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Coming soon: More NY tax rebate checks – Democrat & Chronicle – September 12, 2016

Coming soon: More NY tax rebate checks

ALBANY – Start looking in the mailbox again soon: Another round of property-tax rebates is coming.

And this year, the check won’t cover only one tax-relief program — it will be a rebate for two initiatives.

“Beginning later this month, we’ll mail more than 2 million property tax credit checks to qualifying New York state homeowners in localities that complied with the property tax cap,” said Geoffrey Gloak, spokesman for the state Taxation and Finance Department.

The checks will cover the third and final year of a rebate program that pays back homeowners for their growth in property taxes. This fall, the rebate will be just for municipal taxes — which will be the smallest payout in the three years.

The so-called “tax freeze” rebate will be combined in one check with a new program this year: a “property-tax relief credit.”

For those eligible, the tax-relief money will be $185 for upstate residents and $130 downstate, which the program defines as the counties in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority region.

The reason for the difference in payments in the tax-relief credit is that the $1.7 billion plan,approved by the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015, is designed to be tied to homeowners’ incomes.

For those who qualify for both programs, the average check will be about $280, according to the state Budget Division.

“Homeowners who are eligible for both the Property Tax Freeze Credit and the Property Tax Relief Credit will receive a single check that includes both credit amounts,” Gloak said.

Beginning next year, the four-year tax-relief credit will be a percentage of a homeowner’s STAR benefit, providing lower-income homeowners a higher percentage tax break, the tax department said.

The checks will only be provided in communities that adhered to the property-tax cap, which limits the growth in taxes to less than 2 percent a year.

New York City is not eligible, but the city has its own property-tax credit.

Also, there are income restrictions.

Property owners must receive a STAR or Enhanced STAR benefit, which is a $3 billion program that provides an upfront break on school taxes each fall for those whose household income is less than $500,000.

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