Allegheny County completed the court-ordered property tax reassessment for properties in the City of Pittsburgh and Borough of Mt. Oliver. Residential and commercial property owners have received reassessment notices over the last few weeks. The assessed values of many properties – particularly commercial properties – have increased dramatically. While the tax resulting from reassessments will not be known until later this month, when the City and School District of Pittsburgh set their 2012 real estate tax rates, property owners in Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver should begin evaluating now whether to file appeals in advance of two fast-approaching appeal deadlines.

January 13, 2012: Deadline to Request “Informal Review”

Property owners have until January 13, 2012, to request an “informal review” of their new assessment in a meeting with county assessment representatives. Informal reviews provide owners an opportunity to correct mistakes in the county’s information about the property, for example an overstatement by the county of the square footage of a building or number of bedrooms in a residence. Unless there is a factual mistake in the property information provided by the county with the reassessment notice, there is no reason to request an informal review. The county intends to mail decisions resulting from informal reviews a few weeks after the meeting.

February 10, 2012: Deadline to File Formal Tax Assessment Appeal

The deadline to file a formal tax assessment appeal for Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver property owners is February 10, 2012. Once an appeal is filed, the Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the owner may argue that the property’s new assessed value is too high and introduce appraisals or other evidence to support the request for a reduced assessment.

A formal appeal may be filed whether or not an informal review was requested. Unlike an informal review, which gives the owner a chance to correct factual errors in the information for a property (e.g. size of building), the formal appeal is the owner’s chance to argue that the assessed value is too high. Owners that request an informal review are strongly encouraged to file a formal appeal as well, since the county has indicated that informal review decisions may not be issued until after the February 10, 2012, deadline to file formal appeals.

Reassessment Notices for Allegheny County Properties Outside Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver

The county anticipates issuing reassessment notices for properties outside Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver in the next several months, perhaps on a rolling basis. The deadline to request an informal review and file a formal appeal for these properties will be established by the county when these reassessment notices are mailed.

Buchanan’s Tax Assessment Appeal Experience

The attorneys at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney have handled hundreds of real estate tax appeals for commercial and residential properties in Allegheny County and throughout Pennsylvania. We have broad experience with appeals for all types of properties, from representing Fortune 500 companies in complex cases involving multi-million dollar corporate campuses to working with home owners to reduce their real estate tax bills. Our attorneys have obtained assessment reductions for corporate headquarters, office buildings, apartment complexes, warehouses, industrial properties, shopping centers, hotels and private residences.

If you would like to discuss how Buchanan's professionals can assist you in the Allegheny County assessment appeal process, please contact Lafe Metz at lafe.metz@bipc.com, Stanley Parker at stanley.parker@bipc.com, or Jason Wrona at jason.wrona@bipc.com.