The Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption (SCHE) provides a reduction of 5 to 50% on New York City's real property tax to seniors age 65 and older.

To be eligible for SCHE, you must be 65 or older, earn no more than $58,399 for the last calendar year, and the property must be your primary residence.

The exemption must be renewed every two years.

For exemption benefits to begin on July 1 of the year you apply, your application must be postmarked on or before March 15. If the due date falls on a weekend or national holiday, the deadline will be the next business day.

Applications that are received after the filing deadline will be processed for July of the following year.

2020/2021 Tax Year

The deadline to apply for the 2020/2021 tax year is March 16, 2020.

  • If you’re eligible for an exemption and your 2020/2021 application is postmarked or submitted on or before the deadline, you’ll start receiving benefits on July 1, 2020.
  • If you’re eligible for an exemption and your 2020/2021 application is postmarked or submitted after the deadline, you’ll start receiving benefits on July 1, 2021.

2019/2020 Tax Year

The deadline to submit an application for the 2019/2020 tax year was March 15, 2019.

  • If you’re eligible for an exemption and your 2019/2020 application was postmarked on or before the deadline, you’ll start receiving benefits on July 1, 2019.
  • If you’re eligible for an exemption and your 2019/2020 application was postmarked after  the deadline, you’ll start receiving benefits on July 1, 2020.

To be eligible for SCHE, you must meet age, income, and residency requirements. You aren’t eligible if:

  • You receive the Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE). You can’t receive both SCHE and DHE at the same time.
  • The property is owned by a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
  • You participate in the 421a or 421b exemption program for your primary residence. You aren't eligible to apply for personal property exemptions until the 421a or 421b exemptions expire. If your exemption is expiring, you can ask to have the exemption revoked and the personal exemption applied instead.

Age

To qualify for an exemption that begins on July 1, you must be 65 or older by the following December 31. If you co-own your property with a spouse, registered domestic partner, or sibling, only one of you needs to be 65 or older. For other co-ownerships such as a parent and children, all owners must be 65 or older.

Income

Whether or not they live on the property, the total combined income (amount filed on the Federal Income Tax Return) of all owners and their spouses must be $58,399 or less.

If you need help understanding what should be included as income, you should refer to the application instructions or contact a licensed tax professional.

Primary Residence

The property must be the primary residence for all owners to be eligible for SCHE.

A primary residence is the dwelling unit in which the owner actually resides and maintains a continuous and physical presence. This means you must live there most of the year and it must be the address where you are registered to vote.

If an owner doesn’t live on the property, they must be:

  • Living full-time in a residential health care facility, or
  • Absent from the property because of a divorce, legal separation, or abandonment

Life Estates, Trusts, and LLCs

Life Estates

If you hold a life estate in the property, only the person with the life estate is the owner for SCHE eligibility purposes. The owner with the life estate must complete the application. Eligibility will be based on their income and if they meet all eligibility requirements. You must submit proof of income and a copy of the life estate with the application.

If the most recent deed says "Retained life estate," the person retaining the life estate can apply and receive the exemption if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Trusts

A trust is an arrangement that allows an individual or group to manage a property and financial assets. A beneficiary or trustee is the person designated as the recipient of funds or property.

If the property is owned by a trust, only the qualifying beneficiary (trustee) can apply for the exemption. The beneficiary should submit proof of their income and a copy of the trust with the application.

The name of the beneficiary/trustee will be found within the trust documents which should specifically state who has the right to live on the property.

LLCs

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business, regardless of the number of owners or their relationship to each other. Property owned by LLCs and other businesses are not eligible for personal exemptions or abatements.

Online

You can complete the application and upload your documents online. You'll need to log in or create an account first.

Filing online will allow you to:

  • Save your progress so you can come back to a partially completed application later
  • View the status of submitted applications
  • Get electronic notifications when your application is submitted, received, and processed or if additional information is required
  • Submit additional documents

Apply online.

By Mail

To apply, you must complete an application and provide all required documents.

Mail your application and documents to:

NYC Department of Finance
P.O. Box 311
Maplewood, NJ 07040-0311

If you send your application by certified mail, your certified mail receipt will be signed, dated, and returned to you.

Once an exemption application is received by the Department of Finance (DOF), they will send you an acknowledgment letter. They will review it and send you a decision letter or a letter requesting additional information within 90 days.

Call 311 to request a paper copy.

Proof of Income

To apply for SCHE, you must send proof of income for all owners and spouses, no matter where they reside.

You should submit proof of your 2019 income, but if it is unavailable, you can submit proof of your income in 2018. Proof of income from all owners and spouses must be from the same tax year. Total Combined Income for all owners and spouses must be submitted.

Provide federal or state income tax returns with all schedules and 1099s for all owners and their spouses for the calendar year immediately preceding the date you are filing your application:

If owners or spouses didn't file a federal or state tax return, submit copies of all sources of income, including:

  • Wages
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • SSI payments
  • SSDI payments
  • Pension payments
  • IRA earnings
  • Annuity earnings
  • Capital gains
  • Business income
  • Workers' compensation
  • Rental income
  • Interest

For Allowable Deductions, such as unreimbursed medical and prescription drug expenses, you must also send copies of:

  • Schedule A on your 1040 Federal Tax Return
  • Cancelled checks, money orders, cash receipts, or healthcare facility documentation

The documents must be of the same tax year as the documents you submit for proof of income.

Don't submit unpaid bills.

