BUFFALO, N.Y. — With only 9 days until many Western New Yorkers have to pay their school tax bill, some are still waiting on their STAR checks from Albany to help cover the cost.
On Thursday, the State Department of Taxation and Finance told 2 On Your Side that more than 57,000 rebate checks have already been mailed out. It's unclear the total number to be processed, but estimates are between 130,000 to 200,000.
Only people who purchased a home after August 2015 need to register to receive a STAR relief check. Homeowners who made purchases before then have the rebate automatically factored into their tax bill.
The average STAR check in 2016 was $750. The average 'Enhanced STAR' check, which is available to seniors 65 and older, was $1,500.
The state set up a website where people can input their county, school district and locality in order to get generalized information on when rebate checks started being sent out to that area.
For most of Western New York, checks started going out in late August.
State Senator Cathy Young, a Republican from the Southern Tier and chairwoman of the Finance Committee, said if the check doesn't arrive before your school tax bill is due, you'll get compensated.
"If the state fails to do it in a timely way, then the state will be required to pay interest to the homeowners, because what happens is, if you don't pay your taxes on time, then you have to pay interest to the school district," Senator Young said. "And this way, those costs will be covered. But it's my understanding that the checks are going out, and (the state) anticipates they will have all the checks out in a timely way."
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