The Allegheny County property assessment system is in complete chaos. Many experts believe it is one of the most unfair property tax systems in the country.
Allegheny County, PA has not had a reassessment since 2012, and recent homebuyers are being appealed at record numbers. More than 10,000 appeals this year.
People need to understand how to defend against the chaos, and keep their property taxes low. The current system is unfair because it discriminates against both recent homebuyers and the poorest neighborhoods.
In this episode, Widely Recognized as one of the premiere tax appeal attorneys in Allegheny County (and Buffalo Bills season ticket holder) Attorney Nicole Amick is our featured guest and joins us to help explain the property tax appeal process and why a much-loathed reassessment may actually be the best, fairest (still bad) option in Allegheny County.
If you want to help defend yourself against unfair tax appeals, while also understanding the flaws in the current assessment system, and ways in which they can be fixed, this is a must-hear episode.
The system is ‘Out of Order’ Counselor, and our panel experts explain what needs to be done to fix it.
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Please rise. Court is now in session.
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I strenuously object. A legal podcast brought to you by the Pittsburgh law from a Flaherty Fardo
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is now in session.
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All those seeking information about the law and legal matters affecting the people of Pittsburgh
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and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, half-baked opinions and a dose of self-indulgence
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are invited to attend and participate.
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I want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
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I object, your honor.
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Your honor, I object.
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Listen, we don't know you. We don't know who you are. We don't know what you do.
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So please do not rely on anything we say as legal advice.
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I'm Noah Fardo, presiding. My wingman, attorney Bill Rugell.
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And all we're trying to do is bring a little irreverence.
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Well, let's start the insanity.
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Call the first witness.
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What I strenuously object today to is the entire system concerning Allegheny County
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property tax appeals. It's a train wreck. It's a disaster.
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Hold on, Noah. Hold on one second. Before we get into the nuts and bolts here,
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who are you and what are we doing? What is this?
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Don't tell me what I know and don't know. I know the law.
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Sorry, I was dying to use that one.
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But well, do I know tax appeals? Yes, I've helped more than 10,000 property owners
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save tens of millions of dollars over the last 20 plus years.
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So this is a topic that I feel uniquely qualified to share my opinions.
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Are you OK with that?
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No. What I'm trying to figure out is more broadly speaking,
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there are lots of attorneys. Why are you doing a podcast?
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I like to help people, Bill.
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I like to help people. It's the only reason we're here.
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So it's a desperate effort to make sure that your opinions get shared with the world before
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you're underground. Yeah, I want to leave something.
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I like the idea, I think philosophically of my voice living on whether it annoys people
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or helps people, which I'm not sure yet.
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There's a pretty good chance it does both of these things.
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It has a distinct possibility of doing both.
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Mike, the podcast producer here, how about you guys actually get to doing the show?
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There you go.
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Patting each other on the back.
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Yeah, I know. Right. What a love fest.
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Allegheny County property taxes are some of the highest in the country.
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Thirteen thousand people appealed this year.
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Hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased property taxes.
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And I object.
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I mean, I don't necessarily agree that we shouldn't tax people, period.
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But the system is obviously a mess, right?
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Well, our goal today, listen, all these taxes being raised, our goal is simple.
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It's to help these people help explain how they can lower their property taxes.
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And between you, I and our partner, Nicole, we got 45 years
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of handling property tax appeals. That's a lot of time.
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No qualified greed disagree.
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I honestly object. I do not object to the statement regarding our own qualifications
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when it comes to property tax appeals, unless there's some 90 year old lawyer out there
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who did a bunch of tax appeals back in the 70s that I don't know about.
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I cannot imagine there is anybody who has been representing more Allegheny County property
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owners in tax appeals over the last 20 years. It's just not possible.
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Hey, now, this is a pilot, William, right? This is a pilot.
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Now, just to jump off track, and I do want to lower people's property taxes, but
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rate the Seinfeld pilot for me.
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It's a six out of 10.
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It's a six out of 10. It worked. It will. It got carried.
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All right. No relation between Seinfeld and property taxes, but
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we will keep track of who can reference Seinfeld more and keep score, perhaps.
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I'm fine with that.
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There's a couple of things going on that are big news in tax appeals that people need to know
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right out of the gate, right? The tax appeal deadline is over. March 31st was the last day
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to file appeal. The school district files 13,000 appeals and people are getting letters in the mail,
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including myself. I got one as well that we're going to have a hearing and we're going to raise
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your property taxes. Let's talk about property taxes first in general.
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Do you know the history? Did you research the history for today?
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I did not.
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Ah, I did. I did. And there is no state in the union that does not collect property taxes.
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And the property taxes actually started in old England in 1500. The US started in the late 1780s.
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So it was almost immediate. But going back to what I said before, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania,
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Pittsburgh pays twice as much in property taxes as cities like Atlanta, New Jersey,
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California. And everybody says, well, how can that be? I mean, that doesn't make any sense.
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It's because of how we do our tax system. Those states increase the sales tax and they increase
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the income tax. We fund all of the education just through the property tax. And a half million
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dollar house in Allegheny County pays $15,000 a year in property taxes, right? I mean, half a
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million isn't that much anymore. $15,000. In New Jersey, they pay about half of that, $7,500.
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So I want to talk a little bit first about how the system is flawed, why it is flawed,
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and hear your thoughts on that.
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Well, so one of the things to note is a lot of states have what they call a uniformity
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clause in their respective state constitutions or laws, right? That requires that taxation
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throughout the state be uniform. Pennsylvania is relatively unique in that historically,
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our Supreme Court has read that uniformity clause as to require that all taxation be flat.
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We do not have a progressive income tax. The way that, you know, when you pay your federal taxes,
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you have different tax brackets that pay different percentages. That doesn't exist
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in Pennsylvania income tax, which makes it harder for the state of Pennsylvania to raise the funds
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it needs to operate by virtue of an income tax. Because you can only charge so much for a flat tax
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before the people at the lower end of the income spectrum find that a burden they can't possibly
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All right. So what you're saying is because we have the flat tax on income, we're not a,
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we have to fund it through the property tax. Okay, that's fine. But if we're going to do
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this system, the word you said was uniform. And that's the big issue in the law. And that's what
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people are writing articles and talking in news about is you have to have uniformity in property
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taxation. And all that means is two houses that are neighbors that look identical should pay the
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same amount in property taxes. Agreed?
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Agreed. And that's, it's interesting because the same uniformity clause that has tied our hands,
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and, you know, I don't know how to weigh it out, you know, good, bad, indifferent,
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but that same uniformity clause applies to property tax appeals.
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What was it? About 20 years ago now, Pennsylvania or Allegheny County had its system at the time
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thrown out on uniformity provisions that the entire county, by not doing reassessment, the property
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tax burdens across people in the county were found by the court to be so non-uniform that the court
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ordered a reassessment for the whole county.
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So it's an interesting concept on how we got here, right? And if you look at the 30 year history of
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property tax assessments in Allegheny County specifically, right? Even before I started
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practicing in the mid nineties, is when it happened that the commissioners of Allegheny County,
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but before we had a county executive, had the same issue. I mean, you had, people have been
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screaming about unfair property assessments for 30 years, and then it went through the courts.
