Tax Assessment Appeal season is approaching
Call us today at 610-388-0208
Do you believe your property taxes are too high? Or put another way, is the tax assessment on your home incorrect?
Inaccurate residential assessments are a growing challenge in our area. To put it simply, a tax assessment is based on the county's estimate of the value of your home. When the assessment is incorrectly calculated or does not represent your home's current value, the resulting tax bill creates an unfair obligation for you
What's the best way to prove that your home is over assessed? Obtain an appraisal from an appraiser experienced and qualified to perform tax assessment appeal appraisals. Call the tax assessment appeal experts at Appraisal Trend LLC™. We understand the Tax Assessment appeal process in the state of Pennsylvania and are ready to assist you. Call or email us now!
When can you appeal your assessment?
The Tax assessment appeal season varies by county and can change from year to year. Chester County typically accepts annual appeals beginning on May 1st through the first business day in August. Note: interim appeals have a different schedule. Delaware county appeals typically begin in March of each year. Check with your county for specific details.
If my neighbor has a much lower assessment that I do, does that mean I am over assessed?
The answer is...not necessarily. Your neighbor may be under or over assessed. The real question is whether your property is properly assessed? In other words, does your assessment truly represent market value? To answer that question it is important to understand the relationship between assessed value and market value. The following information answers this question and many others...
Though the process is generally called a "Tax Appeal", in fact you are not actually appealing your property taxes. Rather you are appealing the assessment that was placed on your property. In Pennsylvania, tax assessment appeals are handled at the county level. The process is usually straight forward, and involves a home owner providing the county tax appeals board with recent market data (neighborhood home sales, appraisals, etc.) regarding their home's value (an Appraisal by a Pennsylvania Certified Appraiser is generally recommended).
Based upon a short hearing and the documentation provided by the property owner, the board will determine a fair market value for the property. The board then applies the appropriate Common Level Ratio (CLR) to the fair market value to arrive at the new assessed value. For information on the Common Level Ratio, refer to the section below.
The following formula will assist you in determining whether an appeal of your assessment might be worth the effort.
Formula: Your properties Total Assessment (from your tax bill) multiplied by the Common Level Ratio (CLR) factor for the county where your property is located (for the year in question) equals the "Actual Market Value" your property is presumed to be worth.
As an example, the current Chester County CLR is 1.70. If your home is located in Chester County and has a Total Assessment of $350,000, it is presumed to be worth $591,500 ($350,000 x 1.70 = $595,000). Please be aware that this is just an example. In addition to Chester County, we also complete property tax assessment appeal appraisals in Delaware County and Montgomery County.
CLR Factors (Applicable for the period 7/1/2012 to 6/30/2013)
Chester County: 1.70
Delaware County: 1.39
Montgomery County: 1.61
Note: The state of Pennsylvania typically posts updated CLR's on July 1st of each year. The above CLR's were posted on 7/1/2012. Also, please note that the CLR factor is frequently quoted as the reciprocal of the above listed numbers. For example, in Chester County, the reciprocal of 1.70 is .59. If .59 is utilized in the formula, the calculation would be Total Assessed Value divided by .59
Click on the link below and you will be directed to Pennsylvania Department of Revenue web site. When you arrive at the site click on link for "download Current list of factors".
PA Common Level Ratios
Alternatively, instead of performing the calculations on your own, call us and we will be happy to assist you with the calculation. There is no charge for this service.
Call us now at 610-388-0208
What is a Common Level Ratio?
The Common Level Ratio (CLR) is a formula used in Pennsylvania that reflects a statistical computation of the average sales price versus the assessed value. It is designed to protect individuals who appeal their property tax. When you appeal your property tax, you are in effect asking your taxing authority (the county) to assign a market value to your house based on the evidence you submit. The value that the board assigns is 100% of what they think your house is worth. This value generally does not reflect the current assessed value of other homes in the area, because the county's assessment process usually lags the market by several years or more. The CLR is an attempt to take this disparity into account and "equalize" the taxes of those who appeal so that they pay at the same effective rate as the rest of the county.
Example: Property owner A appeals his assessment, and the county's tax appeals board assigns a value of $200,000 to his home. The appeals board then applies the CLR to that market value and comes up with an assessed value of $109,800. That becomes the basis for taxes at all three levels of taxation -- county, municipality, and school district. For example, in Chester County, the underlying premise of the CLR is to equalize homes assessed initially in 1998 (or whenever reassessment occurred) and those built and assessed today.
There are two different types of appeals: annual and interim.
(1) Annual: You have the right to appeal your assessment once a year. The deadline for filing can differ by county, but will typically be effective for the following year. As an example, Chester County annual appeals may only be filed from May 1 through the first business day in August of each year.
(2) Interim: Must be filed within a specified time of the mailing date stated on the assessment change notice. As an example, in Chester County, an Interim appeal must be filed within 40 days of the mailing date stated on the "Assessment Change Notice".
What is a property assessment?
An assessment is a percentage of the market value of your property. The assessment is the foundation which the taxing authorities use to determine the amount of real estate taxes based on their tax rates.
What is "Market Value"?
Market Value has been defined by the State Supreme Court as "the price in a competitive market a purchaser, willing but not obligated to buy, would pay an owner, willing but not obligated to sell, taking into consideration all the legal uses to which the property can be adapted and might reasonably be applied."
Isn't "Market Value" what I paid for my property?
Not always. Depending on the circumstances involved in a sale. There may be circumstances involving either party in a transaction which may prohibit the sale from being considered arms length. Properties purchased years ago are not reflective of what properties are worth today.
What happens at the Appeal hearing?
The Board presides over the hearing. At the hearing, the burden of proof rests with the appellant. A property owner should introduce evidence of the market value of the property appealed. This can be done by presenting an appraisal or evidence of current actual sales of similar homes. You may also appeal an assessment on the basis of uniformity by presenting recent sales of comparable properties but a comparison of assessments alone is not sufficient. You must present documentation at the hearing that proves these recently-sold properties are similar in style, size, location and amenities. Bringing pictures to the hearing would be very helpful in proving comparability.
The taxpayer is typically present at the hearing. Corporations must be represented by an attorney. If you are physically unable to attend, you may appoint someone to appear on your behalf to testify for you by completing the notarized Power of Attorney found in the appeal form. You may hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing. Attorneys should attach a letter of authorization when filing an appeal on behalf of the property owner. Questions may be asked by the Board of all parties in attendance.
How do I prove value?
Proving the value can be accomplished by the property owner doing one of the following: (1) checking the listings of actual recorded sales of similar homes in the neighborhood. These listings can be found in local newspapers, real estate offices, or by going to the public map room located in the Montgomery County Board of Assessment Appeals office; or (2) hiring an appraiser to appraise the property that is the subject of the appeal. You have a higher probability of winning your appeal if you get an appraisal
What happens after the hearing?
The Board will consider all evidence presented by all parties at the hearing. As a result of the hearing the assessment may be raised, remain the same, or be lowered. No one should assume that by filing an appeal, a reduction will be granted. Usually within sixty (60) days, a written notice of the decision of the Board is sent by first-class mail to the property owner and taxing authorities. The Board does not notify mortgage companies of the result of the hearing nor does the Board notify third parties except an attorney who filed the appeal on your behalf.
What happens if I don't agree with the Board's decision?
An appeal procedure is typically in affect for a period of time