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Status of Formal Assessment Appeals in Allegheny County

Pillars.jpgA lot has happened with the Allegheny County assessment appeals, but what is the status now? The deadline to file an appeal for the 2013 reassessed values was April 2, and many property owners elected to file appeals. Now, those property owners may be wondering how soon their appeals will be scheduled and how long this process will take before it is all over.

Record number of appeals filed

The media coverage shows how controversial the recent reassessment was. In fact, the Allegheny Office of Property Assessments reports that in total, 134,725 formal appeals were filed. Of those, only 22,361 had been entered into the system and only 2,227 had been scheduled as of early May. This printout directly from the county (PDF) shows the current status of the formal appeals.

Long-time residents of Allegheny County remember the last county-wide reassessment which was held in 2002. In that year, 92,920 appeals were filed. The total number filed challenging the 2013 reassessment represents an increase of about 45%. In a typical year (one without a county-wide reassessment), the county usually only receives a few thousand appeals.

Anticipated schedule for formal hearings

Given the unprecedented number of appeals filed, it is difficult to predict what the schedule will look like for the rest of the year. In a typical year, the deadline to file appeals is March 31 and most hearings are completed over the summer. This year, the hearings will likely stretch well into the fall months.

In our experience, the county staff has been very friendly and helpful, despite the fact that they are very busy with such a large number of appeals. The employees there are doing the best they can with limited resources. It may take the county some time to enter the rest of the thousands of appeals filed. In the past month, they have been able to process 16.5% and schedule 1.6%. Most owners who filed appeals will have to wait several more weeks at least before learning when their appeal hearings will be scheduled.

Consider legal representation

If you are among the property owners who filed a appeals and are waiting for a hearing to be scheduled, you should consider retaining an attorney to represent you. An experienced real estate attorney will help you avoid the most common mistakes and help you put together the strongest possible case for the lowest possible assessed value.

You are not required to have an attorney to appeal your property assessment, but there are many advantages of having one. If you choose to represent yourself at the formal hearing without being properly prepared, be advised that the assessed value for your home may actually increase as a result of the hearing.

The Kisner Law Firm

The Kisner Law Firm is already representing hundreds of owners across Allegheny County, and we can step in at any time up until your hearing if you have one coming up. We need at least one week notice before the hearing date so we can fully prepare. When the hearing date arrives, you don't even need to attend. For a low flat fee, we will take care of everything for you at the informal and formal hearings, and even at the Board of Viewers (if necessary). The Kisner Law Firm can provide you with a free evaluation of your case and the kind of evidence we can put together for your appeal. Our firm uses professional-level real estate tools including a real estate database powered by RealSTATs that allows us to analyze any property in Allegheny County by looking at the statistical information and comparable sales data. Contact the Kisner Law Firm today for an evaluation of your case so you can win the fight to lower your real estate taxes.

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