From the Star Ledger:
New Jerseyans rushing to their town halls this week in hopes of immediately paying next year’s property tax bills before the new federal tax law kicks in Monday just got a last-minute boost from Gov. Chris Christie.
But the IRS may be limiting how big of a boost they’ll get.
Christie issued an executive order Wednesday requiring that all municipalities in New Jersey permit homeowners to prepay 2018 property taxes, as long as the payments are postmarked by the end of the year, which is Sunday.
That will allow homeowners to deduct the payments on their 2017 federal tax returns.
The move is designed to help taxpayers temporarily minimize the impact of the federal law signed last week by President Donald Trump, which will limit the amount in state and local taxes that homeowners can deduct from their federal income taxes to $10,000 beginning Jan. 1.
Many municipalities — from Jersey City to Hoboken to Evesham — had already been accepting at least partial 2018 prepayments from worried residents.
But Christie said not every town in the state was following suit. His order instructs the director of the state Division of Local Government to mandate that all of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities do so.
“The action I took today will ensure that local governments are flexible and accommodating of their local property taxpayers as we transition to the new federal tax code for 2018,” Christie said in a statement. “This executive order requires local officials to dedicate the resources and staffing to serve New Jerseyans who are planning in this way for their families and their futures.”
There’s a snag, though. The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday that 2018 prepayments are deductible only if you’ve already received a bill from your local government and paid it by Sunday. That could add confusion for those hurrying to meet the deadline.
Experts say New Jersey’s tax bills have been sent out only for the first and second quarters of 2018. That may mean homeowners are allowed to deduct prepaid taxes only for the first half of next year but not the latter half.