Pennsylvania Property Tax Assessment Update: Property Tax Appeal Season Kicks Into High Gear


Pennsylvania 2014 Assessment Appeal Deadlines Are on the Horizon

With the exception of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania property tax appeal deadlines for 2014 fall between August 1 and the first Monday of October 2013. In 2012, five counties moved their appeal deadlines up to August 1. This year, three more counties did the same: Franklin, Luzerne and Monroe. The latest annual deadlines for assessment appeals in Pennsylvania are as follows:

August 1: Bucks, Cambria, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Indiana, Lancaster, Lawrence, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Lehigh, York

August 15: Berks

August 30: Wyoming

August 31: Butler

September 1: Adams, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Elk, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland

October 7: Philadelphia

Absent from the above list is Allegheny County, which is the only Pennsylvania county with a retrospective appeal deadline. We expect that the Allegheny County filing deadline for tax year 2014 will be March 31, 2014.

STEB Releases the Common Level Ratios

By July 1 of every year, the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board is to publish the latest Common Level Ratio figures for each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. The annual publication of these ratios figures prominently in the evaluation of whether to file a tax appeal for the upcoming tax year, because the Pennsylvania law contemplates that in nearly all tax assessment appeals, the county’s Common Level Ratio is to be applied to a property’s current market value in order to achieve the appropriate assessment. Common Level Ratios vary widely because of each Pennsylvania county using a different base year, and many counties' use of a stated ratio of less than 100 percent.

An example: In Beaver County, the Common Level Ratio is 31.5 percent for tax year 2014. Thus, if a property in that county has an assessment of $1 million, its imputed fair market value is $3,174,600. If the real estate is worth less than that sum, it may be a good prospect for a tax assessment appeal. This example shows why it is important not to take a Pennsylvania property’s assessment at face value.

Because of the short period of time between when the Common Level Ratios are to be released and the first appeal deadlines, property owners have a narrow window of time to analyze their assessments upon the ratios that will ultimately be applied in an appeal. We are well prepared to assist property owners and tenants with the responsibility for these taxes with this evaluation.

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