Phones ring off the hook for Charleston County about early tax payments

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With five days left in 2017, tax payers flooded Charleston County offices with phone calls inquiring about making early property tax payments before the new federal tax law begins next year.

“We see a crush at this time of year anyway,” Charleston County Treasurer Mary Tinkler says.” I think that it may have a few more people coming our way so they can get that deduction, so at this point we will have lines out the door and we are certainly ready to handle them.”

This comes after President Trump signed a new tax reform bill last week. The new bill will set a $10,000 cap for the amount of sales, income, and property taxes that can be deducted. This news has made some Charleston residents upset.

“I am very upset because I feel as though we pay enough taxes as it is,” Nathaniel Wright said.

Wednesday morning, Tinkler sent out an email to Governor McMaster requesting an emergency executive order. The order would allow county treasurers to collect full and partial pre-payments for 2018 property taxes.

Under the state constitution, only the state legislation has the power to suspend laws, ultimately, being out of Governor McMaster’s control.

“The bill was set into law so late in the game that we had very little time to prepare and put in place any measures that would be able to help taxpayers,” Tinkler said.

With a combination of two weeks left in the year and the holiday season, there wasn’t enough time. At this point, Tinkler says it’s best for residents to pay their 2017 property taxes before Friday, December 29.

The bill could help taxpayers if they itemize instead of taking the standard deduction. It is unclear whether the pre-payments will pay off. The new tax reform will take place in January 2018.

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