Proof of Ownership

If applicable, you must provide copies of documents proving ownership and residency.

  • Co-ops: stock certificate
  • Life estates: life estate
  • Trusts: entire trust agreement
  • If the property was willed to an owner: last will and testament, probate or court order
  • If an owner is receiving medical care in a health care facility: letter from the health care facility that includes the total cost of care

Enrollment Events

At an outreach event, Department of Finance staff will work with you one-on-one to help you complete a property tax exemption application.

To apply for or renew an exemption at the event, all owners must be present to sign the application. Make sure to bring the required documents, along with a government-issued photo ID, application, and any related letters or notices you received from DOF before going.

For a list of upcoming events, visit the Department of Finance Public Events page.

SCHE and DHE Assistance Centers

You can get one-on-one help with SCHE and DHE questions or issues at an Assistance Center. You can also get help with the status of applications and exemptions on your property

Make sure to bring all necessary documents with you. You don't need an appointment.

Manhattan Assistance Center
66 John Street, 3rd Floor (between Dutch and William Streets)
New York, NY 10038
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Staten Island Assistance Center
350 St. Marks Place, 4th Floor (between Hyatt Street and Victory Boulevard)
Staten Island, NY 10301
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Once an exemption application is received by the Department of Finance, they will review it and send you a decision letter or a letter requesting additional information within 90 days.

You can check the status of a property tax exemption application online or by phone.

Online

Look up the status of a property tax exemption application.

By Phone

Call 311 for status.

In Person

You can get one-on-one help with SCHE and DHE questions or issues at an Assistance Center. You can also get help with the status of applications and exemptions on your property.

Make sure to bring all necessary documents with you. You don't need an appointment.

Manhattan Assistance Center
66 John Street, 3rd Floor (between Dutch and William Streets)
New York, NY 10038
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Staten Island Assistance Center
350 St. Marks Place, 4th Floor (between Hyatt Street and Victory Boulevard)
Staten Island, NY 10301
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

If your application was denied and you disagree with the Department of Finance's decision, you can appeal with the NYC Tax Commission.

You must appeal by the deadline on your notice. If there is no deadline date on your notice, you must file within 20 calendar days of the date on the notice.

To learn how to appeal, visit the Property Tax Exemption Appeal page.

If you were denied the exemption and you have questions about why your exemption was denied, contact DOF. Note that contacting DOF for an explanation does not extend the deadline to file an appeal with the Tax Commission.

Email

Write to: recertify@finance.nyc.gov

Online

Contact DOF.

By Mail

Write to:

NYC Department of Finance
Correspondence Unit
1 Centre Street, Room 2200
New York, NY 10007

In Person

You can get one-on-one help with SCHE and DHE questions or issues at an Assistance Center. You can also get help with the status of applications and exemptions on your property.

Make sure to bring all necessary documents with you. You don't need an appointment.

Manhattan Assistance Center
66 John Street, 3rd Floor (between Dutch and William Streets)
New York, NY 10038
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Staten Island Assistance Center
350 St. Marks Place, 4th Floor (between Hyatt Street and Victory Boulevard)
Staten Island, NY 10301
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Exemptions provide tax relief to homeowners by reducing a property's taxable assessed value. This reduced assessed value, when multiplied by the tax rate, lowers the amount of taxes that you owe.

Estimated Reduction in Assessed Value

New York State sets the rates for the Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption (SCHE) and the Disabled Homeowners' Exemption (DHE). SCHE and DHE provide an estimated reduction of 5 to 50% of an eligible property’s assessed value. The percentage depends on the combined annual income of all owners and their spouses.

Income
Reduction in Assessed Value
$0 to $50,000
50%
$50,001 to $50,999
45%
$51,000 to $51,999
40%
$52,000 to $52,999
35%
$53,000 to $53,899
30%
$53,900 to $54,799
25%
$54,800 to $55,699
20%
$55,700 to $56,599
15%
$56,600 to $57,499
10%
$57,500 to $58,399
5%

Exemption Credit Amount

New York State (NYS) sets the rates for the STAR, Enhanced STAR, Senior Citizen Homeowner's, Disabled Homeowner's, and Veteran's Exemptions.

The amount of your exemption credit is based upon:

  • Your property's assessed value or transitional assessed value.
  • The taxes collected by your school district.
  • Your prior year savings. STAR savings cannot increase by more than 2% the following year. Enhanced STAR also has an annual inflation rate adjustment.
  • The property's location. Some counties are adjusted upwards to account for higher home values and higher taxes.
  • Whether a property reassessment was done.
  • NYC's current assessment level.
  • Whether you owe State tax.

For more information on how your exemption was calculated, contact the State.

Visit the Department of Taxation and Finance website.

To find out the actual value of your exemption, you should consult your property tax bill or decision letters you were sent confirming your eligibility for the benefit. Co-op owners should contact their management office for assistance.

View your property tax bill and account information.

Call 311 for assistance.

In Person

You can get one-on-one help with SCHE and DHE questions or issues at an Assistance Center. You can also get help with the status of applications and exemptions on your property.

Make sure to bring all necessary documents with you. You don't need an appointment.

Manhattan Assistance Center
66 John Street, 3rd Floor (between Dutch and William Streets)
New York, NY 10038
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Staten Island Assistance Center
350 St. Marks Place, 4th Floor (between Hyatt Street and Victory Boulevard)
Staten Island, NY 10301
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM