Property Tax Appeals – What You Need to Know
Tax attorney Greg Biernacki explains the ins and outs of appealing property tax assessments in Pennsylvania.
- You need more than your neighbor’s assessment to win your appeal successfully.
- Getting a “no” from the Board of Assessment doesn’t mean you can’t win an appeal.
- If your school district challenges your assessment, it is in your right to defend it.
How Likely Is It That Someone Will Win Their Property Tax Assessment Appeal in Pennsylvania?
Your chances of winning a property tax appeal in Pennsylvania depends on the evidence you bring. I have several clients that come to me after they have tried to appeal themselves, bringing a bunch of neighbor’s assessments. They think, “I am assessed at $100,000 and all of my neighbors are assessed at $80,000. I should be assessed at $80,000 too!” In a way, that makes sense, however, with this evidence the Board of Assessment won’t know if you are assessed too high or if those people are assessed too low. There is no way to tell just by bringing that kind of evidence.
It is possible and likely that you, as a taxpayer, can successfully file an appeal. Where I see people and taxpayers make a mistake is when they get a determination from the Board of Assessment that they don’t like. Oftentimes, they’ll just leave it alone. They’ll shrug their shoulders and say, “well, maybe I’ll try again next year.”
Instead, they should consider filing an appeal from that Board of Assessment decision to the Court of Common Pleas. You can get a lot of satisfaction by appealing the assessment to the court level. This is another place where an attorney can be helpful in navigating this process; filing an appeal and negotiating or bringing your case to trial to get the reduction you need.
We represent most of our clients at both the board of assessment and at the court of common pleas. However, if you filed an appeal yourself and aren’t happy with the results you can also consult with us to see if you should continue the appeal.
We help our clients through the entire process, and the process is hands-off for the client.
What Happens When Your School District or Township Challenges Your Assessment?
In Pennsylvania, especially in Allegheny and Washington Counties, these days there are more and more districts challenging tax assessments. For example, they might see you purchased your property for $500,000, but are only assessed at $250,000. So, they will file an appeal to the Board of Assessment, basically saying to the Board, “You got this wrong. Look at the difference between the sale price and the assessment.”
A lot of our business is answering the question, “What do I do now?” In this case, the answer is, you should defend that assessment. Don’t just shrug your shoulders and accept it, that’s the wrong attitude. There are plenty of cases to be made to keep your assessment well below your sale price. This is another area we can help with.
For more information on Property Tax Assessment Appeals In PA, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (412) 557-7726 today.