OWM Blog – Tax Assessment Appeals – Are your Real Estate Taxes Too High Because of an Inaccurate Assessment of Your Property?

Over the last decade there have been severe economic impacts to the value of real estate in Pennsylvania as well as the rest of the United States, causing inaccurate assessments of commercial and residential real estate. When an assessment of real estate is not accurate, it is not based on the true fair market value of the property and the result is quite often that you are paying significantly more in real estate taxes than you should be paying.

Many taxpayers do not pay much attention to their county and local Real Estate Tax bills because they are a fraction of the bill they receive each July for the Real Estate Taxes owed to the local School District. WELL THAT BILL WILL ARRIVE IN THE NEXT MONTH AND YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED NOW. Furthermore, many people confuse the Assessed Value of their property with the Fair Market Value of their property. Your tax bills provide you with the Assessed Value of your property which today is a fraction of the true Market Value of your property. When individuals see the Assessed Value, which is far less than what they believe the Fair Market Value of their property is, they often believe they should not appeal their tax assessment, because if they bring it to the attention of the County Board of Assessments, their taxes could actually increase. However, research of many of the neighborhoods in both Chester and Montgomery Counties indicates that many taxpayers are overpaying their real estate taxes by more than $1,600 per year.

Counties limit the time when you can file an Annual Tax Assessment Appeal. The annual appeal period begins May 1st and runs until August 1st in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, and Lancaster Counties, and August 15th in Berks County. If you choose to appeal your tax assessment, the process is relatively simple. We use comparable property values and advise you to obtain an appraisal to argue for an adjustment to your property’s value on your behalf. There are normally no intrusive county inspections of your property, and your tax rate could be significantly lowered for the 2019 tax year and every year thereafter.

Since our office handles all of the details with the County Board of Assessments, the process requires very little of your time and the entire cost of the appeal can be paid for with just a few months of the permanent annual tax savings that results from this process.

If you would care to discuss your particular real estate tax assessment in detail, please call please call me at (610) 323-2800 or email me at mmurray@owmlaw.com. Also, please watch OWM’s June 2018 Legal Talk program regarding Tax Assessment Appeals on our website here.

— Written by Michael B. Murray, Jr., Esq.