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Tax experts: No clear answer on whether prepaying property taxes will save you money

(WHAM photo)

There are lots of taxing questions over the rush to pay property taxes early, following the historic law just signed by President Trump.

Even tax experts aren't sure whether paying them early will result in a payoff. But, while prepaying may not save you money, experts say paying now won't hurt you.

Hundreds of property owners have been calling town tax departments, looking to pay their taxes early.

“All I can tell you is we're able to accept their payment early. If it affects them or not, I just don't know those answers,” said Ogden Town Clerk Noelle Burley.

Burley is advising property owners to consult with an accountant.

But even for accountants, it's a wait and see situation.

“There is no cookie-cutter answer to who is eligible, and is it good or bad,” said Valarie Hill, owner of Flower City Tax and Accounting.

Hill says, first, check if you itemize.

“If you don't itemize, and if you take the standard deduction, it does you no good, absolutely no good to pre-pay," she said. "The first thing I have to do is go and look at their return from last year, and determine if it's worth the aggravation of prepaying this.”

Then, look at your tax bracket.

“If you're in a 15 percent tax bracket, your county taxes are $2,000, so you'd save 15 percent of that $2,000 by pushing it into this year,” explained Hill.

Property owner Jim Debole plans to pay his taxes Friday.

“I wanna get in on my savings because, after this, I won't be able to deduct my property taxes anymore. I figure I'll be saving $500-$600 if it all works out on my taxes,” said Debole.

Though the savings are uncertain, accountants and clerks say if you can pre-pay, you'll be ahead of the game.

“If it's going to help you at all, your chances are better that it's going to help you in 2017 than in 2018,” said Hill.

There are some county clerks working extra hours Saturday to help folks meet this deadline. Check with your county clerk to see if they are open Saturday.

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