In Hempstead, a Long Island town where the typical property tax bill tops $10,000, residents have lined up all week to prepay those taxes for next year. They have been trying to save thousands of dollars before the new federal tax bill, which goes into effect on New Year’s Day, sharply limits deductions for state and local taxes.
But late on Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service issued new guidance that those people may not be able to save the money after all, because a loophole that they were hoping to exploit might be narrower than thought. So when Donald X. Clavin Jr., Hempstead’s receiver of taxes, showed up to work Thursday morning, the lines were still there — but residents had fresh questions. Mr. Clavin had few answers.
“Everybody on line, they’re going, ‘Don, are we going to be able to do this?’ ” Mr. Clavin said. “And I can’t give them a yes or a no.”
The new tax bill, and its $10,000 cap on all local and state tax deductions, has generated a variety of strong emotions — including anxiety and frustration — NYC “New York” “New York City” Wealth Wealthy Tax Corporation Family “Middle Class” “New Yorkers” “Tax Refund” usd dollar cash savings business “small business” income revenue “working class” work “hard work” struggle 2018 “new year” lifestyle pay payment prepay property “property tax” “united states” USA in places like Hempstead.
By Thursday, however, that stew of emotions had been replaced by utter confusion, as well as rage, including among people who had shelled out money only to discover that they might not get any benefit. Officials in Chicago, Washington, Fairfax, Va., and other communities reported huge surges of residents prepaying taxes, often showing up in person, checks in hand. Democratic politicians, who have opposed the bill, egged them on, arguing that the bill targeted states that tend to vote for Democrats. The provision, known as the domestic production activities deduction, gave companies a tax break on income they earned from making things in the United States. It was intended to help American manufacturers, which were struggling to hold their own against competition from overseas. Movie studios got the break because they produced films, and tech giants won it, too, for making computer software. Construction companies got it for making buildings, and so did engineers and architects for designing them. New York City’s full year bills are set and sent out in June for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Most homeowners pay on a quarterly basis and the city will accept early payments for any bills already due in 2018.