Prepaying property taxes before 2018 could give some CNY residents larger refunds

Dec 29, 2017

Town halls across upstate New York are seeing a steady stream of residents paying their 2018 town and county property taxes before the end of 2017. The new federal tax code limits local property tax deductions.

Onondaga County Director of Real Property Tax Services Donald Weber said around this time of year, things get pretty quiet in his department. But now they are getting 100-200 calls a day.

“99 percent of calls we’re getting are about people who want to make property tax payments in this 2017 year, because they may not be able to deduct them next year when the income tax law takes effect,” Weber said.

That is because the new law caps the amount of state and local income and property tax deductions to $10,000.

“If you can take your 2018 town and county tax bill that you would normally pay in January of 2018 and pay it in 2017 instead, some people may see a larger income tax refund or benefit than they would if they would wait to pay it next year,” Weber said.

Weber said residents are also asking if they can prepay their school taxes, which they cannot. That bill does not go out until September.

"The schools haven't passed budgets yet, property owners haven't had an opportunity to vote on the budgets, there's no tax levy," Weber said. "You don't have the opportunity to prepay school or village taxes. Only your town and county tax bill can you do that for."

Generally, school taxes make up two-thirds of property taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service said property tax deductions can be claimed if the taxes are assessed, billed and paid in 2017.