St. Lawrence County towns collect taxes amid confusion


St. Lawrence County towns collect taxes amid confusion

CANTON — Towns around St. Lawrence County collected property taxes Friday following an executive order by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.The executive order followed the signing of the $1.5 trillion tax reform bill by President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 22. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, and limits residents to a $10,000 deduction on their federal taxes for payment of state or local taxes on sales, income or property.Gov. Cuomo’s executive order directed local officials to issue warrants for taxes by Dec. 28, allowing residents to prepay their property taxes before the law takes effect and deduct all of their local taxes from their federal tax bill, even if they have more than $10,000 in taxes owed.A number of local residents prepaid their taxes whether or not they owe more than the $10,000 cap.“Some are taking advantage of the deduction; others are confused,” said Taya Pryce, receiver of taxes in Massena. The Massena Town Council met Tuesday to approve the collection of taxes until 4 p.m. Friday; as of 3 p.m., about 75 people had paid, according to Ms. Pryce.Other towns saw even more activity. Potsdam had about 100 residents pay before noon, either in person or with mailed-in or dropped-off payments, and Canton had about 100 residents pay by 3:30 p.m.“I think people are just unsure,” Potsdam Town Clerk Cindy J. Goliber said. “There’s so much uncertainty.” Because the executive order was issued so recently, tax warrants had to be rushed through so clerks could collect the taxes. The city of Ogdensburg will not have a warrant ready until spring, so residents who wanted to prepay could not, while the towns scrambled to have everything ready.“People were asking should I do it or shouldn’t I, and it’s so new I don’t know,” Canton Town Clerk Lisa A. Hammond said. “A lot of people called their accountants, and their accountants are saying they should pay.”According to Mrs. Hammond, residents have not even received their property tax bill in the mail from the county Real Property Office.“I’m printing off their bill,” she said.Despite the confusion, or perhaps because of it, all three towns saw a steady stream of residents coming in to pay their taxes Friday.“It was a rush, but we were able to do it,” Ms. Pryce said. “But, not sure how many people it’s going to help.”Residents wanting to prepay their taxes before the Jan. 1 deadline could write checks and mail them if they were postmarked on Dec. 30.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
St. Lawrence County towns collect taxes amid confusion

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