By Anessa V. Cohen

Many questions come up for potential homebuyers as they shop and choose a home. Each homebuyer typically has his own criteria of what he is looking for when buying a home–such as style, location, amenities, etc. But what they all share in common is their desire to find out what tax exemptions they might qualify for.

I have taken the liberty of sharing this list of property tax exemptions prepared by the Town of Hempstead, to assist those trying to put together a budget as they shop for a new home as well as those homeowners who might not have taken advantage yet of the tax exemptions available to them.

STAR (School Tax Relief) Exemption

The New York State STAR program provides an exemption from school property taxes for owner-occupied primary residences. Homeowners are eligible to receive only one STAR exemption within New York State.

The Basic STAR Exemption has been extended to all primary residence homeowners, regardless of age, whose annual income is $500,000 or less.

Property owners who are 65 years of age or older in the year in which the exemption takes effect and have an annual income that does not exceed $83,300 (federal adjusted gross income less taxable IRA distributions) may receive reduced school taxes under the Enhanced STAR Exemption.

For property owned by husband and wife or siblings, only one resident owner has to be at least 65 years of age.

Veterans’ Real Property Tax Exemption

Residents who served in active duty in the United States Armed Forces during war periods recognized under the state’s Veterans’ Exemption Law can file for a reduction in county and town taxes. Applicants who served in combat areas or have service-connected disabilities will receive an additional exemption. Villages are exempted by local option. A recent amendment to the law allows school districts the option to participate in this exemption. The town also participates in the Cold War Veterans’ Exemption. In addition, qualified spouses, un-remarried surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents may also be eligible for Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption.

Senior Citizens’ Real Property Tax Exemption

Senior citizens can reduce their county, town, and participating village and school taxes with assessment reductions of up to 50 percent, depending on their income. To be eligible, property owners must be 65 or older, must own the property for at least one year, and must have an annual income less than $37,400 (not including welfare payments, supplemental security income, gifts, inheritances, veterans’ disability compensation, or unreimbursed medical and prescription drug expenses).

Home Improvement Property Tax Exemption

The Home Improvement Property Tax Exemption is an eight-year decreasing exemption on county, town, and special district taxes for alterations, reconstruction, or improvements that increase the assessed value of a one- or two-family home. School districts may opt out of participating in this exemption. Eligible home improvement value must be at least $3,000 and increased market value is capped at $80,000. The project must be completed before an exemption is granted.

Exemptions For Disabilities And Limited Incomes

To be eligible for the Disability/Limited Income Property Tax Exemption, an applicant must have a documented physical or mental impairment that substantially limits his or her ability to engage in one or more major life activities. The property must be the legal residence of the disabled person. Based upon annual income, the maximum limit not to exceed $37,400, this exemption provides up to a 50% reduction of assessment.

Volunteer Firefighter/Ambulance Corps Property Exemption

Enrolled members of a volunteer fire company, fire department, or ambulance service with at least five years of certified service may qualify for a lifetime exemption as long as they maintain a primary residence in Hempstead Town or any municipality in Nassau County that provides the exemption. The exemption equals 10% of the assessed value of the property.

Applications for all of these tax exemptions may be obtained at or by calling the Nassau County Department of Assessment office at 516-571-1500. Ï–

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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