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Village of Scarsdale Will Not Accept Prepayment of Real Estate Taxes for 2018

homeprices(December 24, 2017) The Village will not accept prepayment of 2018 property taxes - see above

With the new tax bill set to pass both the House of Representatives and Senate this week, many in Scarsdale are scrambling to do whatever they can to shelter themselves from an onerous new provision in the bill that prevents the deduction of state, local and more than $10,000 in real estate taxes. With the average Scarsdale homeowner paying $30,000 a year in real estate taxes, many wondered if they could pay their 2018 property taxes early and deduct them from their 2017 tax return.

According the New York Times, prepayment of real estate taxes is permitted in some municipalities in New York State. The article says, "While the writers of the final bill had the opportunity to prohibit prepayment of local property taxes, they did not do so. So if you can save money on your taxes overall by paying your property taxes this year, when the $10,000 cap is not yet in effect, you should seriously consider it. But before you start lining the money up, check with your local taxing authority about whether it allows prepayment — and how much you can actually pay in advance. There are different rules in different jurisdictions."

Many called Scarsdale Village Hall to find out how to make their payments, but have been distressed to learn that Scarsdale will only return your check. Why?

Village Treasurer Mary Lou McClure says, "We cannot accept checks without an adopted budget, the related tax warrant and a tax roll. If someone were to send a check to the Village, we would need to return it to the maker of the check without cashing it because we have nowhere to apply the payment. We cannot accept deposits against a future receivable. Other communities may have fiscal years beginning January 1 and/or have the second half school tax due in January. In both cases, a budget, warrant, and tax roll would have been delivered to the tax collecting officer. Generally those communities are cities and towns which have different fiscal years than a village. The Village has researched the warrant issues and consulted with, among other parties, the New York state Comptroller's Office, NYCOM, the NYS GFOA, the County Finance Commissioner, the County Tax Commissioner and other legal sources." Read a full explanation from the Village here.

Commenting on the policy, one reader wrote, "Well, I just found out that Scarsdale is not willing to accept prepayment! I am outraged as I would think many will be."

Another said, "Having spoken to my tax advisor, it appears that if I proactively sent Scarsdale a check (say for 90% of last years taxes), there is actually nothing in law that would specifically prohibit Scarsdale from cashing that check. Scarsdale's systems might not be able to handle that, but this could easily be solved, for example, by recording my payment in a spreadsheet. I am hoping someone can be very specific about why Scarsdale could not legally cash a check that I proactively sent to it."

Other readers noted that the Town of Southampton, which is the taxing authority for many villages on the East End of Long Island, is accepting the earlier payments. In fact, they normally bill for the following year in December and require payment by January 31, 2018. Readers say that these prepayments will be deductible from their 2017 return.

The New York Times estimates that Westchester County residents are among 12 national counties that take the highest SALT deductions, with 47% of residents taking an average deduction of $34,300. With the loss of SALT and the deduction of a good portion of real estate taxes, many Scarsdale residents will clearly be worse off in 2018 than they were this year.

Comments   

#17 Harvey Schmoe 2017-12-23 18:37
Is there some law on this?
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#16 almostouttahere 2017-12-23 15:14
Trustee Finger just issued a letter saying we can prepay our taxes. Merry Christmas to all!!!!
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#15 long time resident 2017-12-23 14:36
It would seem now that the Village should be able to accept prepayments of county taxes since the Governor's executive order of 12/22. The impediment was the lack of receipt of the warrant following approval of the relevant budget. The County passed its budget 12/21 overriding the County Executive's veto. The County is now authorized by the Governor to issue its warrant this coming week ( up to 12/28) The village should now be willing to accept prepayments prior to year end and reverse its position to not do so as stated in the press release from the village dated 12/19. While it's not certain, it seems the village and school taxes still cannot be prepaid as no budget on those portions has as yet been approved. The Village government now has the authorization that was previously unavailable and should make every effort to now accommodate at least the prepayment of county taxes before 12/31. Residents interested in making such prepayments will be grateful for the Village's efforts to accommodate.
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#14 WHAT IS HAPPENING? 2017-12-23 12:42
This is the single greatest emergency issue our village has ever faced that does not involve public safety and human life. For certain we can be grateful that more important matters are not at stake, but this is absolutely ridiculous.

Where are the people who are supposed to look out for us? Why are they not issuing guidance on this subject? Why are they silent, not using emails or this site or any other venue to keep residents aware of their options, now that Cuomo has done his part? What on earth is going on?
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#13 almostouttahere 2017-12-23 10:35
In light of Gov. Cuomo's executive order on Friday December 22, Scarsdale residents should be able to pre-pay their property taxes based on last years tax bill. Any adjustments could be made when the final tax bills are generated.
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#12 Brite Ave 2017-12-23 00:03
Does anyone know if the Cuomo exec order changes anything?
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#11 First we throw out the politicians 2017-12-21 15:11
This was so foreseeable. Everyone was talking about this possibility even months ago. And the poster who said that property taxes were generally prepayable (in terms of maintaining the deduction) is absolutely correct.

This would have respresented savings of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes for citizens all over Westchester. Yes, some very wealthy but many much less so. This is a kick in the gut to all taxpayers who have significant New York State and property tax obligations, and it is pathetic how little time and effort our elected officials put into mitigating its effect.

They ought to have taken some preparation to allow residents to prepay at least a portion of their 2018 property liabilities. That they didn't speaks volumes about their shortsightednes s and woeful lack of fiscal sophistication.
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#10 Incorrect 2017-12-21 14:43
You are not correct. Prepayment of PROPERTY taxes is not barred in the final version.

Quoting Tax bill blues:
There is language in the new tax bill that expressly does not permit pre-payment of next year's property taxes in order to claim a higher deduction in the current year. So, not sure that all these other localities are doing, but it is probably illegal and will invite an audit and tax penalties! Thanks but no thanks!
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#9 Tax bill blues 2017-12-21 11:56
There is language in the new tax bill that expressly does not permit pre-payment of next year's property taxes in order to claim a higher deduction in the current year. So, not sure that all these other localities are doing, but it is probably illegal and will invite an audit and tax penalties! Thanks but no thanks!
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#8 Village Hall: excuses, excuses 2017-12-20 16:26
When other municipalities have figured out/are figuring out a way to help their residents pre-pay their taxes, it is a disgrace that Scarsdale cannot spend the time to do so for its residents. I have numerous friends throughout NYS who shall be able to pre-pay. One expects local governement to go to bat for its residents; Village Hall's load of excuses rather than figuring out a way to accommodate residents is unacceptable.
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