It's going to be extra exciting to send in your taxes this year.
It's going to be extra exciting to send in your taxes this year.
Photo by Margaret Downing

Bettencourt Says Texans Can Pre-Pay Their Taxes, But a 2017 Deduction is Unlikely

As much as homeowners might want it otherwise, Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) says Texans cannot expect to receive a deduction in their 2017 tax bill if they pay their 2018 property taxes before December 31.

The rush to pay early is due to the overhaul of our nation's tax system in which legislators approved setting a maximum of $10,000 on property tax deductions starting in 2018.

The IRS has said that prepaying 2018 property taxes may work for some taxpayers but the sticking point is that those taxes must already be assessed. And in Texas that's not going to happen till next year with an assessment phase running from July 25 to October 1. 

As the IRS stated in a release:

"In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018. A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017. State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed."

Bettencourt, who released his own statement today, pointed out that "Texas does not have a statewide property tax system; therefore individual counties can make these decisions one at a time. A survey showed that Tarrant, Harris, Fort Bend and Galveston counties were accepting early payments, but Montgomery, Brazoria, Liberty and Chamber were not.

The state senator said he has asked the Legislative Council for a bill draft that would standardize the use of escrow payments by county tax offices across the state.

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