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And in 2002, they said, okay, we're going to reassess. We're going to have an extra
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come in and we're going to look at the value of these 580,000 properties.
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I was a young kid at the time, Bill. It was so out of whack. I mean, it was like the wild west
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back in 2002. So 2000, 1999, it's chaos. 2002, they do this reassessment. They say, okay, every
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here's how we're going to value every property. And the goal at that time and Judge Wettek was
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great. I mean, he retired, but he was a great judge. The goal was then you do it periodically.
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Because over time, as property values increase and the school districts target single properties,
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the system gets farther and farther out of whack. Well, they wait 10 years. They don't do anything
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until 2012. And then it's all screwed up again, thousands and thousands of appeals are filed.
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And then they do the reassessment again in 2013. And you were part of that reassessment with me
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then. I mean, you remember that's correct. 2013, they do the reassessment. And then they don't do
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nothing. And now here we are. 2022 and it's chaos again. Let me ask you this. Because I know my
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answer. If they had asked you if anyone had come up to you in 2012 or 2013 and said, how long do
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you think it's going to be before the next reassessment? Would you have thought that we
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would still be using those numbers today? You know, it's so politically unpopular to reassess. It's
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a it's a politician's death is what it is. You know, everybody thinks a reassessment is bad.
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It's not necessarily bad. If it values everybody fairly, it should reduce the millage rates. And
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we're going to talk about that in our upcoming episode, tax appeals for dummies, which does
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break down the simple assessment process in Allegheny County. But if it treats everybody
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fairly and reduces the millage rate, it's a it's a win for more people than it's a loss. Right now,
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the system is set up for winners and losers. If you bought a house recently, you lose.
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If you've lived in your house for a long time, you win. Right. The system is unfair. When you
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freeze this, the assessments and property values rise as they have. It creates inequities among
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similarly type homes agreed. We an agreement there. We are. So recently, a new law came on,
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and I actually read the law this morning. HB 52. So that wrong. So that's a good one.
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So not a new law yet. This is a bill. It's a proposal. No, but the media calls it a law.
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Like, well, it's a proposed law. It hasn't passed. It's even worse than that when you read it,
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because the beginning of it says something along the lines. I intend to introduce legislation in
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the future. I see. Well, I have I read one of the news stories, my guess here, and this, you know,
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it's the sort of reckless speculation that I hope can be preserved for all eternity.
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When I make it is that if there is an HB number associated with this, it sounds like a bill that
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exists and has been introduced. Otherwise, it wouldn't have a number. On the other hand,
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it's it's a it doesn't have a like Pennsylvania consolidated statute number. So I think what we're
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dealing with is a bill that somebody has written that is subject to all of the legislative rigmarole
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that can happen to that bill. No one may ever even vote on it. It may be amended beyond recognition.
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All of that is in play. Yeah. I mean, basically what the law is is trying to do is eliminate,
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you know, the school districts from filing a tax appeal against a new home buyer.
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Because like we said, if you buy a house for five hundred thousand dollars and you're assessed at
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one hundred, the school district is raising your property taxes because you just bought a house.
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But your neighbor who's lived there longer isn't appealed. And he's still at the hundred. And you're
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like, I'm paying three times as much as my neighbor. This doesn't make any sense. Well,
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we see that and we see that practically. Right. Every day, the majority of the calls that we're
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getting as a law firm right now are people who recently purchased new homes. Mostly they have
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out of state cell phone numbers as the as the number to call them back on. They've just moved
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into the area. And lo and behold, the school districts have decided to take essentially take
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them to court to try to increase their property taxes. It's happening all over the county. It
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happens all over the county at this time every year. So the problem with the law is it sounds
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good like, yeah, they shouldn't be able to do that. But because it's been so long since 2013,
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over one hundred thousand people have already gone through the appeal process. So now we're
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just going to treat one fifth of the entire county unfairly. It's stupid. It just doesn't make any
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sense. Well, let's let's back up for a minute. The current system, right in the current system,
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the county as an administrative entity has set everyone's assessment. Every property in the
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county is assessed at a certain rate. They valued every property. Correct. And when when we had these
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things we're talking about called a reassessment, what the county did was re ignore their prior
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numbers and reassess every property as of the date in question. Right. The last time that happened
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was 2012. Correct. Since that time, if nobody sold or purchased the property or if nobody
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did extensive work that required submitting building permits on the property, it is
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pretty unlikely that the school districts have ever tried to fix that number. OK, let me go back
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further. Why do we have an appeals process at all? When you pay your income tax, nobody you might
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get audited or something like that. But nobody ever has to decide how much the seventy thousand
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dollars you made last year is worth. What you made is declared in a W-2 or whatever. It's easy to
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identify how much you made. But with a property, you can't do that. Right. With a property, if the
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county is going to tax you a percentage of your property value, they have to decide what your
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property value is. It's very subjective. And the county makes its own determination. And those
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determinations can be wildly off base. After each of these reassessments, the first thing that
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happens for the first couple of years is everyone fights over those new numbers and tries to get
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them to settle into a place. What's funny, Billy, is in 2012 when they reassessed the 580,000
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properties, there was a hundred thousand appeals filed that these assessments were inaccurate,
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but they were all owner appeals. There wasn't one single time the school district filed an appeal
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in a reassessment. That can't be right. So the baseline appeal process here is the county sets
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a number which they have methodologies and approaches for. But once that number exists,
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the property owner and the other taxing bodies, the school district and the municipality,
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all have the right to argue to the county and then eventually to the court of common pleas.
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That number is wrong. That's what we're going to talk about the process on the tax appeals for
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dummies, right? And you need to have that process of some kind. You need to be able to appeal
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because if the county gets your tax number wrong, you can't just be stuck with the county
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thinking your house is worth a million dollars when your house is worth $250,000. There has to
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be some mechanism in place to challenge and change those numbers as property values change. And so
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what you have after mastery assessments is an appeals process that goes one property at a time.
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An owner can file an appeal any year they want or the taxing body can file an appeal any year they
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want. But the way the actual practice works for these taxing bodies and by taxing bodies right
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now we exclusively mean the school districts. Not necessarily, but okay.
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For the purpose of filing appeals, right? For a while the city of Pittsburgh filed its own appeals.
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Right now all of the appeals being filed are filed by school districts and the municipality
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is an interested party, but they're just kind of riding in on the coattails of the school districts
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in all these appeals. Yeah. I mean, it's hard, you know, the whole tax appeal, even talking about it,
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right? There's so much in the weeds that we might think property owners understand and they really
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don't. And it's such a topic where when you don't understand something, you just sort of shut off
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where you're afraid to learn something new, but it's quite simple. It is quite simple. The higher
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your property value, the more you're paying in property taxes, right? And if you can keep that
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value down, you pay less in property taxes. So who right now in the current system, as it is,
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who are the school districts appealing? Anybody who recently bought and as property values obviously
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have gone up since the pandemic, they're getting appealed. All right. We agreed the system is
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fundamentally flawed, right? Let's bring in Nicole first, because she's handling, she's defending
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hundreds of property owners this year who are experiencing the pain of being appealed, right?
