SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Tens of thousands of San Diego County families have done what was once unthinkable - pay off their property taxes months early.
It's so they can maximize their tax refund before the opportunity goes away with tax reform kicking in Jan. 1.
The county says about 193,000 households have paid both installments of their property tax - the second not delinquent until April. That's 15,000 more than this time last year.
"This is just to be sure that we get our maximum benefit," said John Baez, who paid his second installment of about $3,000 on Wednesday.
The benefit is writing off every last dollar in property taxes for home ownership, plus state and local income taxes.
But starting next year with recently approved tax reform, Baez and everyone else who itemizes their deductions can only write off up to $10,000 in property, state and local taxes.
It's an amount many San Diegans will exceed as home values continue to rise. "We are going to be paying a lot more in taxes living in California, so i want to get as many deductions as i can in 2017," Baez said.
County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister says this is making what's typically a slow time of year much busier. Staffers who usually calculate and count tax payments are now fielding phone calls and working the front counters.
"If you're going to pay, step up and pay, pay early, get it done, then you avoid mistakes and that's the best way to go," he said.
The county's advising everyone to talk to a tax professional when deciding whether to pay now or later.