Residents tried to, but couldn’t, prepay local taxes

With limited state and local tax deductions in the recently enacted GOP tax bill, financial advisers suggested people in high-tax states like Connecticut try to prepay their 2018 local taxes before the end of 2017 in order to claim the deductions on their 2017 returns.

In Wilton, “it wasn’t a matter of how many people tried” to prepay their 2018 local taxes, said Wilton tax collector Phil Damato — ”it was, more or less, how many people asked if they could.”

“They knew that they could pay their January installment,” said Damato, “but just about everybody asked if they could pay more than that, which they could not.”

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing taxpayers in some jurisdictions to pay their full property tax bills early. Connecticut residents, however, were not able to do the same.

“New York has a less uniform system of property taxes overall, and various starting dates for fiscal years in different types of jurisdictions,” Office of Policy Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes explained in a Dec. 27 letter to Connecticut municipalities.

“Since Connecticut has a uniform July-June fiscal year, all communities have laid a tax for the year that ends June 30, 2018, but none have done so for the following year which begins in more than six months.”

For this reason, Barnes wrote, not only would New York’s approach “not be practical in Connecticut,” but it would also be “limited by the specific statutory requirements placed on local tax collection in Chapter 204 of the Connecticut General Statutes.”