Gov. Kathy Hochul before the New York's governor primary debate at...

Gov. Kathy Hochul before the New York's governor primary debate at the studios of WCBS2-TV, Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Manhattan. Credit: AP/Bebeto Matthews

ALBANY — New York state homeowners with household incomes of $250,000 or less are starting to receive new tax rebate checks worth hundreds of dollars.

The checks were authorized in the $220 billion state budget adopted in April. The State Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul suggested that New Yorkers could use the checks to help pay their local school and property taxes, which on Long Island and Westchester are among the highest in the state.

The checks are a one-time benefit and are in addition to the STAR property tax rebates, most of which will again be issued in beginning in September.

Homeowners will get the 2022 Homeowner Tax Rebate checks automatically. They don’t need to apply. Most of the 2.5 million checks will be mailed in June and will total $2.2 billion, according to the Taxation and Finance Department.

To be eligible, a homeowner must:

  • Qualify for a 2022 STAR credit or exemption.
  • Have a household income less $250,001 for the 2020 income tax year.
  • Have a school tax bill for the 2022-23 academic year that is greater than his or her STAR benefit.

A taxpayer can look up the amount of their check on a state portal at https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/htrc/lookup.htm.

For example, in Smithtown, a Basic STAR recipient with a household income of up to $75,000 would get a check for $1,650; a recipient making $75,000 to $150,000 would get a check for $1,164; a recipient making $150,000 to $200,000 would get a check for $668; a household making $200,000 to $250,000 would get a check for $182.

The actual amount each person will receive will vary based on a number of factors, such town and school district. No rebate checks worth less than $100 will be issued.

The checks — like other tax rebates — were scheduled to be mailed beginning in the fall, but the Hochul administration decided the relief should come to New Yorkers sooner during a time of rising gas prices and inflation.

Under the state’s schedule, most of the checks should be delivered before the June 28 Democratic primary.

The mailing to homeowners begins with: “Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature are providing you this Homeowner Tax Rebate check.”

“Governor Hochul worked with the Legislature to secure tax relief for New Yorkers in the state budget, and given rising costs and national inflation, the Department of Tax and Finance has been working to deliver these benefits to eligible homeowners as quickly as practicable and not delay relief at a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling,” said Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.

Historically, most rebate checks have come within weeks of general elections in November. Govs. Andrew M. Cuomo and George Pataki have included their name in past mailings about tax rebate checks.

When the school property tax relief program known as STAR began in 1997 the Senate’s Republican majority made the checks a major talking point as they arrived just weeks before elections.

“It’s good that people are getting checks,” said Rep. Tom Suozzi of Glen Cove who is running against Hochul for the Democratic nomination for governor. “She’s accelerated the payments to bribe voters with their own tax dollars before the Democratic primary.”

“What we need to do is reduce taxes,” Suozzi said, calling the check an ineffective form of tax relief.

The independent Citizens Budget Commission questioned the property tax rebate checks, saying they “are not well-targeted relief programs.” The CBC said many who need relief most don’t own homes.

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