Hampton taxes could rise for new property owners
Those purchasing property in Hampton Township, or many other jurisdictions in Allegheny County, should be aware the property taxes listed at their new home could change if the purchase price is significantly higher than the current assessed value.
This was part of a discussion at a recent school board meeting where the Hampton Township School Board approved a district-initiated appeal for 2019 real estate tax assessments based on property transactions in 2018 where the difference between the adjusted purchase price and the 2019 assessment reflects a lost revenue to the district in the amount of $1,000 or more at the current millage rate of 18.95 mills.
What this means is that sometimes property taxes listed on a home to be purchased may simply be outdated. Jeff Kline, director of administrative services for HTSD, said Allegheny County last did a county-wide assessment in 2012, which was effective for 2013 taxes.
But when a home is purchased it may trigger an assessment appeal.
The lost revenue of $1,000 or more is found by using an involved mathematical calculation, according to Kline.
Simply put, the 2018 purchase price is multiplied by a discount factor, which is a number they use to be consistent with the county’s 2013 base assessment year. This equates to an adjusted purchase price. Then, the 2019 assessment price is subtracted from the adjusted purchase price producing the assessment difference. This number is then multiplied by the school district’s current millage rate of 18.95 mills.
“If the lost revenue is $1,000 or more — then our attorneys file an appeal with the board of property assessments prior to the annual April 1st deadline,” Kline said.
He said it’s worth noting that the appeal timeline and process for schools and municipalities is the same as it is for property owners, meaning that any property owner can file an appeal as well.
The appeals process is a hearing — not a reassessment, Kline said. So, property owners and governments are able to present evidence, which is usually on comparable properties, to support their claim of a higher or lower assessment, Kline said. However, there is not a physical reassessment of the property.
School board member Bob Shages noted it would be beneficial for realtors or those selling property to advise purchasers if a property has not be reassessed. They would be aware that a property tax listed may not be reflective of its current value.
Several board members noted some homeowners are paying taxes at a recently assessed price, while their neighbors may be paying less because they are staying in houses at an old assessed value.
At the above equation for the current year, 93 of 323 sales would meet the appeal criteria. Homeowners are notified by the county of the appeals, usually within a month or two of the school district’s filing date, Kline said.
This process is done every year, said school board member Lawrence Vasko, who is also chair for the district’s finance committee.
“It’s about the usual,” Vasko said on that number of homes.
School Board President Bryant Wesley II offered a reminder that the school district doesn’t control assessments, Allegheny County does.
Wesley said if the county did assessments more frequently across the board, it would make it “more equitable” between homeowners.