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December 28, 2017 10:02 PM

Homeowners Try to Prepay 2018 Property Tax Before End of 2017

This year isn't even over yet, but homeowners are scrambling to pay next year's property taxes so they can save money. Right now, taxpayers can deduct certain state and local taxes -- like property taxes -- on federal tax returns. However, as of January 1 that deduction gets capped at $10,000.

Accountants are typically busy in April, but in these last few days of December, Timothy Ness -- owner of Ness Taxes and Bookkeeping -- has been getting a lot of phone calls from people asking about their 2018 taxes. 

"We have been one of the offices that has suggested people try to prepay some of those expenses," Ness said. 

Once the GOP tax overhaul goes into effect, the standard deduction for individuals almost doubles to $12,000 in 2018.  For married couples, the standard deduction will be $24,000.

"The itemized deductions consist of real estate taxes, state income tax, mortgage interest and charitable contributions and if the total of those itemized deductions is less than $24,000, it does no good to itemize," Ness said. 

That's why people are lining up at county treasurers' offices, including here in KELOLAND before the ball drops on New Year's Eve. 

"The benefit is that in the current year, it'll be a lot easier for people to itemize," Ness said. 

There are a few things to keep in mind. Ness says you won't see a savings benefit until next year, and there's no guarantee you'll get one. According to the IRS, homeowners need to have an official tax assessment to prepay property taxes, which complicates things for people who have already prepaid based on an estimate. Ness says there's still time. 

"As long as that check is dated December 31st, technically speaking, and sent off in the mail or dropped off at the local office, they could still qualify for that deduction," Ness said. 

Ness says you should find out if you able to prepay you 2018 property taxes. He recommends contacting your county treasurer if you have any questions about your options. 

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