ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New Yorkers receiving the STAR property tax rebate will have to re-register for the local school tax breaks because of reports of widespread abuse and fraud.
The law concerning the $3 billion New York State School Tax Relief program is part of the state budget bills now being passed in Albany.
Homeowners will have a year to re-apply for the program, with a deadline of April 1, 2014.
New York homeowners who make less than $500,000 and live in their property are usually eligible. STAR exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes.
New Yorkers 65 and older may qualify for the enhanced STAR program. That exempts the first $63,300 of the full value of a home.
For many homeowners statewide, the result is a tax break of hundreds of dollars.
Last month, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe reported that his detectives found $679,000 of fraud or incorrect filing in just five towns. He said the tax break was illegally applied to second homes, and some landlords were taking the credit for their homes and for rental properties and rooming houses, too.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said abuses and faulty filings cost the state $13 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year and will cost an estimated $73 million by the 2015-16 fiscal year unless changes were made.
Homeowners can apply for the STAR exemption on the website of the state Taxation and Finance Department.
STAR exemption: http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/index.htm