CT homeowners scramble to prepay property taxes by year’s end

HARTFORD –- Thousands of residents in Connecticut have been flooding local tax assessor offices to figure out how the GOP tax overhaul will hit home. The likeliest problem for many will be the $10,000 local and state tax deductions cap.

“This legislation was in many respects a fiscal lynch mob directed at blue states I don't know how to put it in any other way,” said Kevin Sullivan, Department of Revenue Services Commissioner. “This has happened so fast it caught most people by surprise.”

Beginning in FY2018-2019 residents may not deduct more than $10,000 in state and local payments from their federal taxes, which, for higher taxed areas of Connecticut such as Fairfield County and West Hartford, could prove problematic,

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy does not plan to sign an executive order requiring pre-payments of local property taxes, a move that would let residents deduct the payment from federal taxes early.

Ben Barnes, Malloy's budget director, told municipal leaders Wednesday it's impractical to mandate that municipalities accept pre-payments because communities have not yet set tax rates for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. Also, he says property tax collection is a local, not a state, matter.

New York's and New Jersey's governors signed orders requiring municipalities to accept pre-paid local taxes before a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions goes into effect next year.

Other Connecticut communities, such as New Canaan and Stamford, are accepting early payments of real estate and motor vehicle taxes due Jan. 1.

The IRS has issued an advisory that hasn't helped to clarify the issue for many state residents.