OSWEGO — The county of Oswego recently announced 2018 property tax warrants have been prepared early and made available to local tax collectors, allowing taxpayers to pay 2018 property tax bills this year in a move that could help some take advantage of federal income tax deductions. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last week authorizing localities to issue warrants for the early collection of 2018 property tax payments, saying the measure would help protect property owners in New York from what he called “the devastating impact” of recently passed federal tax legislation. 

Oswego County issued tax warrants Tuesday in response to Cuomo’s order, allowing participating municipalities to accept early property tax payments. Individuals should check with their local tax collector to see if they are allowing early payments, as different taxing jurisdictions may have different policies in place. 

Under the new federal legislation, individual deductions for state and local taxes are limited to $10,000 beginning in 2018. The $10,000 applies to the combined total of an individual’s state and local income and property taxes.

The federal tax law prohibits people from paying state and local income taxes early, but it does not bar people from making early property tax payments. Each individual is unique, but reports suggest some individuals could save money by paying 2018 property taxes in 2017 before the $10,000 cap is in effect.   

Mayor Billy Barlow said the city of Oswego is planning to accept early tax payments. City offices were closed Wednesday due to inclement weather, but Barlow said officials should be ready to accept 2018 property tax payments as early as today. 

Fulton is also accepting early payments, according to the clerk-chamberlain’s office. 

County Treasurer Fred Beardsley said it’s up to each town tax collector whether or not he or she wants to participate and accept early payments. 

“We felt in Oswego (County) that whoever wanted to take that option should have the ability to do so,” Beardsley said, noting that the handful of local tax collectors he’s spoken with all plan to accommodate people wishing to pay early. 

Accepting early payments would have no financial impact on the county, Beardsley said, and though the county had to move fast to get them to local tax collectors the measure did not involve too much additional work on the county’s end. He said tax warrants would normally be dated Jan. 1, and issuing them Tuesday was only a few days earlier than usual. 

Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner, R-New Haven, who was elected county treasurer in November and will begin that term in January, said individuals would have to determine on their own the ramifications of paying early, but county officials wanted to ensure constituents would have the choice to make that decision. 

“It’s an option if the taxpayers want it,” Gardner said. “It doesn’t hurt us either way.”

Everyone supported the measure from a political standpoint, Gardner said, noting it simply gives taxpayers a choice without forcing anything upon anyone. 

The county does not accept direct tax payments until spring when the bills have become delinquent, according to a county press release, and property tax payments should be made to local municipal tax collectors. 

County officials also urged property owners considering early payment to consult with their tax preparer. 

Anyone seeking to pay 2018 property taxes early should contact their local tax collector. Contact information for each municipality in the county can be found at http://oswegocounty.com/rpts/towntax.html

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