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Tax expert: Montana home owners could save by pre-paying mortgages

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BILLINGS - A majority of Montana residents will get a break with the new tax law, but homeowners could add more savings by taking action in the next few days. 

One big change ahead is a cap of $10,000 on deductions for real estate taxes and mortgage payments and that's why experts say it might make sense to pay real estate taxes early. 

"Montana, we pay real estate taxes in years and so that payment is actually paying for 2017 taxes. And [the] federal government has said in the new law that would be allowed to be deductible in 2017 -- if we pay it early," said Dan Miller, a certified public accountant with Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co. CPA in Billings.

The new law has caused rushes to county tax offices in other parts of the country, particularly in places like New York where state and local taxes are higher. In some cases, homeowners are reportedly pre-paying without knowing for sure if they'll get the tax break.

Miller said taxpayers should also consider increasing charitable contributions before Jan. 1.

Of all of the Montana households that file federal tax returns, more than 75% are expected to receive an income tax cut of at least $50 a year.

Miller said most people will begin to see more money in their pocket come February when new tax tables take effect. That will change the amount of money deducted each pay period.

One of the biggest changes is the increased standard deduction, which almost doubles the current amount.  That means next year, fewer people will itemize deductions, Miller said.

RELATED: What the federal tax bill means for Montana

RELATED: So, you got a tax cut. Now what?

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