By Connor Beach
Nearly 2,000 people lined up in Huntington Town Hall throughout the day Wednesday, from open to close. They had the same thing in mind: taxes.
By 12 noon, the line of Huntington property owners waiting to pay their local property taxes snaked through three hallways and out the door.
The line out the door lasted all day, and many taxpayers waited over an hour and a half.
Recently-appointed Huntington Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman-Abadom said the frenzy was abnormally large, even for what usually is a busy time of year.
“We had in excess of 1,900 people come through to pay their taxes today, plus about 2,000 pieces of mail” to go through, Guthman-Abadom said. She added that a typically very-heavy day would see around 700 people come through the office.
The deadline to pay first-half property taxes in the Town of Huntington is Jan. 10, 2018; second-half taxes are due by the end of May 2018. However, starting in 2018 state and local tax deductions will be capped at $10,000 after President Donald Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill into law on Friday that includes the provision capping deductions.
Fifty-seven percent of Huntington residents pay property taxes that are above the new $10,000 cap on deductions, according to Huntington town spokesman A.J. Carter.
Guthman-Abadom said she thought that the extremely long lines were due, in part, to people trying to prepay their taxes before the $10,000 cap on state and local deductions kicks in.
“People are anticipating the impact on their taxes and trying to mitigate it; they are responding to the legislative change,” Guthman-Abadom said.
At the federal level, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Huntington), who voted against the tax bill, urged the IRS to confirm whether or not taxpayers would be eligible to deduct the prepayment of their 2018 property taxes when filing 2017 federal taxes.
IRS officials issued a statement Wednesday evening stating that taxpayers can deduct prepayment of their 2018 property taxes as long as the payment is made in 2017 and property taxes are assessed prior to 2018.
Whether that applies to Huntington taxpayers was not immediately clear at deadline.