Homeowners are scrambling to prepay their 2018 property taxes in advance of the new federal cap on real estate deductions. The federal tax legislation that takes effect Jan. 1 will cap the state and local deductions on federal tax returns at $10,000. Residents who pay next year’s taxes before this year ends hope their efforts will allow them to take advantage of the deductions one last time.
Although it is impossible for residents to know the precise amount of their 2018 property taxes, regional leaders recommend making an estimate based on last year’s amount. To prepay property bills, residents must not have any unpaid tax bills from years prior.
Here’s a rundown of which jurisdictions in the region accept prepayments and how to make these payments:
The Senate on Dec. 2 passed a Republican bill overhauling the tax code. The bill passed by a 51-49 vote. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
The city of Alexandria says it has fielded a rush of calls about prepaid tax options ahead of the new tax bill’s taking effect. By Tuesday afternoon, the city had already received $1 million in prepayments — far more than in most years, according to Craig Fifer, a spokesman for the city. Payments will be accepted through Dec. 31. The city says it prefers to receive payments by check, with “prepayment” written in the memo field.
The county in Northern Virginia warns that it cannot offer any tax advice, but says it does accept prepaid tax payments. County Treasurer Carla de la Pava told the website ARLNow.com that it has received an unprecedented volume of prepaid payments in the aftermath of the tax bill’s passing. De la Pava said the treasurer’s office puts the deposits in “very safe” investments, which earn a small return for the jurisdiction. The county says it accepts payments on “active Real Estate” accounts. Residents are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-228-3090 with questions.
The county extended office hours the last week of December to accommodate the potential uptick of people prepaying their taxes. Residents can make their payments in person at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 223, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Payments can also be made electronically.
Loudoun County residents can prepay their taxes by mailing a check or paying with cash or credit card at one of the county’s two treasury offices in Leesburg and Sterling. Payments must be received by Friday, Dec. 29.
The District says that people can prepay their taxes online at www.taxpayerservicecenter.com or at any D.C. branch office at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo will accept payments via check or credit card. Residents must bring their 2017 real property tax bill to the branch office for their payments to be processed. Payments must be processed by Saturday. (Some Wells Fargo outposts are closed on Saturday.) The city is urging residents to avoid mailing payments in case they are not received in time.
The Maryland county passed last-minute legislation Tuesday that would allow residents to prepay their 2018 property bills. Residents are encouraged to mail their prepayments with a signed copy of a Notice of Intent that can be found online. Payments must be postmarked by Dec. 31 and mailed to the county’s Treasury Office, 255 Rockville Pike, Suite L-15, Rockville, MD 20850.
Prince George’s County does not permit prepaid real estate taxes, although an employee in the county’s treasury office said Tuesday afternoon that many residents have been calling inquiring about the option in recent days.