With the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, many residents are inquiring about making prepayments for their 2018 property taxes during calendar year 2017 in order to increase their 2017 federal income tax deductions.
In Georgia, Tax Commissioners are prohibited from accepting property tax payments without an order to bill and collect issued by the State Revenue Commissioner. Per O.C.G.A. § 48-5-135, if taxes are collected prior to receiving an order to collect the Tax Commissioner is subject to fines and penalties assessed by the State.
Historically our Office receives the billing order in late July / early August, after all returns have been processed, valuations established, millage rates adopted, and the Tax Digest has been reviewed and approved by the Georgia Department of Revenue. Until such time we cannot legally collect any payment of property tax for the given year.
Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service has announced in order for property tax payments made during calendar year 2017 to be deductible, the taxes must have been assessed during 2017 (or prior). As 2018 taxes will not be levied and assessed until 2018, any prepayment made during 2017 would therefore not be allowed as a deduction on a 2017 tax return.