This Tax Break is Changing; Are You Eligible For it?

ALBANY – New York this year plans to change how the STAR exemption program works for new homeowners.

New homeowners — or people who move — will receive a check for a portion of their school-property taxes instead of receiving it as an upfront savings in their tax bill. That’s a major change for the $3 billion program since it was started in 1997. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature agreed to do it as part of the state budget deal April 1.

“STAR is a tax-relief program so this change is to achieve consistency with how other state tax cuts are provided,” Cuomo’s budget spokesman Morris Peters said. “There is no change to the amount of the STAR credit for taxpayers, only the mechanism used to claim the credit.”

Here’s how the changes may affect you:

What if I don’t move?

Then you have nothing to worry about.

You will still get your STAR exemption as an upfront savings when you pay your schools taxes each fall.

Households with income under $500,000 are eligible for STAR. They get an exemption from the first $30,000 of the full value of their primary home from school taxes.

Homeowners 65 and older get a larger tax break for Enhanced STAR: The first $65,300 of their home value is exempt from school taxes.

The qualifications are not changing.

Enhanced STAR exemption recipients who are not enrolled in the Income Verification Program must continue to file a renewal application with their local assessor each year to remain in the program.

So what is changing?

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STAR rebate to undergo major change

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks to media members outside his office at the state Capitol on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. Cuomo says legislative leaders have agreed to a $150 billion state budget plan that includes a minimum wage hike and $1 billion in middleclass income tax relief. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) 

ALBANY — New homeowners in New York will receive a rebate check for a portion of their school-property taxes instead of receiving it as an upfront savings in their tax bill.

The change was a compromise on the issue reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature as part of the state budget deal last week.

“STAR is a tax-relief program so this change is to achieve consistency with how other state tax cuts are provided,” said Cuomo’s budget spokesman Morris Peters. “There is no change to the amount of the STAR credit for taxpayers, only the mechanism used to claim the credit.”

Originally, Cuomo’s sought to require new homeowners to pay their taxes upfront and get the STAR rebate on their school taxes when they file their income taxes.

In the budget deal, new homeowners or people who move will get a rebate check each fall for the portion of their school taxes covered by STAR. Then they would have to claim the money on their income taxes the following year.

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HGAR’s 100th Anniversary Gala

The HGAR’s 100th Anniversary Gala and Installation was held last Thursday, January 21st at The Ritz Carlton in White Plains. Over 300 attendees had the chance to walk the red carpet and have their photo taken courtesy of Sander Koudijs and The Great American Title Agency, Inc. Below are some of the fantastic pictures from the event. Just click and save your favorite photo or order prints directly online from Michael Molinoff Photography.

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Nassau County Recording Fees Increase

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY – the Nassau County Recording fees increased by $150.00.

The new Block Verification fee is $300.00 (formerly $150). The County Clerk will charge the new amount Monday December 7, 2015.

The Tax Map Verification fee paid to the Assessor’s office is also increasing from $75.00 to $225.00. Start date may be January 1, 2016, BUT the local law has not yet been posted and cannot be reviewed.

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Increase in Fees for Suffolk County Tax Map Verification

Increase in Fees for Suffolk County Tax Map Verification

 

Suffolk County passes Local Law 34-2015 increasing tax map verification fee
Local Law 34-2015 increases the tax map verification fee from $60 to $200 per tax lot, effective December 18, 2015.   Note that there is no maximum or cap in the case of multiple lots, and that any documents that are re-submitted on or after December 18th.

Agents collecting the increased fee for closings that occur prior to the effective date of December 18, 2015, should ensure that refunds are made in the event that the verification process occurs prior to December 18th, and the old rate is applied to your closing documents.

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TOEPP Coverage – Benefits and Costs

TOEPP (TIRSA Owner’s Extended Protection Policy) policies afford extended protection on all transactions involving one to four family residential dwellings.

BENEFITS:

1) The amount of the insurance set forth in Schedule A of the policy will automatically increase by 10% for the first five years after the date of the policy. The change will be effective on the Policy’s anniversary date.

2) The Policy will protect against actual loss sustained by the Insured’s inability to use the land because its use as a single-family residence violates a zoning law or regulation. Limited zoning and building coverage provided for in the policy is subject to a schedule of deductible amounts and maximum dollar liabilities, which are set forth in Schedule A of the policy. There are four relevant provisions with which you will want to be familiar:

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Title Agency Licensing in New York State

gAmetrtitlenewsNew York State throughout its history did not regulate or license title insurance agents. That has all changed with the passage of the Administration Title Agent Licensing Bill of 2014. The bill was passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law on April 1, 2014. In order to do business in New York State as a qualified title agent the entity (or Individual) must be licensed, and in addition must secure a Certificate of Appointment to do business from a licensed and registered title underwriter in the State of New York.

The Great American Title Agency secured its title license on October 23, 2014, and has received its certificate of appointment. The sub -licensees of the entity are John J. Hughes, Jr., Esq., Julia Kirby, and Mark Cocozza.

The New York State Land Title Association has published a list on its website of the licensed title agents In New York who are members of the organization.

As part of the due diligence process when choosing a title agent for closing, attorneys, lenders and homeowners should check this list to be sure that they are dealing with a duly appointed and licensed title agent. This is for their protection as well as for the protection of their clients and borrowers.

The title agent licensing bill contains continuing educational requirements. The DFS (Department of Financial Services) will be conducting periodic market conduct examinations of the title agencies as well as underwriters.

This will be in addition to the financial audits which are conducted by the title underwriters of their agents.

These regulations will go a long way to bolster the industry’s reputation, and serve as an added protection for consumers.

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