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Thousands prepaid their property taxes. Then came the refunds.

The rush to prepay estimated property taxes at the end of last year led to a flood of cash for municipalities, but also some headaches.

Staff in Amherst and Clarence had to issue hundreds of refunds weeks later after precise tax debts were calculated.

Local towns and villages took in millions of dollars in advance payments in late December, as several thousand taxpayers prepaid their 2018 state and local taxes with the hope of benefiting from 2017 tax rules.

The federal tax reforms passed late last year and signed by President Trump capped the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000, effective with the 2018 tax year. In New York state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo authorized counties and municipalities across the state to issue tax warrants early and directed them to accept payments in December, which normally would not be allowed.

Here's a look at how a sampling of area towns were affected, according to municipal town clerks.

Town  No. of prepayments Total amount prepaid No. of refunds Amount refunded
Amherst 2,127 $4.7 million 900 $650,000
Cheektowaga 332 $960,756 45 $7,614
Clarence 905  $3.2 million 759 $75,000
Hamburg 554  $1.67 million 25 $8,204
Lancaster 616  $1,78 million 55 $15,701
Town of Tonawanda 463 $1.05 million  0 $0
West Seneca 744 $1.67 million  12 $13,469


Thousands prepaid taxes in WNY, but will they claim deductions?

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