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Scarsdale School and County Taxes Cannot be Prepaid for 2018 Afterall

shsberke1Despite the best efforts of Scarsdale School and Village officials, it does not appear that Scarsdale taxpayers will be able to prepay their county and school taxes for 2018. Though the Village did collect 2018 tax payments from some residents early this week, we have now learned that the school and county portions cannot be prepaid. The Scarsdale Village Board will meet in executive session on Thursday morning December 28 to determine whether or not the Village can issue their warrant for taxes. If so, residents will have a few days to pre-pay the 2018 Village portion of their taxes which represents about 18% of the property tax bill.

However it remains to be seen whether or not the IRS will allow deductions of these prepayments from resident's 2018 tax returns.

Village Hall is staffed to handle the payments. Scarsdale Village Treasurer Mary Lou McClure and two Village employees are on hand to accepts checks and explain the changing scenario to those who come by. Anyone who paid their total 2018 taxes with one check earlier this week, can go back, retrieve that check and write a smaller check for the Village portion of their tax bill.

Governor Cuomo's order to allow prepayment sent municipal officials into a blitz of activity in a normally quiet vacation week between Christmas and New Years. Officials on all levels struggled to find out if they could legally issue early tax warrants to accept pre-payments. It now appears that Governor Cuomo's actions, while politically expedient, may have caused lots of unnecessary work.

Here are the latest press releases from the Scarsdale Schools, The Village of Scarsdale and the Scarsdale Forum.

(From the Scarsdale School District – 12/27/17)

Greetings from the Scarsdale School District:

We recognize that recent correspondence from the Village of Scarsdale suggests the Village may accept prepayment of 2018-2019 school taxes, but that the School District must issue a warrant to allow such prepayment. We have looked into this matter carefully, including consulting with our attorneys, and have determined that the District cannot issue a warrant at this time.

Governor Cuomo's Executive Order does not specifically authorize the pre-payment of such school taxes, nor suspend the operation of State Law governing the school budgetary process. Pursuant to the New York State Education Law, school districts must develop and adopt a school budget, which then is submitted to the voters of the district for approval. Only then can the tax warrant be finalized or a tax levy set. The Executive Order did not modify or suspend any of these Education Law requirements for the adoption of the 2018-2019 school budget.

To be clear, our best information is that we are not in a position to issue a warrant at this time and thus prepayment of school taxes is not an available option

Happy New Year to each of you and your families.

Sincerely,

William J. Natbony
President
Scarsdale Board of Education

Dr. Thomas Hagerman
Superintendent of Schools

(From Scarsdale Village Hall – 12/27/17)

A Special Meeting of the Village of Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees is scheduled for Thursday, December 28, 2017, at 9:30 AM. The meeting will be held in the Trustees Room located on the 2nd Floor in Village Hall. Agenda 1. Prepayment of Village Property Taxes (It is anticipated that a motion will be offered to move into Executive Session to seek opinion of Counsel) 2. Resolution re: Partial Levy and Warrant for 2018/19 Village Taxes

(From the Scarsdale Forum – 12/27-17) Please note that this was written before the School District sent out the note above announcing that they could not issue a warrant for school taxes.

No Prepayment of Westchester County 2018 Property Taxes
This is an update of the press release sent last week with respect to the prepayment of 2018 property taxes. Based upon recent developments, the present options are:

1. The Village of Scarsdale is accepting prepayment of 2018 Village and School property taxes as follows:

Those wishing to make a prepayment should prepare two checks using the amounts paid for Village and School taxes in 2017: one for Village taxes and one for School taxes. Both checks to made payable to the Village of Scarsdale.

However, if the necessary tax warrant cannot be prepared and issued by the Scarsdale School District before the end of 2017, prepayments of School taxes will be returned.

Payments may be made in person at Village Hall from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm through December 29, 2017. The Drop Box at Village Hall will be closed at the end of business December 29, 2017. Payments may also be mailed and will be accepted with a United States postmark, Federal Express or UPS shipment dated on or before December 31, 2017. Postage meter marks are not acceptable.

At this date, prepayments cannot be made using the Village's on-line payment system.

Note: Neither the Village nor the Scarsdale Forum make any representation regarding the deductibility of prepaid taxes which will ultimately be decided by the United States Treasury. Property owners are urged to consult their own tax advisors on such matter.

2. The Village will not be accepting prepayment of Westchester County Taxes:
This updated information is prompted by yesterday's announcement by the County that due to the variety of legal and administrative requirements the County must meet to issue a tax warrant, it is not able to do so prior to the end of 2017. A lohud news report of this development can be accessed here.

The Village has noted that the prepayment of some or all or none of 2018 property taxes is optional. If property owners avail themselves of this option, the necessary adjustments to the payment amounts will be made during the usual property tax billing cycles in 2018.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Village Treasurer's Office at 914.722.1170. The Village Hall tax office will close for the year at 5:00 pm on December 29, 2017.

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