Unless exempt, every property owner in Allegheny County is required to pay property taxes to the county, local government, and school district in which the property is located. The amount of taxes due is based on the assessed value of the property. The estimated value of most properties in Allegheny County is based on the county’s 2012 appraisal (the “base year value”). Since 2012, each time a property is transferred for more than the base year’s value, tax authorities have appealed to the Allegheny County Assessment Appeal and Review Board (” BPAAR”) asking the BPAAR to increase the taxable value of the property.
In BPAAR hearings, tax authorities generally argue that the assessed value of a property should be increased because the current market value of the property is higher than the base year value. If BPAAR agrees, BPAAR will take the market value and reduce it by the Allegheny County Common Level Ratio (“CLR”). The CLR is a factor created by the State Tax Equalization Board (“STEB”) based on sales data submitted to STEB by the county. Although the CLR aims to equate current market valuations with base year values, most BPAAR hearings result in an increase in valuation and a corresponding increase in taxes for homeowners. 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 will use Allegheny County’s current CLR of 0.811 to arrive at an appraisal of $81,100, which will result in an increase in appraisal of $21,100. .
A consent order filed in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas on April 27 ordered Allegheny County officials to resubmit sales data to STEB so that the county’s CLR can be recalculated. Based on the consent order, the CLR could be adjusted up to 0.635. If the new CLR passes, landowners whose assessments have recently increased could benefit from requesting a reduced assessment by filing an appeal with BPAAR. The deadline for appealing is March 31 each year. It is unclear whether the results of the STEB recalculation and consent order will require BPAAR to extend this deadline for the 2022 tax year.
©2022 Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & GefskyNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 140