Let's do it again?
Brace yourself. You may be reassessed again. Wait a minute. We've been told that the court-ordered property reassessment was over, right?
Allegheny County Council passed a bill permitting appeals for the 2013 tax year — for the second year in a row. Although the bill may favor some property owners who will get a second bite of the apple, there will be more losers than winners this time around. Why?
Taxing bodies are permitted to file appeals. In 2012, they filed appeals for the 2013 tax year on properties where the sales price was higher than the assessment. Taxing bodies can now file this year on sales that did not exist last year — for the same 2013 tax year. They'll probably win many of these appeals.
In 2012, the court-ordered reassessment values were certified. County and city officials promised to assist with the appeals process. There was a concerted effort to get the appeals for the 2013 tax year out of the way before we paid taxes on these values.
Since the 2013 tax appeals are being conducted again, there are questions being raised about Bill 7331-12. Will the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh school district appeal the so-called underassessments — based on sales from the last few years? Will municipal millage rates be adjusted after this second round of appeals for the 2013 tax year or will the taxing bodies just keep the additional revenues? Does the appeals board look at the market value as of 2010, 2012 or 2013?
Yes, there will be confusion if the 2013 tax year appeals are conducted for the second year in a row.
The other promise made — under state law — was that millage rates would be lowered after the 2013 tax year appeals were resolved. If county lawmakers permit another round of 2013 tax year appeals, it will result in an unintended second tax increase for thousands of city and county property owners this year.
Based on sales comparables, the reassessment values are three years old. Thousands of property owners who bought homes during this period may be reassessed on appeal for the 2013 tax year if the county passes Bill 7733-12. Many taxing bodies will appeal thousands of assessments based on sales. The problem is the tax impact will be felt this year. The result will be a second tax bill to the homeowner and additional revenue outside of the revenue-neutral provision.
There is an alternative. Every county in Pennsylvania permits appeals the year before taxes are levied. Allegheny County appeals may be filed this year for the 2014 tax year. This will result in a transparent and stable budgeting for taxpayers as well as taxing bodies. Your tax bill is not subject to change once it is paid.
Anyone who complains about his or her assessment will still have the right of appeal this year — for the 2014 tax year. That is the way it is done in 66 other counties in the commonwealth. This process is easier to understand.
Consistency, fairness and stability have been needed in our system for a long time. County lawmakers should consider the prospective appeals taxing system before the appeals begin on this cycle.
Michael J. Suley was manager of the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments from 2006-12 and vice chairman of the county Board of Property Assessments Appeals and Review from 1997-2000.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Port Authority fires two bus drivers involved in rollover crash
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Giant Eagle Inc. appears to have settled ‘fuelperks!’ lawsuit
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Analysis: Misunderstood Chryst served Pitt well
- Steelers must be creative in providing snaps for linebackers
- Game isn’t over for Kim Jong Un spoof ‘Glorious Leader!’
- Rossi: Brawl for ADs between Pitt and WVU
- Review: No improper contact between Pa. Supreme Court justices, lawyers
- Time is of essence for Pitt in finding football coach, athletic director
- Veteran tight end Miller’s blocking skill crucial to success to Steelers running game