The ‘base year’ means that all properties should be assessed at what they were valued as of January 1, 2002. This can only be determined through either a sales comparison approach; a cost approach; and/or and income/expense approach.
This could change if there has been permits, appeals, corrections, or catastrophic loss. In short, similar homes should be assessed the same. However, everyone knows the assessment system is not perfect. Often, a recent home buyer is punished over those property owners who have not changed ownership for many years.
Even more complex, is what if the property is or has depreciated in value? If you bought your home in 2002, can you argue that the value has gone down? That’s exactly what the school districts do when somebody pays more than the assessment. The assessment system in Allegheny County is far from perfect, and in fact, it’s often grossly unfair. The answer is to abolish or significantly reduce overall property taxes; until then allow us to fight your appeals for you.