A New Year Means It’s Time to Review Your Assessed Values
by David M. Tkacik, Esq.
If you believe your property taxes were too high in 2014, the first week of the New Year is generally the earliest opportunity to file a formal appeal of your assessed value in Allegheny County.
If in 2014 you purchased a property for less than that property’s assessed value, then that is usually a good indication you should consider filing a formal appeal. Allegheny County uses a 2012 base year system, which means that the assessed value is supposed to be what the property would have sold for in an “arm’s length transaction” between a willing buyer and a willing seller on January 1, 2012. For this reason, even if you purchased a property in 2014 for slightly more than the assessed value, you may still have a good argument for a reduction because of the price appreciation between 2012 and 2014. If you are not sure what your assessed value is, you can look it up here: http://www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx.
Filing early generally means receiving an earlier hearing date. If your hearing is early enough that you receive your result prior to the tax bills becoming due, then you may be able to have your tax bill recalculated by the tax collector based on the lower value. If you file closer to the filing deadline then it is likely you will have to pay taxes at the higher rate and then wait for a refund to be processed after you receive a reduction. Although it has varied over the years, the deadline to file a formal appeal in Allegheny County typically is March 31st. Also, unless you enjoy paying interest and penalties, you should timely pay any tax bills you receive while your appeal is pending.
While hiring an attorney to file and represent you at the hearing is not required, most school districts and municipalities will have legal counsel present. Where the results of the hearing have a significant impact on your profitability, having someone experienced with the process, evidence required, and individuals involved is well worth it. I have been representing commercial and residential investors in assessment appeal hearings at Dornish Law Offices, P.C. since 2009 and perform a detailed evaluation of each property before filing an appeal. As a note of caution, please be wary of anyone who will file your appeal without first performing a detailed review of your property and situation. I have seen some investors whose business was solicited only to have their assessed values actually increased as a result of the taking of an ill-advised appeal.
Dornish Law Offices, P.C. offers both a flat fee and a contingent fee (no fee unless your property taxes are reduced) to assessment appeal clients. David M. Tkacik, Esq. will perform a free evaluation of your property and can be contacted at DTkacik@Dornish.net or by calling 412-765-2726.
David can be contacted in person by attending a meeting of the Pittsburgh real estate investors association on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Details on the home page
(December 2014 Newsletter)