The 2012 Reassessments are coming. Allegheny County has announced that the first set of reassessment mailings will be sent December 19, 2011 to all City of Pittsburgh commercial and residential property owners. The court ordered that the County release the City of Pittsburgh 2012 reassessments before January 1, 2012, in order to allow the City and School District time to set their millage rates for 2012.

The reason that the courts have given special attention to reassessments in the City is that the City of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Public Schools, operate on a calendar year basis. Most other school districts and municipalities operate under a June-to-June fiscal year or something similar. City of Pittsburgh assessments are being handled first because their budgetary year starts first. There is still an expected delay for the rest of the County, but eventually certified reassessments will be sent to every property owner in Allegheny County.

The deadline for appealing the reassessments for the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Public Schools has not been set (as of December 7, 2011). In years past, the deadline has been consistently set at March 31 of the calendar year in question. There has been speculation that the appeal deadlines will be shorter in 2012 than in prior years; thus it is crucial that property owners in Allegheny County pay special attention to any notices received from the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessment. We will also attempt to keep our clients updated of any changes to the appeal deadline.

In additional news, the County of Allegheny has approved an 18% increase in the county millage rate from 4.69 mills to 5.69 mills. This means that property owners who are assessed at $100,000 will owe $569.00 in county property taxes as opposed to $469.00. Meanwhile, county taxes on a $500K property will increase from $2,345.00 to $2.845.00. Some had hoped that, with the assessed value set to increase in 2012, millage rates would be reduced to offset the increased tax burden. Instead, most property owners are facing a double whammy—their assessed values are going to go up, then the percentage of that value they pay in county taxes will go up even further.

Many clients will ask about the alleged 5% cap on increased revenue from a reassessment. Such statements are misleading. What the law states is that taxing entities should not receive more than a 5% increase in total revenue. Most taxing entities are getting around this rule by simply stating that they are expecting loses in other areas (such as less delinquent tax collection) and thus that total revenues are not increasing by more than 5%, even if revenue from property taxes clearly is. As a practical matter, we suspect that most taxing entities will raise millage rates for fear of appeal by property owners. Again, we will attempt to keep our clients updated of any developments.

If you have additional questions about the 2012 Reassessment in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, please contact attorneys Noah Paul Fardo or Shawn T. Flaherty at 412.802.6666.

Read more about Allegheny County property assessment appeals.

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