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And I don't think you've ever been appealed. Have you ever been appealed personally? Yeah.
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I did not like it. I felt a little violated. I eventually got them to dismiss the appeal in my case.
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Oh, you did? Yeah. Did Nicole handle that for you? I handled, yeah, no, she did.
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Of course, I wouldn't hire anyone else to do that. No, no, no, no. Everybody likes her.
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You know, when I used to try to settle these cases, it was not always good. I mean,
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I'm not saying I can't do it, but as the years rolled on and I aged, I think it changed. I think
00:17:56,960 --> 00:18:02,960
I was softer as a younger man, Bill. I don't know. Well, I do know that when I go in, well,
00:18:03,600 --> 00:18:08,720
can I use this as therapy? Can we do therapy while we talk about tax appeals? I mean, yes,
00:18:08,720 --> 00:18:14,320
yes, we can. We can always cut it out later. I mean, okay. No, no, we should not cut it out
00:18:14,320 --> 00:18:21,440
later. We should air this. All right. So I want to introduce Nicole Haltman-Amec. And the great
00:18:21,440 --> 00:18:25,680
thing about our law firm, Flaherty Farto, nobody has ever worked anywhere else. I mean, it sounds
00:18:25,680 --> 00:18:30,240
kind of scary when you think about it, right? Sean's been there for 30 years. I was going to say
00:18:30,880 --> 00:18:35,120
20 plus years. You've never worked anywhere else. Nicole's never worked anywhere else.
00:18:35,120 --> 00:18:38,560
The only one who worked anywhere else is Sean. And that's just because he's been practicing law
00:18:38,560 --> 00:18:44,240
longer than the firm existed. But once we existed, no one else has ever been anywhere else.
00:18:44,240 --> 00:18:48,240
Well, even Jacqueline, our latest attorney, who's been with us seven, eight years on it,
00:18:48,880 --> 00:18:54,320
she's now part of the family. She's never been anywhere else. It's a little bit unusual to have
00:18:54,320 --> 00:18:58,400
that level of consistency, I think, in a law firm. And you see people leaving all the time.
00:18:59,280 --> 00:19:04,080
But well, we'll pat ourselves on the back. Maybe we'll just talk about all the good things we've
00:19:04,080 --> 00:19:09,360
done. How's that? Yeah. I mean, you know, I would like to do that. You know, I suddenly had it creep
00:19:09,360 --> 00:19:13,040
into my mind that maybe none of us have gone anywhere else because you've made us all
00:19:13,040 --> 00:19:19,360
unemployable anywhere else. There's probably something to that. What's it about? It's about
00:19:19,360 --> 00:19:28,720
nothing. So let's introduce Nicole Houtman Amick. She's a tax appeal attorney in Pittsburgh.
00:19:28,720 --> 00:19:33,760
She's Nicole told me a story and I should let her talk. But here we are. She told me a story.
00:19:33,760 --> 00:19:38,320
She's like, Yeah, Noah, you are you sent me to a tax appeal my first week, I called my mother on
00:19:38,320 --> 00:19:44,960
the way to the hearing and was scared as can be. But since then, she's personally saved property
00:19:44,960 --> 00:19:50,080
owners in Allegheny County. I know she's reduced property values, I would argue $100 million. I
00:19:50,080 --> 00:19:54,720
mean, it's calculable. She's handled thousands and thousands of appeals. And she generally her
00:19:54,720 --> 00:20:00,400
reputation in this industry. She's so respected among the judges among the other lawyers. She's
00:20:00,400 --> 00:20:06,240
really done a phenomenal job over the years. And I'm pleased to make her our first guest.
00:20:06,240 --> 00:20:12,240
Welcome, Nicole. Are you there? I'm here. Nicole, how are you? Did you like your introduction?
00:20:12,240 --> 00:20:18,000
I feel very honored to number one, be your first guest and also that I've never worked anywhere
00:20:18,000 --> 00:20:24,960
else. That's awesome. I was kind of hoping you would, you would mute and not listen to that
00:20:24,960 --> 00:20:29,040
introduction. So it doesn't go to your head. Also, I want to point out how weird it is to have you as
00:20:29,040 --> 00:20:36,240
a quote unquote guest on our podcast. But this this is the this is the business we've chosen,
00:20:36,240 --> 00:20:42,800
I suppose. So I'm happy to be here no matter what. So thanks for having me. All right. We love each
00:20:42,800 --> 00:20:47,440
other. Hug, hug, hug. All right, great. All right. Let's talk about tax appeals, Nicole. Okay,
00:20:47,440 --> 00:20:52,880
I do look at you as an expert in tax appeals. And what do you what is the first thing you would say
00:20:52,880 --> 00:20:58,080
to people that are being appealed this year who get a letter in the mail that says, I represent
00:20:58,080 --> 00:21:02,000
the school district, I am trying to raise your property taxes. What's the first thing you say to
00:21:02,000 --> 00:21:10,640
them? Don't panic. You know, you guys have already talked about this ad nauseum. But, you know, we're
00:21:10,640 --> 00:21:16,720
in a weird time with the COVID market with the reassessment last happening in Allegheny County,
00:21:16,720 --> 00:21:23,520
10 years ago. So this year, I think more than even last year, you know, there was 4000 more appeals
00:21:23,520 --> 00:21:29,760
filed this year than last year. So that's a sizable increase, you know, 50% increase from last year.
00:21:29,760 --> 00:21:35,920
And the increases I'm looking at as I evaluate these cases are huge, because of the COVID market.
00:21:35,920 --> 00:21:41,040
So a lot of people are panicking. And I understand that because there's a lot of people
00:21:41,760 --> 00:21:51,760
looking at, you know, 5000, 10,000, $20,000 yearly tax increases. So, you know, I understand that
00:21:51,760 --> 00:21:57,840
people are a little worried about it. But not to panic. Certainly, we look at every case individually,
00:21:57,840 --> 00:22:02,400
but we're definitely looking at kind of a weird skewed market at this point. And I can see it in
00:22:02,400 --> 00:22:07,680
the cases I'm evaluating is COVID helping you defend these appeals? I mean, are you able to use
00:22:08,560 --> 00:22:16,320
as a reason to defend the appeals? Yes and no. Yes, because there's a lot of unusual buying
00:22:16,320 --> 00:22:21,680
situations. I think that was more prevalent probably last year. But the amount of people
00:22:21,680 --> 00:22:27,120
I talked to that said, Hey, you know, I was in France, and I bought this house, and I never
00:22:27,120 --> 00:22:33,680
even set foot in it until a month after I owned it. Because I couldn't get here. I was in California,
00:22:33,680 --> 00:22:38,480
and I got a new job, but I couldn't come out here because of COVID. So I bought this house,
00:22:38,480 --> 00:22:44,320
basically sight unseen. And you know, now there's x, y, and z issues that I didn't know, because I
00:22:44,320 --> 00:22:50,720
literally was never here. Or relocations for work or, you know, different situations that definitely,
00:22:50,720 --> 00:22:57,840
I think, would lead to an overpayment. Here's something else, Nicole. I'm sure Bill has
00:22:57,840 --> 00:23:06,000
questions for you. But how often do the real estate agents tell these buyers who may be appealed
00:23:06,800 --> 00:23:10,880
the reality of what's going to happen? Because when I talk to some of these property owners,
00:23:10,880 --> 00:23:15,600
about half the time they're shocked, and about half the time they expected they were going to
00:23:15,600 --> 00:23:22,000
be appealed. What have you come across? I'd say less than half. It seems to me that when
00:23:22,000 --> 00:23:27,200
people know this is coming, it's either because they've already gone through this process with a
00:23:27,200 --> 00:23:32,720
different property, or, you know, a friend or neighbor told them about the fact that this
00:23:32,720 --> 00:23:37,520
was going to happen because they also went through this process. So even when people know about it,
00:23:37,520 --> 00:23:43,440
it seems as though they received that tip, not even from their realtor, but from someone else.
