Topic: Property Tax
Now is the time to consider whether it makes sense to file an assessment appeal for the 2011 tax year in an attempt to lower your property taxes. The deadline for the appeal in most Pennsylvania counties is August 1, 2010.
Remember that if you file a tax appeal, there is always a possibility that your assessment could be increased, which would result in your paying more taxes, if you have not done your homework. For example, properties that have recently appreciated significantly in value may be underassessed. In contrast, properties that have decreased in value, or recent construction, may be overassessed.
To determine whether it makes sense to file a tax appeal, I need to know two things: 1) the actual value of your property; and 2) the assessed value of the property (which is typically listed on the tax bill). I then apply the common level ratio (which is established yearly by a Pennsylvania state agency that compares assessed values to actual values) for the county in which the property is located. Unless the property is overassessed, I do not recommend filing an appeal
An appeal of an interim assessment may also make sense. When new improvements are made to a property (whether it is the construction of a new building, an addition or the like), you will typically get an interim assessment for the balance of that tax year; the interim assessment will become your new assessment the following year. The increase in your assessment should be limited to the increased value of your property (multiplied by the common level ratio). It should not additionally reflect any general appreciation in the property. Remember that the time for appealing an interim assessment is very short (40 days); if you miss that deadline, you cannot challenge the interim assessment until the next year, when it is your regular assessment.
Now is the time to take the steps needed to decide whether an appeal of your Pennsylvania real estate taxes for 2011 makes sense.