June 26, 2022

Volume XII, Number 177

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Allegheny County Property Tax Bills Could Be Lowered Based on Recent Consent Order

Unless exempt, every property owner in Allegheny County is required to pay property taxes to the county, the local government and the school district in which the property is located. The amount of taxes owed is based on the assessed value of the property. The assessed value of most properties in Allegheny County is based on the county’s 2012 assessment (the “Base Year Value”). Since 2012, each time a property is transferred for more than the Base Year Value, taxing authorities have filed appeals to the Allegheny County Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review (“BPAAR”) asking BPAAR to increase the property’s assessed value.  

At BPAAR hearings, taxing authorities typically argue that the assessed value of a property should be increased because the current market value of the property is greater than the Base Year Value. If BPAAR agrees, BPAAR will take the market value and reduce it by Allegheny County’s Common-Level Ratio (“CLR”). The CLR is a factor created by the State Tax Equalization Board (“STEB”) based on sales data that is submitted to the STEB by the county. While the CLR is intended to equalize current market valuations with Base Year Values, most BPAAR hearings result in an increased assessment and a corresponding tax increase for property owners. So, for example, if a property’s Base Year Value is $60,000, and BPAAR finds its current market value to be $100,000, BPAAR would use Allegheny County’s current CLR of .811 to arrive at an assessment of $81,100, resulting in an increased assessment of $21,100. 

A Consent Order filed in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas on April 27 directed Allegheny County officials to resubmit sales data to the STEB so that the county’s CLR can be recalculated. Based on the Consent Order, the CLR could be adjusted to as low as .635. If the new CLR is adopted, property owners with recently increased assessments may benefit from seeking a reduced assessment by filing an appeal with BPAAR. The deadline to file an appeal is March 31 of each year. It is unclear whether the results of the STEB recalculation and the Consent Order will require BPAAR to extend that deadline for the 2022 tax year. 

©2022 Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & GefskyNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 140
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About this Author

Matthew Morella Attorney Strassburger
Associate

Matthew Morella is an associate attorney at Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky. Mr. Morella’s area of focus is Education and Public/Non-Profit.

As a 2020 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Mr. Morella gained valuable experience working in both an environmental law clinic and a low-income taxpayer clinic. As part of his work with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, he wrote a section of Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court focused on General Motors v. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania....

(412) 281-5423
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