Created: January 15, 2020 06:37 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York state tax department is sending STAR tax relief checks to homeowners even if they don't pay their school property taxes.
The flaw in the program came under the microscope on Tuesday, Syracuse.com reports. A top tax official told the Assembly Committee on Real Property Taxation that the tax department does not have the legal authority to stop these checks.
The issue first came to light last fall in a Syracuse.com investigation. It found while property tax information is public and on file in each county, the state does not request it. The checks are sent to homeowners even if they owe school taxes.
Andrew Morris, an executive deputy commissioner for the tax department, said the tax department can recover repayment if an audit shows the taxpayer is delinquent.
Morris said local government officials are not required to forward a list of delinquent homeowners to the state.
Last year, New York mailed nearly 504,000 STAR rebate checks and 1.8 million tax relief rebates.
The state legislature would have to change the law to close the loophole in the program.
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