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Senior citizens exemption

Local governments and school districts in New York State can opt to grant a reduction on the amount of property taxes paid by qualifying senior citizens. This is accomplished by reducing the taxable assessment of the senior's home by as much as 50%.

To qualify, seniors generally must be 65 years of age or older and meet certain income limitations and other requirements. For the 50% exemption, the law allows each county, city, town, village, or school district to set the maximum income limit at any figure between $3,000 and $50,000.

In addition, there are three sliding-scale options that municipalities may adopt to provide a benefit to seniors with incomes greater than the local maximum. Under these options, qualifying seniors may receive the exemption if their income is below:

  • $55,700 for a 20% exemption,
  • $57,500 for a 10% exemption, or
  • $58,400 for a 5% exemption.

Check with your local assessor for the income limits in your community.

Application forms and instructions

For properties outside of New York City, to apply or reapply for the senior citizens exemption, file the applicable form with your assessor:

See RP-467-I, Instructions for Form RP-467 Application for Partial Tax Exemption for Real Property of Senior Citizens.

For properties within New York City, visit New York City Department of Finance: Senior Citizen Homeowner’s Exemption (SCHE).

Application deadline

In most communities, the deadline for submitting exemption applications is March 1. However, the dates vary in some cities and counties. Please confirm the date with your assessor. You can find contact information for your assessor in Municipal Profiles.

Some municipalities permit late filing in certain hardship situations or for exemption renewals. Contact your assessor to see if your municipality offers these provisions.

When qualifying seniors buy property after the deadline, then the senior can apply up to 30 days after the purchase. The assessor then has 30 days to decide whether the senior would have qualified for the exemption if the senior owned the property as of the deadline.

When the property is owned by one or more persons, and one or more of the owners qualify for this exemption while others qualify for the Exemption for persons with disabilities, the owners have the option of choosing the more beneficial exemption.

Eligibility requirements

Ownership eligibility

You must own the property for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the date of filing for the senior citizens exemption, unless you received the exemption for your previous residence.

In computing the 12-month period, the period of ownership is not interrupted by the following:

  • a transfer of title to one spouse from the other
  • a transfer of title to a surviving spouse from a deceased spouse either by will or operation of law
  • a transfer of title to the former owner(s), provided the reacquisition occurs within nine months after the initial transfer and the property was receiving the senior citizens exemption as of such date
  • a transfer of title solely to a person(s) who maintained the property as a primary residence at the time of death of the former owner(s), provided the transfer occurs within nine months after the death of the former owner(s) and the property was receiving the senior citizens exemption as of such date.

The period of ownership of a prior residence may be considered where:

  • the property was sold by condemnation or other involuntary proceeding (except a tax sale) and another property has been acquired to replace the taken property;
  • the prior residence has been sold and a replacement purchase made within one year if both residences are within the State.

You can prove ownership by submitting to the assessor a certified copy of the deed, mortgage, or other instrument by which you became owner of the property.

Cooperative apartments: municipalities are authorized to grant the exemption to seniors who own shares in residential cooperatives. If granted, you would receive adjustments to your monthly maintenance fees to reflect the benefit of that exemption.

Life estates or trusts: the life tenant is entitled to possession and use of the property for the duration of his or her life and is deemed the owner for all purposes, including taxation. The exemption also may be allowed if the property is in trust and all the trustees or all the beneficiaries qualify.

Manufactured homes: Manufactured homes on leased land can qualify for the senior citizens exemption. If home is located in a manufactured home park, you are entitled to a reduction in rent for the amount of the taxes paid.

Income eligibility

You cannot receive the senior citizens exemption if the income of the owner, or the combined income of all the owners, exceeds the maximum income limit set by the locality.

If you are married, the income of your spouse must be included in the total unless your spouse is absent from the residence due to a legal separation or abandonment. The income of a non-resident former spouse, who retains an ownership interest after the divorce, is not included. If the "sliding-scale" option is in effect, you must meet that income limitation; contact the assessor to determine what the income limits are.

