Legislator Howard J. Kopel and the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs want to notify taxpayers to beware of solicitations offering a fee-based service to apply for the School Tax Relief (STAR) property tax exemption when homeowners can apply for free.
New homeowners have received letters offering to enroll them in the STAR Program for a substantial fee equivalent to the full amount of the taxpayers first year savings which averages $700 statewide and can be as high as $3,000 for senior citizens on Long Island.
Don’t be fooled: registration to the STAR Program is FREE, convenient, and provides taxpayers with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in property tax relief each year. Any homeowner not receiving a STAR exemption should apply on their own and avoid disingenuous schemes that seek to charge you for this FREE tax relief program.
Homeowners - regarding your basic STAR property tax exemption, you should have already received a letter from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance advising you that you must register with them in order to continue to receive your exemption.
This is EASY to do YOURSELF for FREE, online or by phone, and does not take much time. Follow the instructions in the letter you received from New York State. If you cannot find the letter or haven’t received one, you can call 518-591-5232 or visit http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/index.htm for information.
STAR REBATE SCAM
BEWARE! Some firms are offering to do this for you for a FEE. This fee is usually an amount equal to your tax savings.
SAVE YOUR MONEY! You do not need to pay anyone to register for your STAR exemption, no matter what they tell you.
Are you a NEW HOME OWNER filing for STAR for the first time? Don’t be misled by firms offering to register for your exemption for you, for a fee. You do not need to hire anyone to file for you. Save your money and apply for the exemption yourself at the Nassau County Department of Assessment, located at 240 Old Country Road, Mineola, NY 11501.
For more information please call: 516-571-1500, or visit
Make sure your money is going to help people and not line pockets! There are many scammers trying to take advantage of your generosity and compassion by posing as a fake charity.
Watch out for charities that use a name that’s very similar to a well-known charity, thank you for a donation you never made, or use high-pressure sales tactics or emotional pleas to get you to donate immediately.
Be extra careful with any charity using “police”, “firefighter” or “veterans” in their name. Quite often they have no connection to legitimate organizations.
Take the following precautions: Never provide your credit card or bank account information until after you check out the charity’s name, address and phone number and search online and look for scams and complaints about the charity.
To check if the charity is registered in New York State please call: 212-416-8401 or visit: http://www.charitiesnys.com/RegistrySearch/search_charities.jsp
Please beware of any call you receive from someone saying they are from the IRS.
Scammers will try to trick you into sharing private information, and often alter the caller ID so it looks like the call is coming from the IRS office in Washington. They will often threaten to bring in the police or foreclose on your home if you don’t cooperate. The IRS will never employ any of these tactics. They have formal procedures in place to resolve tax issues and never resort to “shake-downs”.
Watch out for these signs of a scam:
You are being scammed if the caller demands immediate payment (the IRS will never call about taxes owed without first mailing you a bill and giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount), requires that you use a prepaid debit card for your payment, asks for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, or threatens to have you arrested for non-payment of taxes. Also, beware of any unsolicited email, text or other contact about your taxes!
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what to do: Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or online at www.tigta.gov.