New tax laws have Bay Area property owners questioning installment payments

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The quandary facing many Bay Area homeowners is whether or not to prepay the second installment of their 2017-18 property taxes with the new tax reform bill awaiting the President's signature.

Normally, homeowners pay half the property taxes by December 10 and the other half by April 10.

Whether to prepay is not a simple decision due to an increase in the standard deduction and a provision that limits itemized deduction of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes to $10,000.

Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone says calls have been coming into his office about prepayment of the second installment, and he advises callers to talk to their tax preparer or accountant.

The county, of course, benefits from property owners paying their taxes almost nearly three and a half months before they're due. We're seeking to find out how much money that represents if only five-percent of homeowners were to pre-pay.

Stone says what is clear to him is not being able to prepay homeowner property taxes for the next tax year (the first installment that would be due by Dec. 10, 2018) in that the tax bills have not gone out yet.

Prepayment is not likely possible for homeowners whose property taxes are collected and paid by a mortgage servicer through an impound account.

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