Property taxes as charitable deductions? Mnuchin says: Nope

States have looked for ways to soften blow of changes

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (Credit: Getty Images)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (Credit: Getty Images)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin isn’t having any of this claim-property-taxes-as-charitable-deductions business.

To curb the impacts of the new tax law, some states have floated the idea of allowing residents to replace their state and local taxes with deductible charitable contributions. But Mnuchin called the idea “ridiculous.”

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“From a Treasury standpoint and IRS, I don’t want to speculate on what people will do, but I think it’s one of the more ridiculous comments to think you can take a real estate tax that you are required to make and dress that up as a charitable contribution,” Mnuchin told reporters on Thursday. “I hope that the states are more focused on cutting their budgets and giving tax cuts to their people in their states than they are in trying to evade the law.”

The new law caps the amount of state and local taxes, known as SALT, that homeowners can deduct from their federal tax bills. As a result, leaders of states hit hardest by the change — including New York, New Jersey and California — have looked for ways to soften the blow. For example, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing residents to prepay their 2018 property taxes as a way to avoid the new $10,000 cap on deductions. [Politico]Kathryn Brenzel

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