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Milwaukee Mayor Barrett urges homeowners to pay 2017 property taxes now

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin homeowners are being urged to consider paying their property taxes this week if they plan to itemize their 2017 federal tax form. 

The new federal tax law says starting in 2018 the amount of state and local taxes combined that can be deducted on your federal form will be capped at $10,000.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says if you plan to itemize, it may be wise to pay your 2017 property tax bill by this Friday or Saturday, and not extend payments into next year. Barrett says that'll help stay under the new deduction limit.  

"Intuitively, I think it makes a lot of sense if you are planning on itemizing when you file your taxes after the new year, that you want to make sure these taxes are going to be deductible for this year," Barrett told news reporters Wednesday.

Barrett also said next year a much higher standard deduction kicks in, and he predicts far fewer people will itemize in early 2019.

At his Milwaukee City Hall news conference, Barrett also said it's too bad that Wisconsin law doesn't allow you to pre-pay your 2018 property taxes this year.

In reaction to the federal tax overhaul, some states are allowing people to pay their 2018 property taxes this year, when there are no deduction limits.

"It is unfortunate that the state of Wisconsin has not taken action like was taken in New York and other places, that allow individuals to, in essence, get the benefit of that 2018 tax deduction in 2017," Barrett said.

City of Madison Treasurer Dave Gawenda told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Congress passed the federal tax package so late in the year that state lawmakers didn't have time to adjust Wisconsin law. Gawenda also said the treasurers would have needed more time create another pre-payment system.

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