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Onteora Central School District Board of Education Approves Changes to Income Cap for Property Tax Exemptions to Benefit More Eligible Senior Citizens and Disabled Individuals

The Onteora Central School District Board of Education has authorized an increase in the income limit cap for the tax exemption designed to assist eligible senior citizens and low-income disabled individuals. The new limit is $42,000, a 20 percent increase from last year’s cap of $35,000.

At its February 20, 2024 meeting, the Board approved the new limit on exemptions for District residents age 65 or older and low-income individuals with a documented disability. These taxpayers may qualify for a reduction in their school property tax assessment, effective with the 2024-25 school year. As permitted by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, the District will grant an assessment reduction of 5% to 50%, depending upon income level, to those eligible property owners with incomes less than $49,399. The maximum assessment reduction of 50% would be granted for qualifying individuals with incomes under $42,000. Examples of other assessment reduction levels include:

·   20% exemption for incomes at or over $45,800 and under $46,699

·   10% exemption for incomes at or over $47,600 and under $48,499

·   5% exemption for incomes at or over $48,500 and under $49,399

The senior citizen exemption is separate from and in addition to the Enhanced STAR program. 

“The Board of Education is acutely aware of the challenges that supporting schools through a property-tax based system places on individuals on limited incomes, and hopes that these exemptions provide relief to those who need it most,” said Superintendent Victoria McLaren. “One of the greatest challenges in building the annual school budget is balancing the needs of all property tax owners against the responsibility to provide students with the best education possible.”

To be eligible for the senior citizen or low-income disabled individual exemptions, applicants must have owned the property for at least 12 months prior to the date of filing (unless the owner(s) received an exemption for their previous residence). The property must be used for residential purposes and the property must be the legal residence of the owners. Exceptions for owners not residing at the property due to divorce, legal separation, abandonment, or receiving health-related services as an in-patient of a residential healthcare facility are permitted. All owners of the property must be either disabled or 65 years of age or older, depending on the exemption being sought, unless the owners are married or siblings. In those instances, at least one of the owners must be 65 years of age or older for the senior exemption or have a qualifying disability for the disabled exemption. A list of qualifying disabilities can be found at https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/exemption/disablexempt.htm.

To access these exemptions, property owners must apply on or before March 1, 2024. Please contact the local assessor’s office with questions or assistance in applying.

Links to the following forms are available below

For more information, contact Monica LaClair, Assistant Superintendent for Business, at 845-657-8499.