You must renew your Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption (SCHE) every two years to keep your benefit.

You can renew your benefit if you’re still eligible for SCHE and provide current information and documents about income, residency, and ownership.

DOF will send you a renewal application when it's time to renew your benefit.

For SCHE benefits to continue on July 1 of the year you renew, your renewal 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.

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 using their income. 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 within the body of 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.

If there have been changes in ownership and residency of the property in the time since the exemption began or was last renewed, the property may no longer be eligible to receive it.

Your renewal application may be denied or the Department of Finance may remove SCHE from the property. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to keep the benefit.

Co-Owner Death

If you’re the surviving spouse or sibling of someone who received SCHE and are listed on the deed as an owner of the property, you may be able to renew the benefits under your name.

The surviving spouse must be at least 62 years old and the sibling must be at least 65. 

If DOF mailed a renewal application addressed to the deceased owner, you can use a blank renewal application so you can fill it out with your name.

You must provide:

  • Information about your income
  • A copy of your spouse or sibling's death certificate
  • Proof of ownership

The passing of an owner doesn’t increase the taxes you pay.

If your parent owned the property and passed away, you aren’t eligible to renew the benefit, but you may apply as a new applicant if you think you meet the program requirements. For eligibility information and applications, go to the Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption (SCHE) page.

Co-Owner Move

The property must be the primary residence for all senior owners and their spouses to be eligible for SCHE. However, if you were mailed a renewal application for an exemption on your property that’s addressed to a co-owner who isn’t living there anymore, you may still be eligible to renew the benefit.

You can continue to receive the exemption if the co-owner doesn't live on the property because of:

  • Legal separation
  • Divorce
  • Abandonment
  • Living in a residential health care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility

If the co-owner no longer lives on the property for any other reason, you must provide income documentation, and all owners must sign the application to renew the benefit.

New Owners

If the previous owner died or transferred ownership, and you’ve become the new owner of the property, you can’t continue to receive the former owner’s benefits. If you receive a renewal application addressed to the former owner, you can’t use it to renew the benefit under your name, but if you meet the program eligibility requirements, you may apply for SCHE and other tax benefits as a new applicant. For eligibility information and applications, go to the Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption (SCHE) page.

Life Estates and Trusts

If the property is now owned by a trust or if a life estate is now on the property, you need to submit a copy of the trust or life estate documents with the application.

If any owner holds a life estate in the property, that person is the owner for SCHE eligibility purposes. The body of the most recent Deed must say “Retained life estate.” The owner with the life estate must complete the application using their income. 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 property is owned by a trust, only the qualifying beneficiary (trustee) can renew 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 can be found within the Trust documents which should specifically state who has the right to live on the property.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

If an LLC now owns the property, it is no longer eligible to receive personal exemptions or abatements and the benefit will be removed. An LLC is a business, regardless of the number of owners or their relationship to each other. Property owned by LLCs and other businesses aren’t eligible for personal exemptions or abatements.

To renew, you must complete an application and provide all required documents. The Department of Finance (DOF) will send you a renewal application when it's time to renew.

You should make a copy of your completed renewal application to keep for your records. DOF doesn’t provide copies of previously submitted applications.

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

You will be mailed an acknowledgement notice once your renewal application has been received and entered in DOF's system. You should receive the notice within 3 weeks of submitting your application. Once DOF has reviewed your application you will receive a letter to let you know if you have been approved or denied for the exemption, or if they need more information to make a determination.

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 2018 income, but if it is unavailable, you can submit proof of your income in 2017. 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.

You can submit copies of your 2018 personal income tax returns with your application, or you can authorize the Department of Finance to use the most recent income tax return information that they received from the IRS and State Department of Taxation and Finance to process your application.

If any owners have not filed a Federal Tax Return, you must provide proof of income for 2017 or 2018, such as copies of:

  • NYS Income Tax Return
  • Pension
  • Disability Benefits Statements
  • Unemployment
  • Annuities
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • 1099s (from retirement accounts, bank interest, dividends, or Social Security)
  • Alimony
  • Rental income from tenants

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

  • Copy of Schedule A on your 1040 Federal Tax Return
  • Copies of cancelled checks, money orders, cash receipts, or healthcare facility documentation
  • 1099R for IRA distributions, pension, annuities, or Social Security

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

Don't submit any unpaid bills.

Ownership

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

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

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 assistance.

If your application was denied and you disagree with the Department of Finance's decision, you can appeal with the 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 the application, visit the Property Tax Exemption Appeal page.

If you were denied the exemption and you have questions about why your exemption was denied, contact the Department of Finance. 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
One Centre Street, 22nd Floor
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

Denial Due to Primary Residency

To be eligible for SCHE or DHE, the property must be the primary residence of all owners.

A primary residence is the dwelling unit in which the owner actually lives 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 the owner or the owner's spouse does not live at the property, they still can meet primary residency requirements if they are:

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

If an owner or their spouse is not living on the property for any other reason, the primary residence requirement hasn’t been met, and you are not eligible for the benefit.

If you received a denial letter saying that the Department of Finance denied your SCHE or DHE renewal because you didn’t prove that the property is the primary residence of all owners, but you believe you still meet the requirements, you may still be able to keep your benefit if you provide documentation.

Mail or email DOF a copy of the letter you received and copies of documents showing that the property is the primary residence of all owners.

For example:

  • Driver’s license
  • IDNYC, or
  • Other identification that has the address for each owner
  • Tax returns for each owner with their address on it

Email

Write to: recertify@finance.nyc.gov

By Mail

Write to:

NYC Department of Finance
Homeowner Tax Benefits
P.O. Box 3179
Union, NJ 07083

You can get help if you:

  • Need to confirm if DOF received and is processing your renewal application
  • Are unsure if you sent the renewal application
  • Want more information about renewal requirements

Email

Write to: recertify@finance.nyc.gov

Online

Contact DOF.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

By Mail

Write to:

NYC Department of Finance
Correspondence Unit
One Centre Street, 22nd Floor
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