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eUpdate - December 23 2017
Consider pre-paying your property taxes to maximize federal deduction
Information to help you understand pre-paying property taxes
If you're a home-owner, you may want to consider pre-paying the 2nd installment of your 2017-18 property tax bill before the end of the month, to maximize your federal tax deduction.
The recently passed federal tax law allows taxpayers to deduct only $10,000 in state and local taxes starting in 2018. That means if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A and your property taxes, state income taxes and other state/local taxes exceed $10,000, you won't be able to deduct more than this amount.
However for the 2017 tax year you can still deduct all of your state and local taxes (including all property taxes and state income tax).
You may pre-pay the 2nd installment of your 2017-18 property tax bill this year and therefore deduct all of those payments on your 2017 federal tax return. Depending on your tax situation, you may not be able to deduct all your property tax payments starting in 2018.
In order to get the benefit of the full federal income tax deduction for 2017, your property tax payment must be RECEIVED AND RECORDED in the 2017 calendar year.
The Contra Costa Tax Collector's 24/7 website has all the information to allow you to look up and pre-pay your 2nd installment (which is normally due by February 1, 2018, delinquent after April 10, 2018).
You may pay online, by phone, by wire transfer or in person at the Tax Collector's office at the County Finance Building, 625 Court St., Room 100, Martinez, California. The office is open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday (closed on December 25).
Taxpayers are not allowed to pre-pay any portion of their 2018-19 property taxes since those bills have not yet been issued.
While you may also pay by mail, I would not recommend this if you want to be guaranteed that your payment will be "received and recorded" in 2017.
You may wish to consult with a tax professional for advice before making a decision to pre-pay your taxes.