00:23:43,440 --> 00:23:50,080
All right. So I get appealed, Nicole, I get appealed. I'm a property owner, my taxes are going up.
00:23:50,880 --> 00:23:56,400
How can you help me? What can you do? How is it that you can defend these appeals? Give me just
00:23:56,400 --> 00:24:02,800
some general background. Well, every case is different, obviously. There's a lot of different
00:24:02,800 --> 00:24:09,200
ways that these appeals can be defended. You know, a lot of these processes go through
00:24:09,200 --> 00:24:15,440
both levels of the appeals process. So it can be a long, arduous, you know, multiple year
00:24:16,480 --> 00:24:24,000
fight to get reductions. Do most of these appeals take multiple years? And I mean, if so, why? How
00:24:24,000 --> 00:24:28,560
can a simple appeal valueing a property take multiple years? Does it make sense?
00:24:29,440 --> 00:24:35,040
So yes, the cases do go through a majority of them do go through two levels of the appeals
00:24:35,040 --> 00:24:40,160
process. So that's the B par, which is the first level of the process and the board of viewers,
00:24:40,160 --> 00:24:44,240
which is the second level of the process, tax appeals for dummies, tax appeals for dummies,
00:24:44,240 --> 00:24:51,280
right? And the reason it can take so long is because the board of viewers is very delayed
00:24:51,280 --> 00:24:57,200
in scheduling hearings. COVID did not help that because the court shut down for months.
00:24:57,200 --> 00:25:04,000
So right now I'm a pissed off property owner. Okay. My taxes are getting appealed. I'm getting
00:25:04,000 --> 00:25:09,600
appealed. I'm getting appealed. And all I'm hearing, I'm calling you my lawyer, and all I'm hearing is
00:25:09,600 --> 00:25:15,680
there's COVID, there's delays. I want to know as a property owner, how in the hell can you help me
00:25:16,320 --> 00:25:22,000
stop my property taxes from going up? Otherwise I'm calling, I don't know, who can I call Bill?
00:25:22,000 --> 00:25:24,880
Can I call anybody else? Ghostbusters, I believe is that.
00:25:26,720 --> 00:25:33,040
Well, you know, I try to add probably to a fault, a very, you know, upfront and honest person. That's
00:25:33,040 --> 00:25:37,200
just how I like to practice. And, you know, if you're a property owner that's calling me and,
00:25:37,200 --> 00:25:39,440
no, I looked at your appeal, for example, which I know you can't.
00:25:39,440 --> 00:25:44,320
Okay. Let's talk about it. Let's talk about it. I get a lot of money. I buy properties.
00:25:44,320 --> 00:25:47,600
I get appealed. What happens? So there's some airing of grievances.
00:25:47,600 --> 00:25:52,400
I got a lot of problems with you people. Yeah. When you call me though, I'm not telling you,
00:25:52,400 --> 00:25:56,640
no, your taxes aren't going up because that's a lie. And if someone tells you that they're lying
00:25:56,640 --> 00:26:04,240
to you, you know, my job is to mitigate that. You know, it's a situation where certainly your taxes
00:26:04,240 --> 00:26:08,880
are going to go up. It can be a long process, but it requires some patience, which I know is difficult.
00:26:08,880 --> 00:26:14,320
I'm not a patient person either, but you know, you need to have it because as I was saying before,
00:26:14,320 --> 00:26:18,880
the board of viewers who schedules their own cases is, you know, a year or two delayed right now.
00:26:20,320 --> 00:26:23,200
So, you know, I do have a lot of pissed off property owners calling me and saying, hey,
00:26:23,200 --> 00:26:29,280
Nicole, you filed my appeal a year ago. What's going on? And I understand that. So, you know,
00:26:29,280 --> 00:26:32,160
it's a, it's, we're trying to move them forward as quickly as possible.
00:26:33,520 --> 00:26:39,040
Yeah. But why, if I'm, if I'm a perspective, I'm a recent home buyer and I'm getting appealed,
00:26:39,040 --> 00:26:44,000
what can you offer me or what is it you're going to do? What advice can you give me as we walk
00:26:44,000 --> 00:26:50,560
through this appeal on how I can defend this assessment or appeal? And you know, how successful
00:26:50,560 --> 00:26:55,440
are you as a lawyer for the property owners versus if I tried to just go handle it myself?
00:26:57,200 --> 00:27:01,520
Well, there's a lot of questions there, but I'll try to get through them. So things that you can
00:27:01,520 --> 00:27:07,120
do that are helpful for your case. So there's a lot of different, uh, research and things that I get
00:27:07,120 --> 00:27:12,080
prepared for evidence for these cases. So number one, you know, if you did overpay, which everyone
00:27:12,080 --> 00:27:16,240
wants to tell me about how they overpaid because of COVID, because of whatever else I get that,
00:27:16,240 --> 00:27:21,840
um, the better way to show that is by looking at research. So by researching, you know, say five
00:27:21,840 --> 00:27:26,800
people on your street just bought a similar house. What did they pay for their house? Um, is it less
00:27:26,800 --> 00:27:30,880
than what you paid? Can you show me, can you document that for me and show it to me with
00:27:30,880 --> 00:27:36,240
actual data, which is what my job is. So I'm compiling all that information, getting all of
00:27:36,240 --> 00:27:41,040
that together and saying, you know, four properties on the same street, identical, just sold for less.
00:27:41,040 --> 00:27:46,800
I'm asking property owners information that they have that I don't have, um, that they have,
00:27:46,800 --> 00:27:52,480
that would be helpful for the case. So for example, seller assist or seller credit included in the
00:27:52,480 --> 00:27:56,560
purchase price. Was there a significant amount of furniture included in the purchase price?
00:27:56,560 --> 00:28:00,960
Have any significant issues come up with the property that were not disclosed to you?
