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Property assessment delays may affect 2017 income taxes



FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County residents who want to use their property taxes as a deduction on their 2017 income taxes will need to pay early this year or risk losing out.

Homeowners were thrown for a loop earlier this year when the Fulton County Assessor’s Office sent out revised notices in the spring. The new assessments, mostly higher, set off waves of protests after some property owners saw their home values climb by over 50 percent.

In an attempt to calm the furor, the Fulton County Commission rescinded the appraisals and set property values back to their 2016 levels.

Because of the turmoil, the county sent out tax bills later than usual. The delay has in turn pushed the payment deadline to Jan. 15, 2018. While the change in deadline may give some breathing room for taxpayers, later payments can affect residents’ income taxes.

“Real estate tax bills are not due until January, and mortgage companies are not legally obligated to make escrow disbursements before the due date,” said Lisa Shippel, managing attorney at Lisa Shippel Law.

As such, the Office of Fulton County Tax Commissioner is urging property owners who want to claim their property taxes on their 2017 income taxes to pay their bills sooner in order to ensure that they are processed.

“Home owners should not assume they will be able to make a mortgage interest deduction on their 2017 personal taxes,” Shippel said. “They should call their mortgage holder and find out when they plan to make disbursements and request that they be paid before the end of the year.

“If your bill is not being paid by the end of the year by your mortgage holder, a homeowner may want to ensure they can claim the mortgage interest deduction by double paying the bill,” Shippel added. “A CPA should be able to tell you if that makes sense for your situation, but at the end of the year around holiday season, a lot of people can’t afford to do this.”

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