Similar to the reassessment that Allegheny County property owners experienced in 2012, 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. The reassessment values will be effective for the 2017 tax year and there are several upcoming notices and important deadlines for property owners to note.
What Notices Will You Receive Over the Next Several Months?
Washington County Property owners will receive two separate notices regarding the new values.
- Notice of Informal Review – Property owners will first receive a Notice of Informal Review. Notices will be mailed starting March 1, 2016, beginning first with residential property owners; commercial property owners to follow.
- Change of Assessment Notice – The second notice will be a formal Change of Assessment Notice. It will be mailed to all property owners July 1, 2016.
Property owners will have 40 days from this notice to file a formal appeal, which will be due August 10, 2016. (*The county is considering extending this deadline until September 1, 2016).
What Should You Anticipate?
You 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 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.
What Should You Do Once You Receive Your Notice?
A property owner receiving a reassessment notice has some decisions to make before deciding to take action. Owners should evaluate the following:
- Is the property data correct (i.e., land area, building size)?
- Is the market value fair based on your location (i.e., compared with recent sales in your area)?
- If the property is rented, is the market value based on the income generated by the property?
Reviewing And Appealing Your Property Reassessment
As an initial step, Washington County property owners have an option to meet with Washington County’s reassessment firm, Tyler Technologies, to informally discuss and review their reassessments between March and June 2016. However, please keep in mind that informal reviews will typically only correct property data errors and do not address specific valuation concerns. If after an informal review, you remain dissatisfied with your property’s reassessed value, you have the right to file a formal appeal with the Washington County Tax Revenue Department by August 10, 2016.
Property owners electing not to participate in the informal review process do not waive their right to file a formal appeal. As such, you may bypass the informal review process and file a formal appeal with the Washington County Tax Revenue Department by the same August 10, 2016, appeal deadline.
Important List of Deadlines for Washington County Reassessment
- March 1, 2016 – Notice of Informal Review to be mailed to property owners
- March – June 2016 – Informal reviews with Tyler Technologies
- July 1, 2016 – Formal Change of Assessment Notice to be mailed to property owners
- August 10, 2016 – Formal appeal deadline (*deadline may be extended until September 1, 2016)
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.