Currently, the Allegheny County assessment of property appeals process requires property owners to attend first level hearings in person downtown at the County Office Building. At these hearings, property owners (or their representative) are permitted to make their case. This often includes testimony about the specifics of the property, appraisals, and/or research about comparable sales in the area.
Though there are many benefits of these in-person hearings, they can be inconvenient for some. Specifically, older residents are dissuaded from pursuing an Allegheny County assessment appeal because making a trip downtown is difficult. This can also create problems for those who do not work near downtown or cannot take time off from work to attend a hearing.
This proposed legislation would allow property owners to merely send in independent appraisals for their properties en lieu of an Allegheny County assessment appeal hearing. A state-certified appraiser would then review the information.
At this point, it is unclear if this legislation will be passed. It does, however, highlight the extreme frustration that many property owners have voiced in Allegheny County over the past few years.
The Board of Viewers Filing Fee Increases
When a property owner receives a first level decision for their Allegheny County assessment appeal, they have thirty days to appeal it. If the property owner does decide to appeal, their case will be docketed at the Board of Viewers. The Board of Viewers is a division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.
In filing this appeal, the property owner (or their representative) files the appropriate paperwork with the Department of Court Records. In 2013, the filing fee for this type of appeal was $103. Beginning in 2014, the filing fee has increased to $118.50. Property owners must pay this filing fee, and will not be refunded even if their appeal is successful.
The filing of this second level Allegheny County assessment appeal is often necessary in appeal cases. This is likely another aspect of the appeals process that will continue to frustrate property owners moving forward.
If you have any additional questions about property assessments in Allegheny County, or any other county in Pennsylvania, or you would like a free consultation for your tax appeal case, please feel free to contact us.