It’s not too late to save on taxes

Island property owners have until Monday, March 1 to sign up fortown and state programs to save money on taxes. Many residentsqualify for a reduction in school taxes, regardless of age orincome level, providing they own property on Shelter Island andmake it their primary residence. The simple, brief application formis available at the Town Assessor’s Office (749-1080).

New York State’s basic School Tax Relief (STAR) program excerptsthe first $71,610 of the assessed value of the property from schooltaxes. Residents who already have an application on file from aprevious year do not have to file again unless they have moved to anew property on the Island. First-time applicants will need toprovide proof of residency.

A second STAR program is available to seniors, ages 65 or older,whose annual earnings do not exceed $74,700. This “enhanced STARprogram applies to the first $136,780 of the property’s assessedvalue and exempts that amount for the school tax.

According to the Assessor’s Office, staff still have not heardfrom 53 Islanders who were in the program last year.

Application for enhanced STAR savings must be made by Monday,March 1 and will require proof of residency and the most recentyear’s filed income tax return. Application for the program needsto be renewed annually. Other Islanders may only have becomeeligible in 2009 and will need to apply for the first time.

The town also has a special senior exemption for those ages 66and older who earn less than $38,399 annually, which provides apercentage of all property taxes – not just school taxes – on asliding scale depending on income.