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Property Tax Appeals Allegheny County

Until recently, 2002 was the last time county officials performed a Property Tax Assessment on property in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  For years people speculated about when a new assessment would take place.  In December of 2011, it finally did, and when the new numbers came out, a lot of people’s property taxes shot through the roof.

If your property taxes increased in December of 2011 and you disagree with the assessment, you need to contact an attorney immediately to begin the Appeal Process.  The tax assessments in this county do not involve much more than someone driving by your house and picking a value for your property.  However, based on the interior condition of your home, and recent comparable home sales in your neighborhood, the assessed value may be too high.

You have two options when filing an appeal, the informal and formal process.  The informal process was originally created to correct small errors in assessed building characteristics (like square footage).  However, over time, the informal process has come to serve the same purpose as the formal process, i.e. an opportunity to have your property taxes lowered.  Today, there are really only two differences in the informal and formal process.  First, the informal process is faster.  Second, there will not be an attorney present on behalf of the taxing organization at the informal hearing to cross examine you based on your evidence.  Only an attorney experienced in property tax appeals will be able to advise you on which process is best for you.

In order to win your appeal and have your taxes lowered; you must be able to show that your property was over-valued.  There are a number a ways to do this.  You may bring pictures to you hearing.  You may bring a list of comparable properties in your neighborhood that recently sold for less than your assessed value.  Or, you may hire an independent assessor to appraise your property.  You will want to keep the presentation of your evidence and your argument short and concise.

Finally, there is another benefit to appealing your Property Tax Assessment as soon as possible.  Recently, Judge Wettick indicated that he may permit the 2012 Assessment to continue, but will not enforce the new assessment for tax purposes until 2013.  This will give you time to bring your appeal, and you will have an extra year before you will have to start paying your higher taxes.  This gives you a year to appeal your assessment, hopefully win, and never have to pay the new assessed value.

If you wish to appeal your assessment, you should contact our law office as soon as possible.  We will set up a consultation to review your recent assessment and the specifications of your property.  We will also look at the paperwork you have received from the county and help answer any questions you may have regarding your assessment.  We will advise you on whether we think an appeal will help, or potentially hurt, your future property taxes. Give us a call at 412-823-8003

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