00:28:00,960 --> 00:28:05,040
All right, good. Okay. So there's a bunch of things broken down there, right? But your goal
00:28:05,040 --> 00:28:10,320
and what you're telling property owners who get appealed is that they need to prove that they
00:28:10,320 --> 00:28:16,000
overpaid for the house. So when it says $500,000 on the deed and it's a sale recording, that's not
00:28:16,000 --> 00:28:23,760
true. I didn't pay 500,000. I paid 460 because either there was furniture included or I was
00:28:23,760 --> 00:28:29,040
motivated from out of town or I was in a rush or my wife wanted this and I didn't have a choice.
00:28:29,040 --> 00:28:33,280
Is that right? I mean, let's, let's, let's think about for a moment,
00:28:34,480 --> 00:28:40,000
the actual nature of the argument that you as a property owner are trying to make when you have
00:28:40,000 --> 00:28:45,440
purchased a house and now you're getting appealed, right? Which is you purchased your house and the
00:28:45,440 --> 00:28:51,680
documents you filed with Allegheny County say that you paid $500,000 for your house. And now you're
00:28:51,680 --> 00:28:59,120
stuck going to, you know, court essentially trying to argue that, yes, I paid $500,000 for my house,
00:28:59,120 --> 00:29:05,440
but my house is not worth $500,000. That's a difficult argument to pull off, which is,
00:29:05,440 --> 00:29:11,600
you know, which is the problem that you're facing here. The best single piece of evidence is the
00:29:11,600 --> 00:29:18,480
sales price. So it's not the only evidence, but the steps you're talking about now looking for
00:29:18,480 --> 00:29:23,920
seller's assists or furniture that's included is a way to say, well, actually the purchase price
00:29:23,920 --> 00:29:30,960
wasn't $500,000. It was 400, whatever. And once you can, Nicole, am I right? That once you can
00:29:30,960 --> 00:29:35,760
prove that you overpaid, it can help lower the property taxes. I mean, it's that simple, right?
00:29:36,720 --> 00:29:41,600
Correct. And again, like Bill said, it's not like I'm saying I paid a different value for the
00:29:41,600 --> 00:29:47,680
property, but it's, it's in looking at, you know, facts outside of just looking at the purchase
00:29:47,680 --> 00:29:53,760
price, which that's the area that I live in. Yeah. So that was my next question, Nicole, is we talked
00:29:53,760 --> 00:29:59,120
already about the things that you can do to try to make the purchase price itself look like it was
00:29:59,120 --> 00:30:07,200
lower. What evidence outside of the purchase price itself is relevant evidence or good evidence to
00:30:07,200 --> 00:30:13,120
try to prove your case here? So as I was kind of alluding to before, I do a lot of research.
00:30:13,120 --> 00:30:19,440
I do all the research for our cases, which is, you know, a good thing. I hear a lot of compliments
00:30:19,440 --> 00:30:24,720
about that because a lot of other offices don't have the actual attorneys handling it. So the
00:30:24,720 --> 00:30:29,520
benefit of that is, you know, when I am saying these, this is my evidence, these are the other
00:30:29,520 --> 00:30:34,000
sales. I have personally looked at that. So, you know, if there's other sales on the same street,
00:30:34,000 --> 00:30:38,480
I have that information. If there's other sales from the next street over, I have that information.
00:30:38,480 --> 00:30:42,640
You know, when the school district is bringing in comparables, a lot of times it could be, you know,
00:30:42,640 --> 00:30:48,560
sales that are three miles away that are bigger, newer, you know, they don't find tooth comb,
00:30:48,560 --> 00:30:53,040
go through those. So that's a really important distinction that we go through at the time of the
00:30:53,040 --> 00:30:58,320
hearing to make those, you know, differentiations between what the school district has and what we
00:30:58,320 --> 00:31:03,120
have. Another thing that I'll do, this is mostly at the board of viewers at the second level, but
00:31:03,120 --> 00:31:07,120
say your neighbor went through the appeals process three years ago, what did they settle their case
00:31:07,120 --> 00:31:11,600
for? You know, if there's any helpful information that's out there, I'm going to find it.
00:31:12,160 --> 00:31:17,680
That's the key, Nicole. I mean, I really think the reason you've been so successful in defending
00:31:17,680 --> 00:31:24,400
these and the key, the absolute answer to defending a school district tax appeal is to outwork and out
00:31:24,400 --> 00:31:29,920
research the school districts because the school districts will file 2000 appeals and they'll have
00:31:29,920 --> 00:31:36,000
an administrative assistant do their, do their research. And then will, and I think this is
00:31:36,000 --> 00:31:39,920
your magic key or whatever the better phrase is, William, you helped me on that, but
00:31:40,560 --> 00:31:44,400
you're actually doing the research, you're outworking them, you're able to cross examine
00:31:44,400 --> 00:31:50,800
their evidence. Is there a risk? And maybe you can talk a little bit about it briefly
00:31:51,440 --> 00:31:56,800
of property owners actually attending their own hearing. You've talked about how this is a multi
00:31:58,160 --> 00:32:02,800
hearing process. There's two different hearings over a long time. What's the risk? Just touch
00:32:03,440 --> 00:32:07,920
base briefly on the risk if a property owner attends the first hearing on their own.
00:32:07,920 --> 00:32:14,240
So this is a question I get a lot asked a lot. If a property owner attends a hearing on,
00:32:14,240 --> 00:32:19,120
on their own, they can be cross examined by the school district attorney representative,
00:32:19,120 --> 00:32:24,320
whoever's there. That can be a problem for them for a couple of reasons. Number one,
00:32:24,880 --> 00:32:29,280
you know, if they ask you a question and you give an answer, that's not helpful for your case,
00:32:29,280 --> 00:32:33,520
that doesn't only impact the hearing you're at, but that stays with your file for the rest of
00:32:33,520 --> 00:32:38,240
the time that your property is under appeal. So I've had situations where a property owner attends
00:32:38,240 --> 00:32:43,760
at the first level, they get an unfavorable decision. We help them with a second level appeal.
00:32:43,760 --> 00:32:47,920
And I have an attorney for the school district saying, Hey, Nicole, the property owner at the
00:32:47,920 --> 00:32:55,200
first level told me this. And it's information that I am surprised by. I didn't know they had it.
00:32:55,200 --> 00:33:00,320
And that can be information like appraisals for the property that were, you know, even above the
00:33:00,320 --> 00:33:04,400
purchase price, which that happens sometimes. Yeah. What you've done to the property. Hey,
00:33:04,400 --> 00:33:08,800
when you're under oath at these hearings and you know, there's going to be an appeal
00:33:08,800 --> 00:33:13,440
and the school district lawyer is asking you, so what was the mortgage? Did you have an appraisal?
00:33:13,440 --> 00:33:18,320
What have you done to the property? It hurts you ultimately in the appeals process. You agree?
00:33:18,320 --> 00:33:24,000
Correct. And that's, that was going to be my next point is say you've put $50,000 in a property,
00:33:24,000 --> 00:33:27,520
you know, if they ask you a question, certainly you should always answer truthfully, but that
00:33:27,520 --> 00:33:32,800
information is not going to help you because then the school district can say, Hey, they bought the
00:33:32,800 --> 00:33:39,200
property for 400, they put 50,000 into it. It's worth 450. So now you're even in a worse situation
00:33:39,200 --> 00:33:43,600
than you were in before. And again, not only are they going to use that against you at that moment,
00:33:43,600 --> 00:33:49,040
but they're going to use it against me or you or whoever later in the appeals process as well.
