An audit released by the New York State Comptroller reveals administrative shortcomings in the School Tax Relief (STAR) program have resulted in duplicate and improper exemptions going to individuals or entities not eligible to receive them.

Auditors estimate these exemptions cost New York State $13 million during the 2010-11 fiscal year and could top $73 million by the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Thomas DiNapoli says the STAR program has succeeded in delivering million of dollars in tax relief, but it is difficult to ferret out abuse or even errors because it is hard to police the program.

New York’s STAR program provides a partial exemption from school taxes for most owner-occupied, primary residences.

DiNapoli credited several municipalities for taking proactive steps to reduce the number of exemptions provided to residents for multiple homes and other abusive practices, helping to lower costs for the state. DiNapoli noted the audit’s findings underscore the need for increased enforcement of the STAR program as called for by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2013-14 Executive Budget proposal.