Homeowners across the region are playing “beat the clock,” literally, as they pre-pay their 2018 property taxes before the new federal tax code goes into effect. Specifically, the taxpayers are scrambling against “Father Time” to pre-pay their 2018 property taxes in 2017 so that payments may be deducted on their 2017 income tax returns. The full impact of the federal tax code changes has been felt at the Office of Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin where his staff has processed an estimated 5,000 property owners over a three-day period, December 26th through December 28th. At the same time, the office has seen a 3,100% increase in certain tax payments on one day since this past Christmas compared to the amount taken in during the same date in 2016. Meanwhile, Clavin announced that this office will take an unprecedented step by opening its doors to homeowners this coming weekend, including New Year’s Eve, to accept property tax payments.
“We’re here on the front lines, feeling the full impact that the federal tax code overhaul is having on taxpayers across our region,” said Clavin. “Our office workers are going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help taxpayers who are trying to cope with the new federal tax code. Servicing 5,000 taxpayers in three days is unheard of, and a 3,100% increase in the amount of taxes received is mind numbing.”
Instead of marking the passing of the year with champagne toasts, Clavin’s office is extending office hours and working this weekend, including New Year’s Eve. The office is open from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Friday, December 29th. Saturday and Sunday, December 30th and 31st, will see the office’s doors open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Receiver’s Office has been flooded with residents looking to get tax information and make property tax payments since December 26th. In fact, the office estimates that it handled over 1,000 taxpayers on the day after Christmas, as well as over 2,000 homeowners on Wednesday and another 2,000 homeowners on Thursday, December 27th and 28th.
In addition, a comparison of school tax payments made at the tax office and online indicated a 3,100% increase in tax amounts received on December 27, 2017 compared to the 2016 figures. The tax office collected $8.3 million in school taxes on December 27, 2017 and took in $260,000 last year. Figures on general tax collections have not been tabulated yet and are not expected to be available for several weeks.
The Receiver of Taxes indicated that the costs for local governments are substantial with respect to administering the pre-payment of 2018 property taxes. Overtime costs, computer programming costs and increased security demands are among areas that will financially impact Hempstead Town’s Receiver of Taxes Office, as well as other tax offices across the region. Clavin noted that these costs are largely driven by the Governor’s Executive Order, which directed local governments to process the pre-payment of property taxes. Accordingly, the Receiver is calling upon the Governor to arrange for the reimbursement of excess costs associated with the property tax pre-payment rush.
“We are helping taxpayers to prepay their 2018 property taxes because it’s the right thing to do,” stated Clavin. “At the same time, we are calling upon the Governor to reimburse our excess costs associated with complying with his Executive Order, directing localities to accommodate the pre-payment of 2018 property taxes.”
While general tax bills will not arrive in homeowners’ mailboxes before January 1st, residents can visit the tax office at 200 North Franklin Street in Hempstead to make payments. Staff will be on hand to supply property owners with the tax amounts due for 2018, and they will be issuing temporary receipts (permanent receipts to be forwarded by mail). Payments for general taxes may be made in cash or by check.
Residents may also pre-pay their 2018 general and second half school taxes by mail. Those payments must have a U.S. Postal Service postmark, dated no later than December 31, 2017. Property owners seeking to pay by mail can secure the amounts due for their general taxes by visiting the Nassau County Department of Assessment website (Land Record Viewer) at LRV.Nassaucountyny.gov. Clicking on 2018 general taxes will provide payment amounts. The county’s website will not apply a 1 percent discount to the second half general tax amount for those who pay the full 2018 general tax amount; however, the Hempstead Town Receiver’s Office will be issuing refund checks for these amounts, which are generally nominal.
“We’re dealing with the impact that the new federal tax code is having on local homeowners,” concluded Clavin. “And, we are working hard to ensure that as many eligible taxpayers as possible can take the tax deductions to which they are entitled on their 2017 tax returns.”