00:33:49,040 --> 00:33:55,840
Yeah. It's a problem. I think this is a place where property owners, but just using their own
00:33:55,840 --> 00:34:00,240
common sense, think of that volunteering that information is going to help when in fact it
00:34:00,240 --> 00:34:05,120
hurts, right? Because in their head, their mindset is I overpaid for this house. And so how do you
00:34:05,120 --> 00:34:10,880
prove you overpaid for the house? Well, I paid $400,000 for the house. And then I had to put,
00:34:10,880 --> 00:34:17,920
you know, $30,000 of work into the backyard. Well, that doesn't show that you paid too much
00:34:17,920 --> 00:34:23,120
when you bought it. What that becomes evidence of is the house is now worth 30,000 more than when
00:34:23,120 --> 00:34:27,200
you did buy it. Yeah, that's good, Bill. I mean, there's so many times that they say the wrong
00:34:27,200 --> 00:34:32,160
things and that logic, what you're saying there is, well, I had to fix this and I had to fix this.
00:34:32,160 --> 00:34:37,360
Now you just increased it and raised your property taxes, pal. So not very bright.
00:34:37,360 --> 00:34:42,880
It's tricky, right? Like it makes sense why you think that will help you when what your thought
00:34:42,880 --> 00:34:49,440
process is, is trying to prove that your house that you overpaid. But what you're really trying
00:34:49,440 --> 00:34:55,360
to prove ultimately is what your house, what your property is worth and what you paid is good
00:34:55,360 --> 00:35:02,080
evidence of that. But if you if in your head, your mindset is I'm arguing about what the property is
00:35:02,080 --> 00:35:06,640
worth, then you'll see, oh, wait, telling someone that I just put $50,000 into it is not going to
00:35:06,640 --> 00:35:10,960
help me. Yeah, I know we're a little deep into this, right? And it's obvious we could talk about
00:35:10,960 --> 00:35:16,240
tax appeals, maybe for for hours, like literally hours. Have we not already? Yeah, but here's the
00:35:16,240 --> 00:35:19,760
thing about the school district appeals. And especially if you got appealed, you know, the
00:35:19,760 --> 00:35:24,480
school district has the burden of proof, right? And they're going to come in and they're going to
00:35:24,480 --> 00:35:32,960
say, Nicole, you paid $500,000. But the law, which you know, which Nicole does a great job of providing
00:35:32,960 --> 00:35:38,000
and explaining to the hearing officers as well. One sale does not make a market. And in terms
00:35:38,000 --> 00:35:43,120
to value a property, you have to use what's called a comparable sales approach. And if the school
00:35:43,120 --> 00:35:48,160
district is having administrative assistants find their sales, and we have Nicole, who has the top
00:35:48,160 --> 00:35:53,120
of the line technology and database that we've built over the last 15 years, we find the best
00:35:53,120 --> 00:35:59,520
sales where it gives us a strategic advantage. Agreed, Nicole? I'll even say it's not even at
00:35:59,520 --> 00:36:05,280
this point, because we're, you know, so far away from the base year and the market is so crazy.
00:36:05,280 --> 00:36:10,320
It's not even usually. And obviously, every case is different. But it's not even usually a cherry
00:36:10,320 --> 00:36:16,080
picking situation. It's literally looking at all the other sales, for example, on the same street,
00:36:16,080 --> 00:36:24,560
all the other sales, but in the same neighborhood. These assessments are really devastating lower
00:36:24,560 --> 00:36:30,960
income neighborhoods, where the millage rates, which we can talk about, but the rate of taxes
00:36:30,960 --> 00:36:36,160
that they're given to the people are through the roof. Well, I think the millage rates is an
00:36:36,160 --> 00:36:41,120
interesting topic, because when you look around Allegheny County, and look at the highest millage
00:36:41,120 --> 00:36:47,440
rates in the county, they're in lower income parts of the county in Wilkinsburg, Woodland Hills,
00:36:47,440 --> 00:36:54,880
Brentwood, you know, those people in those areas, if they have $100,000 house, are paying $5,000 a
00:36:54,880 --> 00:37:00,400
year in property taxes. That's crazy. It's crazy. And just for some perspective, if you own a house
00:37:00,400 --> 00:37:06,880
in North Allegheny, you'll pay about $2,200 for that same $100,000 house. So if you live in a
00:37:06,880 --> 00:37:13,520
poor neighborhood, your taxes are twice what some of the suburbs are. That sounds fair to me, right?
00:37:14,160 --> 00:37:17,280
Right. And that's, I mean, there's a lot of things that go into millage rates, which we don't have
00:37:17,280 --> 00:37:22,000
time to talk about right now. But that, you know, when I look at those cases, and I look at people
00:37:22,000 --> 00:37:28,080
that live in, you know, modest houses, I mean, I look at the taxes on those houses, and they're
00:37:28,080 --> 00:37:34,400
the same as, as you said, no much larger houses, you know, a relatively modest home, $150,000,
00:37:34,400 --> 00:37:42,480
$200,000 home. If you tax that person at $10,000 a year, you know, someone in that situation, that
00:37:42,480 --> 00:37:47,920
is an untenable, unaffordable tax bill. And especially when people don't know what's coming,
00:37:47,920 --> 00:37:52,480
you know, it's crushing. Yeah, two things. And then we'll sort of wrap this up. And we'll bring
00:37:52,480 --> 00:37:57,200
this bring this home. But you know, when you think about it, a person's home is their most valuable
00:37:57,200 --> 00:38:04,400
asset, right? It's most for most people, it's the it's the most expensive thing they will own. And
00:38:04,400 --> 00:38:09,600
what Allegheny County does is they tax it twice as high as everywhere else, which depreciates
00:38:10,480 --> 00:38:16,880
the most best asset of our life, right? And if what they did, the solution, I really think is
00:38:16,880 --> 00:38:22,400
raising the income tax and raising the sales tax, you can select how your tax, but if they cut
00:38:22,400 --> 00:38:29,200
the property tax values on our homes, it actually increases everybody's net worth, everybody gets
00:38:29,200 --> 00:38:35,520
richer. And the system we have right now, it's definitely broken. Nicole, do you think a
00:38:35,520 --> 00:38:40,080
reassessment and bill to, you know, do you think a reassessment if they finally ordered another one
00:38:40,080 --> 00:38:45,840
10 years later would help fix this and why? Absolutely. I think we need a reassessment
00:38:45,840 --> 00:38:51,040
desperately. I think we need regular reassessments, because right now, our system
00:38:51,040 --> 00:38:55,840
um, crushes people that just buy properties, and it's only going to continue getting worse.
