In Allegheny County, tax appeal season has begun for 2024. Every year, County property owners have the ability to file an assessment appeal. But this year there are unique opportunities for an assessment reduction.
Property tax assessments are based on the fair market value of the property adjusted by the “common level ratio.” The ratio acts like a deflation factor so that owners do not face assessment increases just because of cost-of-living or housing cost increases.
This year provides advantages for potential assessment reductions. First the common level ratio, which had been in the 63% range for 2022 and 2023, will drop again to 54.5% for 2024. That means if your property has a fair market value of $100,000, for assessment purposes your property should be taxed at $54,500 for 2024.
This change is favorable for taxpayers, but before considering an appeal, initially owners should determine if their property has actually increased substantially in value. While home sales have cooled off in 2023, price decreases were rare, and some retail business properties, especially in the suburbs, showed some stability. Your home or business property may be in an area that is a “hot spot” relative to the rest of the County. Yet for commercial parcels, increased vacancies or rent reductions caused by market conditions can lessen a parcel’s value.
Assessment reductions are usually proven through recent sales of comparable properties or, if the parcel produces income, through the property’s income and expense statements. Higher interest rates negatively impact value, but owners should use common business sense in considering whether to file an appeal. If properties in your area are selling for $1.5 million and your assessment is $890,000, even with a ratio change careful consideration should be made before filing an assessment appeal.
The officials hearing your tax appeal at the Board of Property Assessment (the first stage of the assessment process in Allegheny County) or at the Board of Viewers (the second stage) are very knowledgeable about local real estate. But if sound reasons exist, opportunities should be pursued and retention of legal counsel knowledgeable about Allegheny County tax appeal law and practice should be considered. The appeal deadline is April 1, 2024.
February 07, 2024
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