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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated any advantage from paying your full property tax bill in December by increasing the Standard Deduction and suspending the Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions. Without the Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions, I will be forced to switch from itemizing to using the Standard Deduction.

Especially for those filing MFJ, it will be more difficult to make it over the standard deduction hurdle. But those filing single or HOH, even with the state and local taxes limited to $10k, itemization may still be advantageous.

As far as property taxes are concerned, I started paying the full amount in December two decades ago. I'll continue doing this out of force of habit and because it is simpler. Besides you only reap the benefit of paying your property taxes in full the year that you switch from paying the property taxes in installments.

Actually, in CA, you could still 'bunch' paying property taxes if it would help to make it over the standard deduction hurdle, like so:

2019: Pay taxes due in April 2019 in April; Pay taxes due in December 2019 and in April 2020 in December - 3 installments paid in 2019
2020: Pay taxes due in December 2019 in December - 1 installment paid in 2020
2021: Pay taxes due in April 2021 in April; Pay taxes due in December 2021 and in April 2022 in December - 3 installments paid in 2021
2022: Pay taxes due in December 2022 in December - 1 installment paid in 2020

When I lived in Texas, it was even easier to 'bunch' the taxes because there was only one installment, due between Nov 1 and Jan 31, so it looked like:

2019: Pay taxes due by January 31, 2019 in January; Pay taxes due by January 31, 2020 in December - 2 years of property taxes paid in 2019
2020: Pay no property taxes
2021: Pay taxes due by January 31, 2021 in January; Pay taxes due by January 31, 2022 in December - 2 years of property taxes paid in 2021
2022: Pay no property taxes

Now that I live in Washington, where the bill comes out after Jan 1, and installments are due in April and October, there isn't any way to 'bunch' property taxes, so this technique isn't useful to me. But it may be useful for some, especially single and HOH filers.

AJ
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