00:38:55,840 --> 00:39:00,720
And the only way to fix that is by just regularly taking a look at all the values,
00:39:00,720 --> 00:39:04,800
giving people new values, because even when we do a reassessment now, because it's been 10 years
00:39:04,800 --> 00:39:10,560
since the last one, you know, grandma and grandpa living in Lawrenceville that bought their property
00:39:10,560 --> 00:39:14,800
40 years ago, next to all these properties that just flipped, they're going to get a higher tax
00:39:14,800 --> 00:39:21,280
bill. Lawrenceville is crazy right now too. I mean, 50,000 and 400,000. Right? I mean,
00:39:21,280 --> 00:39:25,120
that's just an example of an area that the values have appreciated so much. But the way we could
00:39:25,120 --> 00:39:29,280
have avoided doing that was doing a regular reassessment. So people don't get hit all at one
00:39:29,280 --> 00:39:34,800
time by much higher values on properties. So I think we need to start sooner than later. I think
00:39:34,800 --> 00:39:40,400
we need to do them regularly. And as you touched on before, you know, a reassessment, people get
00:39:40,400 --> 00:39:46,000
scared about property taxes going up. That's not true. Many people's property taxes would actually
00:39:46,000 --> 00:39:52,080
go down. And I think if we do it regularly, we could really kind of bring these massive increases
00:39:52,080 --> 00:39:56,960
to a stop and just kind of be fair to everyone, including people that just buy properties, people
00:39:56,960 --> 00:40:00,880
that have been in properties. I think it's a much fairer system for everyone. Yeah. Every year we do
00:40:00,880 --> 00:40:07,280
the status quo. I think the worse it gets to. Well, look, I mean, obviously politicians voting
00:40:07,280 --> 00:40:12,720
through a reassessment is a deeply unpopular act because everyone thinks and often in the short
00:40:12,720 --> 00:40:18,640
term, everyone's taxes do go up while we try to have water find its level again, which is why
00:40:18,640 --> 00:40:22,480
generally the way that reassessments in Allegheny County have been happening is when the courts
00:40:22,480 --> 00:40:27,600
force us to, because our system gets so out of whack that the court decides it's now unconstitutional
00:40:27,600 --> 00:40:32,160
and you got to do something different. That in and of itself is a broken system. Right? We've got
00:40:32,160 --> 00:40:38,880
a county where we have decided that we will do reassessments. Well, we haven't decided it,
00:40:38,880 --> 00:40:42,640
but we only do reassessments when a court forces us to, when it gets so out of whack.
00:40:42,640 --> 00:40:47,120
But you had said earlier, Noah, there are winners and losers. And I think that's in the current
00:40:47,120 --> 00:40:51,600
system, that's true. And in any system you pick, you're going to be able to figure out who wins and
00:40:51,600 --> 00:40:58,240
loses. Right now in the current system, the losers are the people who are in areas where the
00:40:58,240 --> 00:41:03,600
property values are not appreciating, where the property values are flat or even decreasing.
00:41:04,160 --> 00:41:09,840
Those people are overpaying their taxes and their assessments relative to the value of their
00:41:09,840 --> 00:41:15,280
property. And the other losers are people who are purchasing new homes. If you're purchasing
00:41:15,280 --> 00:41:19,520
property, you're going to be paying higher taxes than your neighbor who's in an identical house.
00:41:19,520 --> 00:41:24,160
So right now, the two sets of people who are hit the hardest by this current broken system
00:41:24,160 --> 00:41:29,600
are people in low income, non-appreciating neighborhoods and people who are purchasing new
00:41:29,600 --> 00:41:37,360
homes. If what we do is have a mass reassessment, obviously in the short term, there's kind of chaos
00:41:37,360 --> 00:41:42,800
because some of the, you know, 10% of the numbers are just going to be terrible numbers that have
00:41:42,800 --> 00:41:49,520
to then get fixed through the appeals process. But the other losers in a reassessment situation
00:41:49,520 --> 00:41:54,800
are going to be the people Nicole talked about. If you have owned property for a long time in an
00:41:54,800 --> 00:41:59,680
area that's appreciating in these gentrifying neighborhoods that we have right now, those
00:41:59,680 --> 00:42:06,480
people's property value is going up. They're not doing anything different, but the neighborhoods,
00:42:06,480 --> 00:42:12,160
that property values you're appreciating, when that adjusts, which, you know, conceptually,
00:42:12,160 --> 00:42:18,320
it in theory should, but the end result of that is these people's tax bill is going to go so high,
00:42:18,320 --> 00:42:22,880
they're going to have to sell their property. They're not going to be able to pay that bill.
00:42:23,600 --> 00:42:29,040
I think that Philadelphia, county, city, whatever, it's all kind of the same government over there,
00:42:30,160 --> 00:42:35,600
has a specific program in place that I don't know if it's been challenged and upheld in courts,
00:42:36,400 --> 00:42:41,760
or not yet, but I'm pretty sure it exists, that allows people who have lived for a long time
00:42:42,720 --> 00:42:47,280
in an area where the property value is going up, gives them an exception to what our other
00:42:47,280 --> 00:42:52,320
wise, the property tax rules, it cuts them some kind of break. The courts at least have not yet
00:42:52,320 --> 00:42:58,240
found that that violates the uniformity clause and might be a good way to try to protect the people
00:42:58,240 --> 00:43:02,080
who are most likely to be harmed by the next reassessment whenever it happens.
00:43:02,080 --> 00:43:07,120
Listen, that's a great idea. I mean, there are states out there that will look at senior citizens
00:43:07,120 --> 00:43:10,560
and say, we're not going to tax them the same way, right? I mean, you can't because you're
00:43:10,560 --> 00:43:17,200
going to tax them out of their house as we go through. And like, state law, you know,
00:43:17,200 --> 00:43:24,480
has the courts have told us that you're not allowed to have different tax rates on commercial and
00:43:24,480 --> 00:43:29,040
residential properties. Even if you wanted to, you couldn't take the use of the property and say,
00:43:29,040 --> 00:43:34,320
well, we're going to tax the commercial properties at a higher millage rate than we're going to tax
00:43:34,320 --> 00:43:40,880
the residential properties because that's considered to violate the uniformity clause.
00:43:41,760 --> 00:43:46,400
But in all the state, in all the counties, and certainly in Allegheny County, you have the
00:43:46,400 --> 00:43:52,720
homestead exemption, which does at least cut a, you know, a small break that is specifically and
00:43:52,720 --> 00:44:00,800
exclusively given to owner occupied residential properties, right? It's, it's kind of a drop in
00:44:00,800 --> 00:44:05,360
the bucket compared to how much the tax burden actually is. But it is one place where we've
00:44:05,360 --> 00:44:12,960
already seen the, our legislators kind of carve out a way to protect residential property owners
00:44:12,960 --> 00:44:14,960
in a way that it doesn't necessarily protect commercial ones.
