NJ homeowners consider paying early property taxes after GOP overhaul

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Some New Jersey homeowners say that they may pay off a portion of their property tax early after the passing of a federal tax plan that limits property tax deductions.

Belmar officials are urging homeowners who are concerned about losing their property tax write-off to pay at least part of their 2018 bill by Dec. 31.

“I want to look at both sides of the situation before I make a final decision,” says Belmar resident Stuart Lackey.

The new federal tax reform caps property tax deductions at $10,000. But many New Jersey homeowners pay more than that amount.

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“Most people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around in their bank account, particularly during the holidays,” says Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty. “You’re talking about a small group of people who have the financial wherewithal to prepay in advance.”

Accountant Joe Petrucelli says that he agrees that paying early could have its benefits.

“Property taxes are better if you can pay the property taxes before Dec. 31 and you have the ability financially,” Petrucelli says. “You are going to get a better bang for your buck, because No. 1, you will not be capped by the $10,000 that you are looking at in 2018. Plus you will be in a period where the tax rates are higher.”

But Petrucelli says cautions that each family’s situation is different and says that he urges them to get tax advice before making a decision.

Homeowners whose mortgage company handles the tax payment would need to work out an arrangement.

Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday proposed making property taxes an unlimited deduction on the state tax return. Gov.-elect Phil Murphy called the proposal "not a crazy idea,” but did not say if he'd support it.

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