New legislation requires all homeowners receiving a Basic School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption to register with the New York State Tax Department by Dec. 31, 2013 in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years.

The STAR Program is a tax relief for homeowners, paid for through state taxes. It is not a new source of funding for schools and does not reduce or increase actual school tax rates. To receive the tax relief, homeowners must apply through a local assessor's office. In the past, once homeowners applied for and received the Basic STAR exemption, they did not need to reapply unless they purchased and moved to a new primary residence.

The state was scheduled to mail letters explaining the registration process to homeowners in Rensselear County Sept. 3-6. Click here to view the mailing schedule [PDF]. Click here to learn more about the registration process.

If you are already registered for a Basic STAR exemption, though, you do not have to re-register to receive your 2013 exemption. The school tax bill you receive this fall will show the total amount you are exempt from paying under STAR. The actual amount of the full value exemption is dependent on the individual city/town where you reside.

Senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not affected by the new registration requirement. They must continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program, though.

For more information, click here to visit the state Department of Taxation and Finance STAR website.