State Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, the ranking Democrat on the state Senate Education Committee, has added to the confusion regarding the requirement for New York homeowners to register their STAR school tax-exemption with the state of New York.
Latimer sent out a press release on Dec. 16, which was picked up by some local weekly newspapers, alerting homeowners that the state had extended the deadline for registration from Dec. 31 to March 31.
But state spokesman Cary Ziter of the state Department of Taxation and Finance, told Tax Watch Monday that Latimer was proving misleading information to the community. The deadline for online registration was still Dec. 31. My Tax Watch column on Dec. 26 reported that 19 percent of STAR recipients in the Lower Hudson Valley had still yet to register.
Not registering your exemption with the state could imperil tax savings as high as $2,200 a year in Westchester school districts.
“The date hasn’t changed,” Ziter said.
Latimer wasn’t available for comment on the day before state deadline. But his chief of staff in Albany, Vic Mallison, took responsibility for providing the inaccurate information. Mallison spoke with Tax Watch after checking with the state Department of Taxation and Finance, where he once worked.
“It was our misreading of the situation,” said Mallison. “I made the assumption it would be the same process after Dec. 31. Now I’ve learned there’s not an extension of the same process. Our intention was to remind people to register, never to mislead anyone.”
According to Ziter, the state will send out letters to homeowners with STAR exemptions who have not registered with the state in early 2014. They will then have to contact the department through a process that has yet to be made public.