Half of New Yorkers on brink of missing homeowner tax break

New York City homeowners this year are largely failing to claim a tax break that has existed for 15 years, thanks to a new rule that requires them to register with the state in order to receive the funds.

The so-called STAR tax abatement, available to condominium, co-op and other residential owners, will be worth about $300 per home in 2015. But owners who don’t register by the Dec. 31 filing deadline will miss out on the rebate that in the past kicked in automatically.

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Statewide, an average of 66 percent of homeowners have registered for the benefit. But in New York City only 53 percent have done so, with Staten Islanders topping the applicants with 64 percent. Only 50 percent of Brooklynites, 52 percent of Queens residents, 53 percent of Manhattanites and 47 percent of Bronx homeowners have registered, according to data from the Independent Budget Office cited by the New York Observer.

The registration requirement was implemented as part of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s findings that many homeowners illegally claimed the break for properperties that were not their primary residences.

New York City’s comparatively low number of applicants could be tied to the fact that $300 doesn’t go nearly as far in the Big Apple as it might in other parts of the state, the IBO speculated to the Observer. [NYO] and [NYP] Julie Strickland