PA Tax Law News - February 2014: Property Tax Notes

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The Commonwealth Court in Douglass Village Residents Group v. Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals, No. 921 C.D. 2013 (1/27/2014), held that garages and decks in a mobile home park should be assessed to the landowner.  The court noted that the Consolidated County Assessment Law authorizes the assessment of “all mobile homes and house trailers” and makes no reference to decks, garages or support structures.  Therefore, in order for the support structures to be taxed as part of the mobile homes, they, too, would have to be mobile.  Since they are not, the court held that they must be taxed to the landowner, regardless of who paid to have them installed.

 

Act 114 of 2013, effective February 16, 2014, creates a statutory definition of “high tunnel” and exempts “high tunnels” from taxation.

 

The Commonwealth Court in In re: Appeal of Council Rock School District, No. 354 C.D. 2013 (11/8/2013) (unreported opinion), held that the trial court improperly applied obsolescence and depreciation factors in determining a property’s fair market value.  This case is noteworthy because the Commonwealth Court rarely picks apart a trial court’s findings of fact in an assessment case.

 

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has released a revised common level ratio for Philadelphia County. Effective January 1, 2014, the common level ratio factor is 1.00.  Pennsylvania Bulletin, Vol. 44, No. 5, 2/1/2014.