;

Find Out When Your STAR Rebate Is Coming

</p>This screengrab from the state website shows when a STAR rebate check will be mailed to a City of Fulton taxpayer, and for how much.  Click the photo for a full-sized version.
This screengrab from the state website shows when a STAR rebate check will be mailed to a City of Fulton taxpayer, and for how much. Click the photo for a full-sized version.

Your STAR property tax rebate check will come in the mail sometime in September or early October. Provided, that is, that the state Legislature and Governor don’t use it to help fix the state’s budget problems first.

The state Division of Taxation and Finance this week unveiled a tool that will tell you how much you can expect when the STAR check arrives and when it will be mailed. Find it here:

http://www8.nystax.gov/SRLU/srluGateway

The 2008 STAR rebates go to any property owner who was part of the STAR system in 2007 or who applies for STAR benefits by the end of 2008. It goes only to taxpaying families earning $250,000 or less. If you’re not part of the STAR system but eligible, the state will mail you an application automatically by the end of October.

Seniors who receive extra tax benefits from the Enhanced STAR program will receive larger rebate checks. The state estimates they’ll be 40% larger than last year’s rebates.

The tool will tell you when your check will be mailed. The checks will be sent out in alphabetical order, by county.

However, state legislative leaders, seeking to close a multi-billion dollar gap in the state budget, have toyed with the idea of rolling the STAR tax break into a so-called “circuit breaker” that would give many families a school tax break by raising taxes on millionaires.

A majority of members of the State Senate this week defeated a plan advanced by some, but not all, Democrats that would have eliminated STAR rebate checks for some property owners in order to provide the “circuit breaker”.

Governor Paterson opposes tying STAR rebates to the circuit breaker, saying, “43 percent of people now receiving a STAR rebate check would not receive one under the circuit breaker program.”

A bill being taken up this week in the Assembly leaves the STAR program alone.

Analysts expect the STAR rebate program to be left alone, because it is popular with taxpayers and provides checks to taxpayers in the weeks before Election Day.