Reviewing Your Final Assessment and Navigating The Appeal Process
Washington County recently concluded a court-ordered reassessment of all residential and commercial properties in the county. It is the first county-wide reassessment in more than 35 years and there is immense concern over the impact it will have on property taxes.
Property owners may see significant assessment increases as Washington County currently assesses property at 25 percent of its market value. Under the new reassessment, a property assessment will reflect 100 percent of market values. However, even if your property assessment increases drastically, you will not automatically see the same percentage increase in your taxes, as state law prevents school districts from receiving a windfall in total taxes from the reassessment, and municipalities are limited to a five percent increase. In most cases, the property owner’s millage will decrease, but it is important to review your new assessment thoroughly to determine if the property is valued correctly.
Formal Assessment Appeal Process
As an initial step, Washington County property owners were given an option to meet with Washington County’s reassessment firm, Tyler Technologies, to informally discuss and review their reassessments. This step of the process, which began in March and concluded in June, was designed to primarily correct property data errors and not to address specific valuation concerns.
On or about July 1, 2016, property owners were mailed a formal Change of Assessment Notice stating the final assessed value of the property, effective for the 2017 tax year. If you are dissatisfied with the reassessed value of your property, you have 40 days to exercise your right to file a formal assessment appeal with the Washington County Tax Revenue Department. The deadline to file is August 10, 2016; although the Department has indicated the deadline may be extended to September 1, 2016.
It is important to note that property owners who elected not to participate in the initial informal review process may still file a formal appeal. If you do not appeal the new assessment within 40 days of its receipt, you lose the right to challenge the assessment for 2017.
It is crucial to carefully analyze your new assessment to determine if it accurately reflects your property’s current market value. The formal hearing will provide property owners the opportunity to present specific data and information to challenge the newly assessed value. Such information may include the sale price of comparable properties, negative aspects relating to the location of the property, and defects in the structure or land. Typically, the best start to prepare for an assessment appeal is to obtain a current appraisal of your property.
Following the hearing, a decision will be issued by the Board of Assessment Appeals. If you are dissatisfied with the Board’s decision, you will have 30 days to appeal to the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.
Assessments can be complicated and confusing. Our lawyers have a thorough understanding of the process and are available to answer any questions you may have. We are happy to meet with you at a place of your convenience to assist you in evaluating your property for a possible appeal.
This is an update to our February 8, 2016 post, What Washington County Property Owners Need to Know About Their Property Reassessment.
Pittsburgh Real Estate Attorneys
Please contact Charles Hadad at The Lynch Law Group for additional information or assistance with your property reassessment by calling (724) 776-8000.