With the new federal tax laws kicking in next year capping deductions of state and local taxes, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg is urging Gov. Rick Scott to follow New York’s lead and open a loophole allowing Floridians to prepay 2018 property taxes now, before 2017 ends.

“It is this office’s recommendation that you issue an executive order temporarily suspending that portion of Florida statute section 197.122 requiring the prepayment of taxes only when the tax roll is open, and allowing early prepayment through the end of 2017, for taxes owed in 2018,” Greenberg declared in a letter he sent to Scott Wednesday. “An executive order like this would have the benefit of encouraging early payment of the property tax bills, thus ensuring taxes are paid, and further allowing 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.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo already has done something similar, Greenberg pointed out, allowing New York taxpayers to make partial payments of property taxes until the end of the year.

“In this way, the citizens of New York could deduct part, or the full amount, of their payment from their federal taxes before the new tax bill goes into effect,” Greenberg suggested. “It is my recommendation Florida do the same, and allow its residents to reap the benefits of the existing tax law, and prepay their property taxes for 2018.”

The loophole, if it is opened in Florida, would only apply to those who expect to owe more than $10,000 in state and local taxes in 2018, as that is the cap the new tax reform law puts in place for deductions of state and local taxes.

There wouldn’t be much time, as 2017 ends Sunday.

“Realizing the late date presents challenges to implementing a new program, I believe that if this is logistically possible, you could bolster early payment of taxes and lessen the burden on the citizens of this great state,” Greenberg wrote.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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