap and submit efficiency plans to the state that result in local cost savings of at least one percent.
Many local towns, villages, and counties, along with schools, have already been working to increase efficiencies, trim costs, and share services. When this plan was adopted, as part of the state budget, I fought hard to ensure that those who are already making strides will receive credit for the cost reduction plans already in place.
As many as 2.8 million property taxpayers outside of New York City will receive direct property tax rebate checks in October as a result of this program. After this year, the relief will come in the form of a tax credit. In all, the property tax freeze program will provide $1.5 billion in property tax relief over the next three years.
Along with the two new property tax relief programs, the highly beneficial STAR (School Tax Relief Program) and Enhanced STAR are still going strong. This year, the final state budget included $3.4 billion for these programs which deliver major tax relief to millions of middle class families and seniors.
I also want to offer one last reminder for those who have yet to re-register for the basic STAR program – there is still time! You may recall that last year, at about this time, the tax department mailed out instructions to those currently receiving Basic STAR benefits with instructions on how to register. In my senate district, about 90 percent of homeowners who had been receiving basic STAR re-registered. While that is a high rate, it also means there are some who failed to sign back up and will lose out on their Basic STAR benefits. I don’t want to see that happen.
Let me be very clear - senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not affected by the new registration requirement. In order to receive Enhanced STAR, seniors must continue to apply annually, or participate in the income verification program.
To register for Basic STAR, or for information on the Family Tax Relief Credit and the Property Tax Freeze Credit check online at www.tax.ny.gov.