GENEVA – The line stretched from the Kane County Treasurer’s Office down the hall, past the elevator, past the stairs, past the next set of doors.
The buzz was a little bit like Macy’s on Christmas Eve, but the line was not to buy presents.
Instead, it was for residents to pay their next year’s property taxes early in the hope of securing an income tax deduction before the new tax code goes into effect Jan. 1. The new tax code limits the income tax deduction to $10,000 for state and local taxes.
Congress passed the new tax code Dec. 20.
Kane County Treasurer David Rickert said he estimated more than 4,000 people had trooped through his office before the Dec. 29 deadline to pay property taxes early. They paid an estimated $40 million in property taxes, he said.
“We would average 20 to 30 taxpayers paying early, but this year is a little bit different,” Rickert said. “In all my years as treasurer, I’ve never had this many people come through this office before. This is more than ever during our busiest time.”
In a news release, the Internal Revenue Service advised tax professionals and taxpayers that prepaying 2018 state and local real property taxes in 2017 may be tax deductible under certain circumstances.
“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,” the news release stated. “A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.”
The full release is available at www.irs.gov.
Rickert said those making prepayments are required to fill out a one-page form putting up to 100 percent of last year’s tax bill rounded down to the nearest $100.
“We make no assertions on deductibility. That’s for their tax adviser, and each situation is different,” Rickert said. “We have a disclaimer on the form making no assertions.”
Kurt Kobylecki of Geneva said he was hopeful he would be able to take the deduction.
“I would prefer to pay them when they are actually due,” Kobylecki said. “I’d rather hold on to my money. … But when Congress passed the law that limits my deductions, I have to pay them upfront now. My financial guy told me most likely [we will get the deduction], but we don’t know until we actually file our taxes.”
Tammi and Larry Lydick of Geneva also paid their taxes early.
“It was not my first choice of things to do today,” Larry said. “But it will be in September when we don’t have to do it then.”
Rickert said his office pulled out all the stops to meet the need.
“Not only do we have our full-time employees working on this, but our seasonal employees whom we use during tax season,” Rickert said. “We also reached out to the [Kane County] Clerk’s Office for temporary help. It’s very busy.”