ALBANY — Prepaying tax payments has turn out to be the newest vacation craze.
Hundreds of house owners in New York, New Jersey and different excessive tax states have been lining up Thursday to prepay their 2018 property taxes and beat the onset of the brand new federal tax regulation — particularly the availability limiting deductions for state and native taxes to $10,000.
“It’s a scramble,” Gov. Cuomo mentioned throughout an interview with MSNBC. “That is what occurs when Washington passes a invoice in the dark and doesn’t vet it with the general public.”
Including to the confusion was unsure steerage from the Inner Income Service this week that raised questions on whether or not prepaying taxes would do any good.
“A prepayment of anticipated actual property taxes that haven’t been assessed previous to 2018 aren’t deductible in 2017,” the IRS mentioned in its advisory.
The state of affairs had municipal officers struggling to cope with a sudden inflow of inquiries from taxpayers about whether or not and learn how to prepay their taxes earlier than the beginning of the brand new yr.
“We have got telephones in tax receiver places of work ringing off the hook,” mentioned Suffolk County Govt Steve Bellone, who has dispatched county employees to native city and village places of work to assist cope with the exercise.
In New York Metropolis, which has at all times allowed property taxpayers to prepay property taxes, the 311 system has obtained greater than four,500 calls previously week about pre-payment.
“We encourage all owners to seek the advice of a tax knowledgeable to find out if prepaying your property taxes will help lighten the unfair burden,” mentioned Metropolis Corridor spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein.
Hempstead’s tax workplace obtained so many calls and emails that it posted a discover saying it might now not reply to particular person inquiries. It directed taxpayers to the Nassau County web site to find out their cost quantity.
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Jersey Metropolis, which historically allowed owners to prepay their property taxes for the primary and second quarters of the fiscal yr, is nowallowing residents to prepay for the third and fourth quarter of subsequent yr, too.
“It’s busy down there,” mentioned Hannah Peterson, a spokeswoman for Jersey Metropolis Mayor Steven Fulop, concerning the metropolis’s tax workplace.
Though Cuomo signed an government order final week waiving sure authorized restrictions towards prepayment of taxes and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an order Wednesday directing municipalities to just accept prepayments, not each municipality is collaborating.
Westchester County has mentioned it can’t get its tax warrants accomplished in time, although a number of cities and villages inside Westchester are accepting prepayments.
Cuomo’s Finances Director Robert Mujica despatched a letter Thursday to Westchester County Govt Rob Astorino criticizing the county for not getting its warrants accomplished in time.
“One would assume that is of particular curiosity to you as Westchester has terribly excessive property taxes, the best within the state and sometimes the best property taxes within the nation,” Mujica wrote.
Ned McCormack, a spokesman for Astorino, mentioned Mujica was “fully misinformed” about Westchester taxes, noting that the county authorities was answerable for a comparatively small portion of the whole tax invoice in comparison with college and native governments.
Cuomo, in the meantime, appeared on three cable networks and continued to deride the tax invoice as an assault on Democratic states by the Republican-controlled Congress.
“This tax provision hits the blue states by eliminating the state and native tax deductibility and makes use of that cash to finance the tax minimize within the pink states,” Cuomo mentioned on CNN. “That is probably the most partisan, divisive laws we have seen.”