The final Allegheny County, Pennsylvania assessment appeal numbers are at last being reported by the Office of Property Assessments. More than 68,000 informal appeals were filed by property owners. All of these informal appeals were heard by hearing officers as of June 1, 2012. Though these informal hearings began back in January, almost half of the informal hearings have yet to yield an official decision. Property owners who filed informal appeals must wait for their informal decisions before proceeding with the formal appeals process.
Additionally, over 100,000 formal appeals were filed by both commercial and residential property owners in Allegheny County. Officials anticipate the withdrawal of many formal appeals in cases where the property owner is satisfied with a reduction obtained through the informal appeals process. Only about 20% of these formal appeals have been heard to date, but David Montgomery (the solicitor of the Board of Property Assessments Appeals and Review) stated that the scheduling and hearing of formal appeals will be increased dramatically beginning July 1, 2012. Furthermore, it was announced that the BPAAR would be hiring ten additional staffers on a temporary basis to help with the hearing of appeals and that the County has renovated the basement of the County Office Building to add hearing rooms.
Property owners who filed 2013 formal appeals should expect their appeal hearings to be scheduled between July 1, 2012 and December 1, 2012 if they have not been scheduled already.
Judge Wettick, who has been overseeing the reassessment process, has issued a December 17, 2012 deadline for resolving all of the 2013 appeals. In a recent status conference between The Office of Property Assessments and school solicitors, the county has indicated that they will be able to comply with Judge Wettick’s December 17, 2012 deadline; however, that remains to be seen. Initially the implementation of these reassessment values was delayed until 2013 so that the appeals could be heard and decisions as to the correct value of properties could be rendered before the reassessment values were actually used for taxation purposes. This would allow taxing entities the opportunity to accurately set their budgets for the upcoming tax year based on the correct assessment values.
In further Pennsylvania state assessment news, the bill proposed earlier this term to eliminate school property taxes (the “Property Tax Independence Act”, House Bill 1776) has been tabled in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after the House Finance Committee failed to take action on the bill. This bill proposed the elimination of property taxes, and instead suggested that the state obtain this revenue through an increased sales tax and an increased personal income tax. In total, $10 billion in revenue would be lost statewide if property taxes were eliminated. Legislators commented that they were concerned about applying sales tax to items such as food and clothing, two categories of goods that have historically been tax exempt in Pennsylvania. Since this bill is officially considered tabled, many members of the House view this as the death of this bill.
We will continue to attempt to update our clients and readers about continuing legislation and/or changes concerning the assessment process.
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If you have any questions about Allegheny County property assessments or real estate in Pennsylvania, please feel free to call attorneys Nicole Hauptman or Noah Paul Fardo for help at (412) 802.6666 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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