Prior to 2016, Basic STAR was an exemption (as opposed to a credit) for qualifying homeowners earning $250k or less. Instead of receiving a check, recipients of the exemption receive a discount directly on their property tax bill.
Here is an example of what the Basic STAR exemption looks like on a NYC property tax bill:
Qualifying homeowners who were receiving the Basic STAR exemption prior to 2016 may continue to receive it for the same primary residence. However, new applicants must apply for the Basic STAR credit as opposed to the exemption.
However, it may be beneficial for current recipients of the Basic STAR exemption to switch over to the credit. This is because the value of the STAR credit savings may increase by as much as 2% each year, but the value of the STAR exemption savings cannot increase.
In addition, if a qualifying homeowner’s income is more than $250k (and $500k or less), they must switch to the Basic STAR credit to continue receiving the STAR benefit.
To qualify for the Basic STAR credit, The property must be owned by the eligible applicant(s). A married couple can receive only one STAR benefit regardless of how many properties they own, unless they are legally separated.