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Want To Pre-Pay Property Taxes? Today’s The Day

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

The federal tax overhaul bill signed into law by President Donald Trump last week caps the allowable local and state tax deduction at $10,000. So a lot of people in the region are lining up to pre-pay their property taxes to maximize the deduction they take in 2017.

While Allegheny County has accepted pre-payment of real estate taxes for years, usually 10 or 12 people show up, said Kevin Fischer, deputy treasurer for Allegheny County.

“Today it has not let up,” he said. “For the first time since this pre-payment effort started this week, we had an actual line out the door into the hallway of the courthouse.”

His office had processed 600 payments by Thursday morning, with 400-500 more in the wings. People can either pay in person, or send their payment by mail; they’ll accept payments so long as they’re post-marked Dec. 30. Fischer estimates the county will take in about $2 million through pre-payment this year.

“It’ll be in the general fund coffers, it’ll earn some interest dollars as it’s invested here,” he said. “It’ll provide a little more of a financial cushion for the county as it begins 2018.”

The City of Pittsburgh will accept pre-payment of 2018 property taxes in person through noon on Friday, Dec. 29 in order to process them in 2017.

However, some Pennsylvania experts say a 1945 state law prevents pre-payment.

The IRS issued an advisory to taxpayers stating that pre-payment of 2018 property taxes may be deductible “under certain circumstances.” The release noted that payment of anticipated property tax versus assessed property tax is not deductible.

Fischer said his office does not offer tax or legal advice and recommended taxpayers talk with a professional to see if their pre-payment qualifies for a deduction.