Cuomo to target STAR double-dippers

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   The Cuomo administration in 2013 will try to root out homeowners who are improperly receiving property-tax exemptions on second homes, according to a source.

   As part of his legislative agenda, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will direct the state Tax Department to launch a re-registration process for homeowners to qualify for STAR (School Tax Relief Program) benefits, which began under former Gov. George Pataki in 1997.  The program allows a certain portion of home value to be exempt from school taxes. Annual exemptions total $2.7 billion.

   But the benefits are supposed to be limited only to a person’s primary residence.

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  Cuomo administration officials said the Tax Department has “found significant evidence” that some homeowners are double dipping. Other improper beneficiaries include people who own second homes in New York but whose primary residence is out of state – potentially affecting some second-home owners in the Hamptons and other areas on the eastern end of Long Island.

   Officials couldn’t immediately give an estimate as to how much in improper exemptions are doled out annually.

   Under the re-registration plan, the Tax Department would be able to notify local assessors about homeowners who are improperly benefiting from STAR.

  The initiative is expected to be announced in January.

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