Minnesota homeowners rush to pre-pay taxes before 2018

Published 8:42 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Minnesota homeowners are rushing to pre-pay property taxes before the end of the year.

They’re hoping to save money on next year’s tax returns once federal tax changes kick in.

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There hasn’t been any definitive guidance from state and federal tax authorities on whether early payments will save residents money.

Under the recently passed federal tax law, annual state and local tax deduction will be capped at $10,000 after Jan. 1. The CPA has said that in general, taxpayers may benefit from paying early if they don’t plan to itemize deductions next year.

Even without clear recommendations, many county tax offices have seen a steady flow of customers in the run-up to the new year.

Ramsey County received $4.2 million in early payments Wednesday. Hennepin County received nearly 10,000 early payments, mostly online. Blue Earth County officials recorded 104 taxpayers pre-paying Tuesday.

Some Twin Cities offices are adding Saturday hours to accept more pre-pays, though most counties are only open until close of business Friday.

Payment policies vary by county, which has created some confusion across the state.

“The counter has been pretty busy all day and we’re getting a fair number of calls,” said Blue Earth County Taxpayer Services Director Mike Stalberger. He said his staff is trying to help customers, but that the office cannot advise homeowners on whether pre-payment makes sense for them.

“We’re telling people to talk to their tax professional to look at their situation.”

The Minnesota Department of Revenue has also encouraged taxpayers to seek advice from tax experts, as the department reviews IRS “guidance.”