St. Louis County Auditor’s Office responds to questions about prepayment of 2018 property taxes

The passage of a new federal tax bill has some people wanting to pay their 2018 property tax bill early in order to take full advantage of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction one more time. The deduction will be capped at $10,000 beginning in 2018 under the new legislation.

The response is, people can certainly pay the amount listed on their Truth in Taxation statement that was sent out earlier this fall. However, any payments that are received now cannot be recorded as a prepayment for next year, but rather will be listed as an over payment of 2017 taxes.

Dozens of people have called or emailed the St. Louis County Auditor’s Office this week wanting to pay their taxes early. Others have mailed in a check for the amount listed on the property tax statement they received earlier this fall. But the amount on their statement is just an estimate based on the preliminary budgets of the various taxing jurisdictions. The actual amount due won’t be known until taxes are calculated and established in late February 2018.

“Our current cashiering and property tax software doesn’t allow us to provide a receipt showing that property taxes are prepaid,” said County Auditor Don Dicklich, “and it’s not possible for us to make that sort of procedural or software change in the final two weeks of the year. We can provide a receipt showing that we received a payment on a specific date, but not that the payment is for 2018 taxes.”

Additionally, Dicklich reminds people, “We cannot give legal advice on whether paying early will be beneficial to a person’s tax situation nor will we offer refunds early if it does not prove to be beneficial. I would recommend a person consult a professional tax accountant for that advice.”

If people still wish to pay their taxes early, they should send payment to: St. Louis County Auditor, 100 North 5th Avenue West, Room 214, Duluth, MN 55802. People should indicate on their payment that it is to be applied to 2018 taxes, so that county staff can manually track and move the funds later. People are advised to talk with their tax accountant for any other questions.

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