Gov. Hutchinson: Prepayment of Property Taxes up to County Officials

Thursday, 28 Dec, 2017

Homeowners in Loudoun County can prepay their 2018 real estate taxes, if they are willing to drive to one of the county's treasurer offices in Leesburg and Sterling. About 159 people came in Tuesday, he said, and he expected that pace to keep up all week.

A convenience fee is charged for online payments. Residents lined up out the door.

The tax overhaul signed last week by President Donald Trump puts a new $10,000 limit on the amount of state and local taxes people can deduct from their income when calculating their federal tax liability.

Prepayment would only benefit those who itemize their deductions, and anyone looking to prepay should consult a tax professional first.

Mark Krupski, the director of Olmsted County's Property Records and Licensing Office, noted state income taxes can't be paid early, but homeowners and others can prepay local property taxes to increase deductions this year.

But not every town is taking prepayments, and the rush to save money before the year runs out has caused confusion and frustration in some Philadelphia-area communities.

"By prepaying, we will save roughly $4,000 next year", Julia Colby of Alexandria, Va., said Wednesday as a line snaked back from the payment counter of Fairfax County's Department of Tax Administration.

Both Montgomery and Bucks Counties have declared that none of their municipalities may accept prepayments, forcing tax collector Barbara Loftus to repeat the same refrain to her hundreds of callers in Warminster. "We are all in this together, and I will make available on an as needed basis our county staff to support the efforts of our local towns as they respond to the influx of residents". There is a 3 percent fee for credit card payments.

For Rick Goldstein of Abington Township, attempts to prepay ended in frustration.

If you got your tax bill already, payments can be mailed to your municipal tax collecting office as listed on your bill.

Tax offices in different places around the country have very different positions on whether they would accept prepayments. Instead, he walked away with a letter from the Montgomery County treasurer's office, explaining that 2018 taxes can not be prepaid.

The line on December 27, 2017, to pay 2018 property taxes in advance stretched out the doors of the Fairfax County tax office in Fairfax, a Virginia suburb of the District of Columbia. Assessment of properties begins on January 1 and takes much of the year. The county does not become involved in collection of taxes until bills are judged delinquent. Taxpayers in California's Santa Clara county, for example, may only pre-pay the second installment of the 2017-2018 taxes, which is due in April.

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.