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Few Babylon Town seniors renew STAR tax abatement, assessor says

Fewer than one-tenth of Babylon Town senior citizen households eligible for property tax abatements under a state tax relief program last year have submitted renewal applications, according to the town assessor.

The assessor’s office processed 8,857 “enhanced” exemptions for seniors under the New York State Tax Relief program, or STAR, in 2015. But by Friday, with the March 1 deadline approaching, the office had received only 760 renewals and 330 first-time applications.

“We always want residents to receive all the benefits they are eligible for,” Supervisor Rich Schaffer said in a statement. “I encourage seniors that qualify for the Enhanced STAR program to submit their applications.”

Some seniors may not know they need to reapply for the enhanced exemption, since the basic STAR exemption does not require it, said town spokesman Kevin Bonner. Town officials are trying to alert those residents with notices on the town website, Facebook page and in a newsletter that is sent to senior citizen residents.

STAR exemptions apply only to school district taxes. The enhanced program applies to the primary residence of senior citizens with gross income under $84,550, and exempts the first $65,300 of the value of the home from 2016-17 school taxes. The basic program is available for owner-occupied primary residences where the income for owner and spouse is less than $500,000, and exempts the first $30,000 of the value of the home from school taxes.

Last year 44,963 Babylon Town households received STAR exemptions of both types.


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