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I just bought a co-op. How do I get a STAR tax credit?

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Question:

Four months ago, I purchased a co-op and applied for the STAR program. However, I haven't seen the reduction in my maintenance bill yet. What should I do?

Answer:

Applying doesn't necessarily mean you'll be accepted into the program, because it has specific income requirements, our experts say. And if you do qualify, it may be a few months before you see any benefits. 

The New York State School Tax Relief Program offers owners of houses, co-ops, and condos in NYC a partial exemption from school property taxes—if the home is their primary residence, and their annual income is $500,000 or less. There is also a program called Enhanced STAR, for homeowners over 65 with an income of $86,300 or less. Homeowners must apply for the program, and can do so online. 

Those accepted into the basic STAR program should expect savings of around $300, while Enhanced STAR participants will get about $600 back. 

"Generally, the reduction is issued in a check format from New York State," says attorney Daniel Silvershein.

In the case of co-op shareholders, though, "their tax savings will appear on the school tax bill for the cooperative association. Then the corporation managing agent would be responsible for crediting this savings to their account on the monthly cooperative maintenance fees," Silvershein says. 

It can take some time for these applications to be processed, so you may not see the savings on your maintenance fees quite yet. 

"It depends on when the application was submitted, and other factors," says Aaron Shmulewitz, an attorney with Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman. "As a first step, ask the co-op’s managing agent about the status and timing of the issuance of STAR credits and abatements, and the status and timing of those being translated into maintenance reductions." 


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