How to save on Westchester Real Estate taxes

How to save on Westchester Real Estate taxes

Westchester Real Estate taxes is notorious for being high. There is a way to lower your Westchester Real Estate taxes. Here is how to save on Westchester Real Estate taxes.

Do you need a real estate agent?

Are you aware that the government has a New York State Tax Relief program (STAR) to help reduce property taxes for New York residents?  For example, an $850,000 home in Scarsdale will give you approximately $1,300 in STAR credit.

Do you qualify for STAR?

If you are under the age of 65 years old. You may qualify for Basic STAR.  Here are the criteria for qualification for Basic STAR 1.) You must own your home and live in your home as a primary residence and 2.) Have total income of less than $500,000.  The total income of $500,000 applies to combined income of owners and owners’ spouse living in the same primary residence.

If you are over the age of 65 years old.  You may qualify for Enhanced STAR. Here are the criteria for qualifications for Enhanced STAR 1.) You must own your home and live in your home as a primary residence, 2.) You must be over age 65 years old.  For jointly owned properties, one of the residents must be 65 years old by December 31 of the year when exemptions begin and 3.) Your income should be $86,000 or less.  The income limit applies to all owners and owner’s spouse who resides in the same residence.

Basic STAR vs. Enhanced STAR

Now that you have determined that you qualify for STAR, what is the difference between Basic STAR and Enhanced STAR?

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Basic STAR is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the owners’ and owner spouses’ income is less than $500,000 and it is based on the first $30,000 of the full value of a home.

Enhanced STAR is a benefit for seniors over the age of 65 years old residing in their primary resident with combined income of less than $86,000 (for the 2018 and 2019 school year).  It is based on the first $66,800 of the full value of a home (for the 2018-2019 school year).

When should you register?

I recommend that you register for STAR shortly after closing on your new home.  However, don’t worry, you have 3 years to register.  For example if you are registering for 2017, you have until April 15, 2021 to register.  You only need to register once and it will annually renew as long you are stay eligible.  You should register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.  Before you register, make sure you have 1.) the names and social security number of all residents, 2.) date of purchase and name of sellers 3.) 2017 school tax bill 4.) address of any residential properties owned in other states 5.) legal name of the trust, if applicable and 6.)  2016 federal or state income tax returns for all owners.

Many homeowners have saved hundreds on STAR exemptions.  When you are buying your home in Westchester, definitely don’t overlook this benefit.

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