Allegheny County Reassessment – Average Values By Municipality and School District Now Available Online!

The Allegheny County Office of Property Assessment has added a section to its website that allows you to view the average increase in 2013 property reassessment values broken down by municipality and school district.  This information will be helpful to anyone out there who is on the fence about whether to appeal their 2013 property reassessment.

It’s important to remember that your property tax is made up of three components: county, municipality, and school district.  The county portion of the tax is currently 5.69 mills (1 mill equals 0.1%).  The Office of Property Assessment states that the average increase in value for the 2013 court-ordered reassessment in Allegheny County is 35%.  In theory, if your 2013 property reassessment increase is less than 35%, you should see a reduction in the county portion of your property taxes for 2013.

You will also want to check the average increases for your municipality and school district.  As the majority of your real estate tax is made up of school taxes, this average increase of reassessment values in your school district is most important.  As with the county portion of your real estate taxes, if your 2013 property reassessment increase is less than the average increase for your municipality or school district, in theory you should see a reduction in your corresponding municipality or school district property taxes for 2013.

The current numbers will only provide you with an estimate.  The ultimate values will depend on the outcome of thousands of 2013 property reassessment appeals filed by both residential and commercial property owners, as well as the final adjustment of millage rates for 2013 by the taxing bodies.  If you are at or near the average levels for the county, your municipality, or school district, you should probably estimate conservatively and expect that your property taxes will increase in 2013.

If you are considering appealing your reassessment and have questions, please feel free to contact me at (412) 414-9889 or steve@sphotolaw.com

Author: Steve Photopoulos

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Allegheny County Reassessment – Deadline for Appeals Rapidly Approaching!

It is estimated that as many as 100,000 assessment appeals will be filed in Allegheny County.  If you are interested in filing a formal appeal of your 2013 assessment, please note:

  • The deadline for all formal appeals is: APRIL 2, 2012

All 2013 reassessment values are now online.  You can view your the specific information for your property at the Allegheny County Property Reassessment website.

If you are considering appealing your reassessment, please feel free to contact me at (412) 414-9889 or steve@sphotolaw.com

Author: Steve Photopoulos

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Allegheny County Assessment – Northern and Western Suburban Values Now Online!

New values for the northern and western suburbs are scheduled to be mailed out today, and are already available online at the county’s property assessment website.  Based on a quick look at values for some northern properties, it looks like more of the same.  The new assessment values are mostly increases (some significant), with an occasional property that shows a decrease in value.  Just as with the previously released values for the county, some property owners are seeing particularly large increases in the land portion of their reassessment.

If you are considering appealing your reassessment, please view my prior post: Should you appeal your Allegheny County 2012 assessment? for more details.  If you have any questions about the Allegheny County Reassessment appeal process, please feel free to contact me at (412) 414-9889 or steve@sphotolaw.com

Author: Steve Photopoulos

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Allegheny County Assessment – Northern and Western Suburban Values Delayed

Apparently, a computer glitch will result in a delay in the mailing of notices for property owners in the northern and western suburbs of Allegheny County until next Wednesday, March 7, 2012.  This last batch of reassessment notices were originally scheduled to be mailed on March 2, 2012, according to the Allegheny County Property Assessment website.

If you are considering appealing your reassessment, please view my prior post: Should you appeal your Allegheny County 2012 assessment? for more details.  If you have any questions about the Allegheny County Reassessment appeal process, please feel free to contact me at (412) 414-9889 or steve@sphotolaw.com

Author: Steve Photopoulos

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Allegheny County 2012 Assessment – Southern Suburban Values Now Online

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Right on schedule, the new assessment values for properties in the southern suburbs of Allegheny County are now available for viewing online.  They will most likely be received by property owners in Tuesday’s mail.  Values for the western and northern suburbs aren’t scheduled to be released until March 2, 2012, but may be available as early as February 27, 2012.

The Allegheny County Property Assessment website has also been updated with additional information regarding the appeals process and the new valuations.

Upcoming appeal deadlines are as follows:

  • informal appeals of southern suburban properties: March 7, 2012
  • All formal appeals: APRIL 2, 2012

If you are considering appealing your reassessment, please view my prior post: Should you appeal your Allegheny County 2012 assessment? for more details.  If you have any questions about the Allegheny County Reassessment appeal process, please feel free to contact me at (412) 414-9889 or steve@sphotolaw.com

Author: Steve Photopoulos

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Allegheny County 2012 Assessment Update

The Allegheny County 2012 reassessment saga continues.  The City of Pittsburgh has announced the official start of its assessment assistance program.  City residents with questions can call the mayor’s information line at 3-1-1.  The program is open to owners of residential properties in the city with base year values less than $150,000, or residents who are over 65 years of age.

“Property owners must challenge any unfair or inaccurate reassessment soon – and the City is going to give you every possible tool to make this frustrating appeal process easier for you,” [Mayor] Ravenstahl said.  “All residents have to do is call 3-1-1 and city employees will come to the neighborhood senior center nearest you with help and support.”

New values for Allegheny County’s southern suburbs are to be released next week, with the remaining (primarily northern) suburbs scheduled to be released on March 2, 2012.