00:44:14,960 --> 00:44:19,760
All right. All right. Look, we could talk about this for a long time. Let's wrap up. Let's,
00:44:19,760 --> 00:44:24,640
let's summarize a little bit what we've discovered today. We, Nicole, we all agree there's a
00:44:24,640 --> 00:44:32,240
fundamentally flawed tax appeal system, correct? Yes. It's broken. Very broken. It's broken because
00:44:32,240 --> 00:44:37,120
we haven't, we need to do periodic reassessments, which will be more fair for everybody. And for
00:44:37,120 --> 00:44:42,560
those people who are being appealed and Nicole, our intent is to do a separate, more defined,
00:44:42,560 --> 00:44:50,400
here's exactly how you defend a tax appeal and some hints and tips and temps. I like hints and
00:44:50,400 --> 00:44:57,280
temps. Yeah. Well, you know what they say, timp it ain't easy. But for those people, be careful
00:44:57,280 --> 00:45:03,840
what you say at the hearing, prove that you overpaid for the property, outwork, out research,
00:45:04,640 --> 00:45:11,120
the school district attorneys. Oh, you know, when we did talk about one sale does not make a market,
00:45:11,120 --> 00:45:16,400
they have the burden of proof, right? What did I miss? I'm smarter than bill.
00:45:19,440 --> 00:45:22,880
You saved it for a good one. I think that's, I think you hit on the main points now.
00:45:23,520 --> 00:45:28,960
I mean, we'll see, we'll see what happens. I mean, I can't, there has to be a reassessment.
00:45:28,960 --> 00:45:34,320
And I think it's going to be more chaos and fodder for talk, but the people that have been appealed,
00:45:34,320 --> 00:45:41,360
you should fight these. We've seen a lot of success in mitigating the property tax increases. And,
00:45:41,360 --> 00:45:45,520
you know, if somebody can prove to me that this system works, I would love to listen to it because
00:45:45,520 --> 00:45:51,360
I'm just, I'm selling, I'm not buying it. Well, bill, I told Noah, I had a dream the other night
00:45:51,360 --> 00:45:55,920
that some politician was telling me that a reassessment was happening next year.
00:45:56,720 --> 00:46:02,480
Like that's how entrenched in this whole thing and devoted I am to this reassessment notion. So
00:46:02,480 --> 00:46:07,520
that's where my head's at right now. I am desperately sorry. This is what your dream
00:46:07,520 --> 00:46:13,680
life is. I want my lawyer to dream about tax appeals. That's what I want. I probably should
00:46:13,680 --> 00:46:19,040
be more embarrassed of that than I am, but here we are. Hey, you know what though? I will, I will
00:46:19,040 --> 00:46:23,840
end with this too. You know, the point, I'm not trying to get clients. That's fine. We,
00:46:23,840 --> 00:46:28,080
we get enough clients, our reputation, what we've done for past clients. It's great. I mean,
00:46:28,080 --> 00:46:33,200
I'm trying to get clients. I'm not, I don't, when I got into this business and I've done a lot of
00:46:33,200 --> 00:46:40,080
different areas of law, but nothing people are more scared when they get notice of a tax appeal
00:46:40,080 --> 00:46:44,240
and they flip out because now you're talking about their monthly income. You're talking about their
00:46:44,240 --> 00:46:49,280
monthly expenses and it is personal in nature. The satisfaction and the relationships I built
00:46:49,280 --> 00:46:53,440
with these people, cause I'm walking them through one of this toughest times in their life. Nicole,
00:46:53,440 --> 00:46:57,760
you see this all the time, right? I mean, some of the panic by these people, you're affecting their
00:46:57,760 --> 00:47:04,720
checkbook. This is real. Absolutely. It's a very emotional thing. And I understand that. And I just
00:47:04,720 --> 00:47:09,920
went through the appeal on my own property. So I get that. And it's sometimes good to remind myself,
00:47:09,920 --> 00:47:14,640
you know, how much this can impact people. I mean, I have people crying, you know, I,
00:47:14,640 --> 00:47:20,400
I deal with that almost every day. So who'd you hire? Nicole? I'm sorry. Who'd you hire?
00:47:20,400 --> 00:47:28,080
I know a good tax appeal attorney. I handled it myself, obviously, but you know, even in doing
00:47:28,080 --> 00:47:32,720
that, it's one of those things where, you know, the amount of research and time and energy I put
00:47:32,720 --> 00:47:37,040
into it, it's a good reminder that, you know, everyone deserves to have the same. Yeah. Whether
00:47:37,040 --> 00:47:40,960
you use us or not, what I will say is don't let them raise your property taxes without a fight.
00:47:40,960 --> 00:47:45,200
It just doesn't make any sense. I mean, you're talking about, and if it's, and if it's,
00:47:45,200 --> 00:47:50,400
if it sticks like it has in the 10 years, this could be 10 years of savings. You know, we,
00:47:50,400 --> 00:47:54,320
you save somebody 3000 a year. You really save them 30 grand. You save them 10 grand a year.
00:47:54,320 --> 00:47:58,880
You're saving them a hundred thousand dollars. Any final thoughts, Nicole? We really appreciate
00:47:58,880 --> 00:48:04,560
you coming on today. No, that's it. Thanks guys for having me. Glad to be your guest. I'm honored.
00:48:04,560 --> 00:48:10,640
You're the best. We really appreciate everything you do. You're guests in my corn. Yeah. No idea
00:48:10,640 --> 00:48:16,640
what you're doing there. That's a field of dreams. I doubt that's in field of dreams, but your guests
00:48:16,640 --> 00:48:21,520
in my corn is definitely in. Yeah. I disagree. I object, but we can, we can hash it out another day.
00:48:22,800 --> 00:48:29,440
You're out of order. That should about do it for this episode of I strenuously object. Hopefully
00:48:29,440 --> 00:48:33,680
you learned something or had a few laughs at least. If so, please subscribe, rate and review us,
00:48:34,480 --> 00:48:38,720
tell your friends, or if we did a bad job, your enemies to check us out. It's the only way that
00:48:38,720 --> 00:48:44,800
this podcast can grow. If you have questions for our eventual mailing it in segment or other
00:48:44,800 --> 00:48:51,600
feedback for the podcast, email the podcast directly at iobject at pghfirm.com. Noah,
00:48:51,600 --> 00:48:57,120
anything from you? Yep. For the most helpful information on property tax appeals on the web,
00:48:57,120 --> 00:49:03,920
on the internet, and the worldwide web, visit pghfirm.com and visit our tax appeal section,
00:49:03,920 --> 00:49:08,480
which includes the best advice for defending school district tax appeals, how to lower commercial
00:49:08,480 --> 00:49:16,080
properties, and how to lower your property taxes in general. pghfirm.com. Until next time, some
00:49:16,080 --> 00:49:24,240
parting legal advice. You never, never leave your wingman. Noah, are we adjourned? We are adjourned.
00:49:24,240 --> 00:49:30,320
Have a great day. We want to hear from you, our listeners. You can email us your questions,
00:49:30,320 --> 00:49:38,400
comments, and suggestions for future episodes at iobject at pghfirm.com, or DM us on Instagram,
00:49:38,400 --> 00:49:45,680
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Is Artificial Intelligence coming for your job? What can humans do that AI will never be able to do?
BREAKING NEWS! FFRA Tax Appeals specialist Nicole Hauptman Amick talks about the most recent delays in Allegheny County Property Tax Appeals
If you are a property owner in Allegheny County you need to hear this episode!