UPDATE charitable tax deduction status report…
The executive officers of Westchester Municipal Officials Association met with Westchester officials last week to discuss the new state law authorizing the county, school districts, towns and villages to accept charitable contributions for county taxes. I received the following from Nancy Seligson, Supervisor of the town of Mamaroneck and President of the Municipal Officials Association. She has no objection to me sharing this info with residents.
The County is working with a software company to create an online platform that would allow residents to make contributions for County taxes online. The County will administer the receipt of their charitable donations. They are also looking into making the system open to municipalities. The residents would then receive a voucher to be presented to municipal tax collectors. The County tax payers would receive a signed voucher electronically which must be presented in person to the local Town or City tax collector. The taxpayer would present the signed voucher confirming the donation for the credit and at that time would pay the balance due on County taxes.
Importantly, the County will sign the voucher and attest that no goods and services were provided for the contributions. The municipalities will not have to sign the County tax voucher.
The County will discuss and consider reimbursing the municipalities for the service of collecting the vouchers and processing the tax credit. They also said the law requires that the town accept the charitable trust money in place of taxes when the town is presented with a voucher, and that does not require any local legislation. The County plans to meet with municipal tax collectors and invited a representative from the Westchester Municipal Officials Association to participate.
The County said they would require all charitable donations be made by April 15th. The idea was to be able to beat the escrows to the punch so that the municipalities would refund the escrow payment since that is usually issued at the end of the month. According to what they cited as tax law, the last payment received would normally be the one refunded.
They are also going to reach out to the School Superintendents and School Business Officials.
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There are three tax collection periods—September and January for school districts. And, April for the town and county. I have written to all the school districts in the town of Greenburgh asking if they want the town to implement this initiative in time for the September school tax collection period. None of the school districts within the town have –as of today- passed resolutions authorizing the acceptance of charitable deductions. Many of the school districts in Westchester have been advised by their legal counsel to not move forward unless clear guidance is promulgated by the IRS. The town cannot implement this initiative (as per the school collection) without a resolution in support from the School Boards. If a school district within the town would like the town to accept the charitable donations the Town Board will have to introduce a local law, hold a public hearing and adopt the legislation—which takes over a month so they will have to act quickly ---in time for the September tax collection.
I will continue to keep residents informed.