For the purposes of this exemption, income is defined as your federal adjusted gross income (FAGI) as reported on your income tax return(s) for the “applicable income tax year” (defined below) and subject to the following revisions:

  • Social Security benefits not included in your FAGI are considered income, except where a locality has opted to exclude them from income.
  • Distributions from an individual retirement account or individual retirement annuity included in your FAGI are not considered income, except where a locality has opted to include them in income.
  • Medical and prescription drug expenses of an owner that were actually paid for and not reimbursed or paid by insurance may be deducted from income where a locality has opted to allow them to be deducted.
  • If an owner is an inpatient in a residential health care facility, the amount paid for care at the facility by that owner (or by that owner’s spouse or co-owner) may be deducted from income.
  • Any tax-exempt interest or dividends that were not included in your FAGI is considered income.
  • The net amount of loss claimed on federal Schedule C, D,E, F, or any other separate category of loss cannot exceed $3,000, and the total amount of all losses claimed cannot exceed $15,000.

Applicable income tax year

In localities where the taxable status date is before April 15, the applicable income tax year is two years prior to the current calendar year. In localities where the taxable status date is on or after April 15, the applicable income tax year is the most recent calendar year. However, if you file fiscal year income tax returns, the applicable income tax year is the fiscal year shown on your most recent return.

The following taxing jurisdictions have taxable status dates of April 15 or later:

  • City of Dunkirk in Chautauqua County
  • City of Elmira in Chemung County
  • City of Geneva in Ontario County
  • City of Glen Cove in Nassau County
  • City of Oneida in Madison County
  • Cities of Rome and Utica in Oneida County
  • Cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Peekskill, and Rye in Westchester County
  • All towns in Westchester County
  • Villages of Harrison and Scarsdale in Westchester County

Proof of income

If any owner, or the spouse of any owner, filed a federal income tax return for the applicable income tax calendar year, a copy of the return must be submitted with the application.

Applicants who were not required to file a federal income tax return for the applicable income tax year must submit Form RP-467-Wkst with their application, including any documentation as instructed by Form RP-467-Wkst.

Your assessor may request additional proof of income or deductions.

Age eligibility

Each of the owners of the property must be 65 years of age or over, unless the owners are:

  • husband and wife, or
  • siblings (having at least one common parent) and
  • one of the owners is at least 65.

Age generally is determined as of the appropriate taxable status date (March 1 in most communities, but confirm the date with your assessor).

Some municipalities allow the exemption where an otherwise eligible owner becomes 65 years of age after taxable status date but on or before December 31. Check with your assessor to determine if this option is in effect.

The first time you apply for the exemption, you must give satisfactory proof of your age.

Residency eligibility

The property must be the "legal residence" of, and must be occupied by, all of the owners of the property unless:

  • a non-resident owner, who is the spouse or former spouse of the resident owner, is absent from the residence due to divorce, legal separation, or abandonment, or
  • an owner is absent from the property while receiving health-related services as an in-patient of a residential health care facility
    • during this period, no one other than the spouse or co-owner of the absent co-owner occupies the property (a residential health care facility is a nursing home or other facility that provides lodging, board and physical care including, but not limited to, the recording of health information, dietary supervision and supervised hygienic services).

The property must be used exclusively for residential purposes. However, if a portion of the property is used for other than residential purposes, the exemption will apply only to the portion used exclusively for residential purposes.

School-age children

Senior citizens are generally not eligible for the senior citizens exemption if they have children living in their home and attending public school. If the child attends a private or parochial school, the senior can still receive the exemption.

School districts can opt to offer the exemption to seniors even if the children in their home are attending public school. However, the school district must require satisfactory proof that the child was not brought into the residence primarily for the purpose of attending a particular school within the district.

If you receive the senior citizens exemption, you may also be eligible for a STAR credit

  • If you are receiving a Basic STAR exemption on this property, you may be eligible to have it upgraded to an Enhanced STAR exemption. For application instructions see Enhanced STAR Income Verification Program (IVP).
  • If you are not receiving a STAR exemption on this property, you may be eligible for an Enhanced STAR credit, which is paid directly by the NYS Tax Department. For more information, please see Register for the STAR credit.

When you register for the STAR credit we will automatically review your application to determine whether you are eligible for the Basic or Enhanced STAR credit amount. You do not need to register separately to receive the Enhanced credit if you’ve already registered to receive the Basic credit.

Changes to the senior citizens exemption for 2024 

The law governing the senior citizens exemption was amended in 2023. For information regarding these changes, see Changes to the senior citizens exemption and the exemption for persons with disabilities and limited incomes in the 2023-2024 Enacted State Budget