Californians take advantage of expiring property tax break before 2018

Milton will re-pay residents who paid their 2018 property taxes before they were due. AJC FILE

Long Island town tax receivers arrived at their offices early Tuesday morning after a long holiday weekend to find property owners had beaten them there, hoping to prepay their 2018 taxes to take advantage of possible deductions this year before the new federal tax code goes into effect.

The move was a new tax-cut law that caps at a total of $10,000 deductions for state and local property taxes and charitable contributions.

By contrast, Agawam, Mass.is mailing property tax bills a few days early this year so people can know the amount if they want to prepay.

Mecklenburg County is now accepting prepayments for 2018 tax bills.

Tisbury tax collector Jon Snyder: "Oh boy, we have had many, many people call".

The Washington County Tax Collector's office said it would not be accepting prepayment of property taxes.

The advance payment of 2018 property tax before the end of 2017 may be deductible for some taxpayers on their 2017 federal income tax return. Montclair will be open for five hours on Saturday to allow residents to prepay their taxes.

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To ensure that payments made by check are deposited and cleared by the end of the year, checks should be received no later than Thursday, Dec. 28. Other county tax collectors have reported a similar floods of inquiries, too. The deduction is popular in high-tax states and used by many who itemize taxes in the Philadelphia region. And in Montgomery County, Maryland, lawmakers rushed to pass legislation that would allow prepayment.

"It really complicates things", he said, pointing out that the first tax bills are not even generated until the first quarter.

Those who live in surrounding towns should contact their own town officials or check their town's website for information on making in-person payments of their 2018 property tax.

Call your municipality tax collector - lists are found on county websites.

The three counties with the highest median tax bills in the country - Nassau County, Rockland County and Westchester County, which are all in NY - have median tax bills exceeding the $10,000 cap, according to the Tax Foundation.

Meanwhile, accountants and lawyers are scrambling to understand the new tax bill and its ramifications so they can advise their clients. By last week, 6,600 people had done so - more than three times as many as past year. But for the most part, she said, they're just mildly curious.

"We plan for the tax payments to come in on a quarterly basis, so this is going to be a lot of money earlier than we planned", she said.

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