County Office Building at Forbes and Ross

Assessment Appeals Board hearings will take place on the third floor of the County Office Building in downtown Pittsburgh.  Hearings take place in one of several small hearing rooms.  Hearing officers will listen to arguments presented by homeowners and make recommendations to the Board.  Decisions of the Board can be appealed to Common Pleas Court.

A typical hearing room

If you are considering appealing your reassessment, please view my prior post: Should you appeal your Allegheny County 2012 assessment? for more details.  If you have any questions about the Allegheny County Reassessment appeal process, please feel free to contact me at (412) 414-9889 or steve@sphotolaw.com

Author: Steve Photopoulos

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

City Approves Appeal Assistance for Some Homeowners

Pittsburgh City Council has approved a program that will provide assistance with assessment appeals to city residents over 65 years of age and to other city homeowners with homes assessed at $150,000 or less.  The assistance includes a reduced price appraisal, help preparing the appeal, and help in presenting the appeal at the hearing.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.
      
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County Posts Schedule for Release of Suburban Assessment Numbers

Allegheny County has posted a listing of suburban municipalities and when their reassessment values will be available to the public.  Based on the listing, it appears that eastern suburbs will be released on January 27, 2012, southern suburbs on February 20, 2012, and northern suburbs on March 2, 2012.  The complete list can be viewed at the following link:

Release of Allegheny County Assessment Data

In addition, the county has made the information used to compute the assessments, including comparable sales, available on the internet.  At the moment, the information is only available for the City of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver.  Information for suburban communities will be made available based on the above scheduled release dates.  This site is separate from the county’s main real estate site and can be viewed at:

Allegheny County 2013 Assessment Data

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.
      
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Property Assessment Appeal Deadlines Extended Again!

As a result of their meeting with Judge Wettick this morning, Allegheny County officials have agreed to the following new deadlines for Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver assessment appeals:

  • Informal Appeals of 2012 numbers – February 15, 2012;
  • Formal Appeals of 2012 numbers – April 2, 2012;
  • Formal Appeals of 2011 numbers – April 2, 2012;

Beyond the new dates, this is a change in that Allegheny County has decided to restart informal appeals.  County Executive Fitzgerald had previously halted all informal appeals.

Approximately 8,000 property owners have requested formal appeals so far.  The comparable home sale data used to compute the new assessments numbers is supposed to be posted on the county’s website today.  However, as of 3:30 pm, no new data has appeared.

The link to the county real estate site is:

www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.
      
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Should you appeal your Allegheny County 2012 assessment?

Given all of the recent activity and confusion surrounding Allegheny County’s 2012 property reassessment, many property owners are left wondering, “Should I appeal my 2012 assessment?”  While every situation is different, there are some common factors to consider.

The overall increase in assessments for properties in the City of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver is about 58%.  That doesn’t mean that the taxing bodies will be taking in 58% more revenue based on the new numbers.  The taxing bodies are bound by statute to adjust their millage rates to prevent a windfall in tax revenues because of the reassessment.  Assuming millage rates are adjusted down so that there is no windfall to the taxing bodies, anyone with an assessment that increased less than 58% should, in theory, be receiving a tax decrease as a result of the reassessment.

However, the above calculation is not perfect, as it is based on overall numbers.  The actual numbers will vary from property to property.  Also, if an extremely large number of people successfully appeal their assessments, it could result in the overall increase in assessed values decreasing from the current 58%.  If that occurs, more and more property owners will end up with a property tax increase.  However, it might be too late by the time the dust settles on those initial appeals for those who sat on the sideline to appeal for 2012.

As for your individual assessment, the first thing to do is review the information that the county currently has listed for your property.  Look for obvious discrepancies such as county records saying you have 4 bedrooms when you really have 3, or the county listing your square footage as much larger than it actually is.  These are usually good points of argument for an appeal.

You will also want to perform a rough calculation of what your property tax savings might be from a successful appeal.  For ease of calculation using current millage rates, assume that you will be paying 3% of your property’s assessed value every year in property tax between county, local, and school district millage rates.  That means a reduction of $20,000 in your assessment could result in approximately $600 in property tax savings.  Those savings will likely continue from year-to-year until your property value is reset because of a later reassessment.  *Note that this is a rough calculation and may change once millage rates are adjusted.

Finally, you are going to need to consider what it is going to take to get through the appeals process and how much time, energy and expense you are willing to invest.  If you handle your own appeal, you will need to find (and likely pay for) a comparison of comparable properties to use at your appeal.  You will also need to review the formal appeals hearing rules and take the time to attend your scheduled hearing.  Obviously, if you hire an attorney to represent you at your appeals hearings, you will save yourself some headaches.  Most attorneys are willing to handle assessment appeals for either a percentage of the tax savings generated, or a flat fee.

Whatever you decide, you can’t afford to just sit back and wait.  Property owners in the City of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver have until February 24, 2012 to make formal appeals of their assessments with hearings beginning by February 1, 2012.  Suburban reassessment numbers are expected to be released in March.

Further updates will be provided as developments continue.

Author: Steve Photopoulos can be reached at steve@sphotolaw.com or (412) 414-9889.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.