Counties expect to refund property tax prepayments made as a result of new Trump tax plan

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after signing the tax bill and continuing resolution to fund the government, in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, in Washington.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Treasurer Wayne Cushing said Thursday his office may end up returning some $3 million in property tax prepayments collected from residents hoping for a break under a new federal tax plan.

That’s because the IRS issued an advisory late Wednesday spelling out that property taxes that haven’t been assessed before the end of the year can’t be deducted on next year’s tax returns.

“This is normally a slower time of the year, but it’s been quite busy,” Cushing said, with taxpayers lining up to prepay property taxes that aren’t assessed until next year and not due until Nov. 30, 2018.

He said his office had accepted $3 million in prepayments on nearly 800 parcels when the advisory came out, money that can be refunded to taxpayers who ask, although that process could take a week or two.

Now, Cushing said, the treasurer’s office has posted signs and recorded a telephone message that “basically says, ‘Pay at your own risk,’” even though prepayments are still being accepted.

It’s a situation being played out around the state and around the country because the income tax changes backed by President Donald Trump and passed by Congress just before Christmas cap state and local tax deductions at $10,000.

Those changes apply to taxes filed in 2019, for income earned next year, so people worried about exceeding the cap have been looking for ways to take deductions on this year’s income.

In Utah, it was…

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