On July 21, 2011, Allegheny County Manager Jim Flynn testified that Allegheny County will be late, but should be able to issue new preliminary property assessments for 2012 by the end of January and final assessments by April 2012.
This contradicts Flynn’s testimony earlier this month when he announced that the county was seriously behind the court ordered scheduled deadline of January 2012, and was not expected to release final certified property assessments until June 2012. That scenario could have forced school districts and other taxing entities to set millage rates first before being able to consider the new certified assessments.
Currently, the county is planning to extend the 2012 county tax bills (usually due March 31st) until June 30th, in an effort to help property owners with the transition. The City of Pittsburgh, its public schools, and many other taxing entities who also bill on the calendar year are considering the same.
What is the reason for the delay?
As of this month, July 2011, Allegheny County had only completed about 1/3 of the estimated 570,000 commercial and residential properties, and was unable to meet July 2011’s original deadline to release the preliminary assessments. The county stated that the delay was the result of workers being less productive than expected and that they are severely understaffed with qualified workers.
The original county plan was to release the preliminary assessments in 2011. This would have allowed property owners a chance to appeal the 2012 assessments before the final assessments were certified. As it stands currently, Allegheny County will be fortunate to even complete the assessments prior to the tax bills being due.
What does it mean for property owners?
For now, nothing.
Expect new preliminary assessments in January 2012, and final certified assessments by April 2012. It is expected that there will be an informal appeals process between January and April, but it may prove impossible to complete all of the reviews during that short period of time.
Should you be doing anything proactive now?
Yes. If you are seriously concerned about a property tax increase being applied while you fight the reassessment, review your property data online at the Allegheny County Real Estate Website. Verify that the property data is correct. If there are inaccuracies against you, it may be advantageous to report them now and have them fixed sooner rather than later.
To thoroughly verify all of your property data, you need to request a Property Record Card from the county. It lists substantially more data about your property than the Allegheny County Real Estate Website. Property Record Cards can purchased for $1.00 on the third floor of the Allegheny County Office Building.
Be cautious about reporting all data errors. You are not legally obligated to correct errors that are in your favor (i.e. if you have 3 bathrooms and the county data lists only 1, you are not legally obligated to correct it). However, if you try to correct only certain information, a county assessor will most likely ask for entry into your property, and has a stronger basis for obtaining it. You are not legally obligated to let anyone into or on your property, absent a court order or a subpoena. However, if you request data correction you should be prepared to allow entry, unless those errors are visible from the outside.
If you review all of your information and are unsure whether you should report something or not, you can call us and we will help you.
Read more about Allegheny County property assessment appeals.
This article is written for entertainment purposes only. It should not be relied upon for legal advice, and in no way does this article create an attorney/client relationship. We only represent individual(s) once there is a signed representation and fee agreement in place. Please read full legal Disclaimer.