Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PA considering role in real estate property tax assessments

A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court forcing Allegheny County to reassess real estate property values has highlighted an issue that has angered many property owners across the state. The ruling states that the base year system for property values, with no set review interval, is unconstitutional because it doesn't accommodate changes in property values over time. Currently, property value reassessment is handled at the county level and is done at irregular intervals. Butler County for example hasn’t reassessed in 40 years. Since reassessment often means an expense to the county and an increase in property taxes (thus raising the ire of the tax payers), it is not something counties are eager to do to often.

State Representative John Yudichak (D) has a plan to fix these issues and bring equity to the assessment of property values across the state. An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives details on a proposal he’s working on to create a State Office of Reassessment. He understands the difficulties in reassessment as his county – Luzerne – recently reassessed at a cost of $9 million. The county hadn’t been reassessed in 40 years and now many residents are taking the county to court to fight the higher taxes. Yudichak believes that a state wide standard for reassessments would alleviate some of the inherent problems of the current system. “We are trying to achieve fairness with property valuation, higher taxes aren’t the goal” he’s quoted as saying in the article. His is an idea that seems to be gaining momentum. The principle of his idea seems to have wide spread support; including Governor Rendell’s office, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and even Republicans such as Bucks County’s Scott Petri. There is some concern whether it can be done legislatively though. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee has been asked to study what other states have done and make recommendations.

If you feel your property has been unfairly assessed, please contact us to make sure your rights in real estate law are being represented.

5 comments:

Michael Krumer said...

If the assessments haven't been done in a while, it would appear that those people aren't shouldering the appropriate amount of tax burden. Of course, this is a really bad time to be raising taxes

Doug said...

The whole thing seems like a way to raise taxes without actually raising income taxes.

ObamaMama said...

I think this is about people who are simply trying to avoid what they are suppose to pay!

Crystal Laker said...

people always seem to want more money for the community until it has to come out of their pocket.

Kip Dynamite said...

If times weren't as tough, people wouldn't care so much about having their property taxes reassessed.