• Florida residents can't prepay property taxes, tax collectors say

    By: Christopher Heath

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Homeowners have been flooding local offices, asking if they can prepay their 2018 taxes to avoid a hike next year as a result of the new Republican tax bill.

    State and federal rules do not allow Florida residents to prepay property taxes.

    "We've gotten several hundred phone calls about it,” Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph said.

    Randolph told Channel 9’s Christopher Heath that his office has been flooded with calls from people anxious about limits to property tax deductions as part of the new Republican tax bill. Many residents are trying to pay for 2018 before the bill takes place to save money.

    "It's an unfortunate time for that tax bill to be passed at the end of the year. There’s no time for anyone to do any tax planning,” Randolph said.

    The Internal Revenue Service also issued an advisory that said, “A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017."

    Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg did have a suggestion that might have created a loophole. He wrote a letter to the governor asking for an executive order to allow people to prepay.

    Greenberg said the “executive order would allow citizens who think they are hurt by the new federal tax laws to reap the benefits of the existing federal tax laws one additional year.”

    A spokesperson for the governor’s office told Eyewitness News they’re not sure the governor has that authority, and so far, no order has been forthcoming.

    Tax schedules vary wildly from state to state. Some states have already sent out 2018 assessments, and people could pay early to avoid a hike.

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