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Assessment Appeals: Frequently Asked Questions

BW-SQ-City-150x150.jpgThe court-ordered 2013 property reassessment leaves many Allegheny County property owners with questions. Information comes from many sources-the media, the courts, and the county-and sometimes it can be hard to digest all of it. In talking to hundreds of property owners in Allegheny County, we have found that some questions keep coming up. So this page includes many of the most frequently asked questions about the 2013 reassessment and the assessment appeal process.

How much are my taxes going to increase?

The exact amount of your tax increase will not be known until all 2013 millage rates are published. But it is not necessarily true that an increased assessed value will mean increased taxes, because taxing authorities are required to adjust their millage rates down to account for a reassessment that raises values across the board.

How much will I save if I get a reduction in my assessed value?

A good rule of thumb is that every $10,000 in assessed value means $250-$300 per year in taxes.

Should I hire an attorney to represent me at the appeal hearing?

Property owners can represent themselves at the appeal hearing and at the Board of Viewers, but it may be a bad idea. Experienced attorneys will give you the best chance at reducing your value and your tax bill. At the Kisner Law Firm, we know how to put together the strongest possible case for the lowest possible value. After we provide a complimentary evaluation, we only recommend retaining our firm if we believe we have a strong case.

How long does it take to get results back after the formal appeal hearing?

So far, in 2013, we are finding that most results take at least 6-12 weeks to be mailed after the hearing date.

How long do I have to appeal to the Board of Viewers?

If you are not satisfied with the result of the formal appeal hearing, you must appeal to the Board of Viewers within 30 days by filing with the Court of Common Pleas.

Is it too late to start an appeal this year?

The deadline to file a formal appeal was April 2, 2012. The court did allow late appeals to be filed as recently as August 28, but it is unlikely that any any more new appeals will be allowed in the year 2012. However, there may be another opportunity for owners to appeal early in 2013, just as they can in a typical (non-reassessment) year.

Allegheny County, board of viewers, Court-Ordered Reassessment, formal appeal, formal assessment appeal, formal hearing, kisner law firm, late appeal, late assessment appeal, late property assessment appeal, Property Tax Appeals, Real Estate Assessment Ap

BW-Bridge-SQ-150x150.jpgAlthough the official April 2 deadline to file formal appeals is long past, Judge Wettick allowed hundreds of property owners to file their appeals late. Approximately 500 owners appeared Tuesday, August 28, to present their motions for late appeals. The county, municipalities, and school districts that could have opposed the motions for late appeals chose not to contest them, so the court granted the motions.

The next step for these owners is to wait until notified by the Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review that the appeal has been processed. The county will automatically schedule an assessment appeal hearing.

How long does it take to get a hearing and get results?

In our experience so far this year, the county sometimes takes several months from the date of filing an appeal until the hearing is scheduled. We know that some appeals filed on April 2 still have no hearing date scheduled yet. When the hearing notices are mailed out, they may be sent only 1 or 2 weeks before the date of the hearing. We expect hearings to continue through the fall. We know the county is working hard to complete all the appeals by the end of the year.

After a hearing is held, the results are usually not mailed for another 6-8 weeks. If the property owner or a taxing body is not satisfied with the results, the case can be appealed to the Board of Viewers.

The Kisner Law Firm can help

Even though these owners won the right to have an appeal this year, they still need to win the actual appeal. If you are an owner who won the right to file a late appeal, the Kisner Law Firm is ready to step in and represent you to give you the best chance of reducing your assessed value. For a low flat fee, we will:

  • Analyze your property using our professional-level databases
  • Prepare a strong body of evidence for your appeal
  • Represent you at your hearing
  • If necessary, appeal to the Board of Viewers

We are pleased to provide all potential clients with complimentary evaluations of their properties. If we don't think the case is strong, we won't recommend that the property owner spend more money hiring an attorney. But if we believe we can put together a strong case, we will move forward with representation. If you have any questions about the assessment appeal process, or if you need representation for an upcoming hearing, contact the Kisner Law Firm today.

Allegheny County Reassessments - Final Informal Decisions

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Many of the nearly 69,000 Allegheny County property owners who requested informal appeals as a result of the $11 million court-ordered real-estate revaluation are still waiting on decisions from their hearings. These decisions could have a considerable impact on County property owners moving forward into the formal appeal proceedings. Approximately 47% of property owners who filed informal appeals were awarded a reduction in their assessed value, though some of these homeowners will see less than $10,000 shaved off of their tax bills. As a result, some of the 100,000-plus property owners who filed formal appeals may drop their challenges. Many property owners, however, will not receive a favorable decision. To be sure, half of of the informal appeals resulted in no change at all to the value of their property and three (3) percent even saw an increase in their assessed value. For these individuals, a special appeal may represent the best opportunity to effectively dispute their reassessment. Whether you have already filed a formal appeal, received unfavorable informal results, or missed the April 2nd deadline and would like to file a late appeal, the Kisner Law Firm may be able to help you.

Presenting Your Best Case

The Kisner Law Firm is already representing hundreds of owners across Allegheny County. 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. This methodology allows us to present the best possible case at your appeal.

Filing A Late Formal Appeal

While the deadline to file an appeal for the 2013 reassessed values has already passed, it may not be too late to get your appeal filed. In late August, Judge R. Stanton Wettick is hearing Motions to file late appeals. Following the procedures prescribed by the County, Kisner Law Firm can step in immediately on your behalf and represent your interests before both Judge Wettick and the Review Board. The experience and professional services offered by Kisner Law Firm can greatly increase the likelihood that your late appeal will be accepted. Don't miss out on the last opportunity of the year to save yourself hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in real estate taxes.

Kisner Law Firm

The Kisner Law Firm can step in at any time to provide representation, even if you have already had your formal hearing. When the hearing date or court date (for Board of Viewer appeals) arrives, you don't even need to attend. For a low flat fee, we will take care of everything for you at the formal hearing and even at the Board of Viewers (if necessary). We need at least one week notice so we can fully prepare. 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. Contact the Kisner Law Firm today for an evaluation of your case so you can win the fight to lower your real estate taxes.

Reassessing Property Reassessments

BW-SQ-City-County-Bldg.jpgAllegheny County Property Reassessments have been a hot topic for County residents and lawmakers for the majority of 2012. Recently, the Pennsylvania State Legislature removed a provision from Senate Bill 1546 which would have allowed counties to opt out of court-ordered reassessments. For Allegheny County property owners, this means that the County will proceed with the court-ordered reassessments and that property owners will see a change in their tax bills for 2013. Because it is unlikely that another countywide reassessment will take place in the next 10 years, these new values could stay with property owners for another decade. With tax implications potentially lasting another 10 years, now, more than ever, it is important for property owners to consider an assessment appeal.

It's Not Too Late

While the deadline to file an appeal for the 2013 reassessed values has already passed, it may not be too late to get your appeal filed. For those of you who missed the April 2 deadline, Kisner Law Firm may be able to help you with a late appeal.

In late August, Judge R. Stanton Wettick is hearing Motions to file late appeals. Following the procedures prescribed by the County, Kisner Law Firm can step in immediately on your behalf and represent your interests before both Judge Wettick and the Review Board. The experience and professional services offered by Kisner Law Firm can greatly increase the likelihood that your late appeal will be accepted. Don't miss out on the last opportunity of the year to save yourself hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in real estate taxes.

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 to provide representation, even if you have already had your formal hearing. We need at least one week notice so we can fully prepare. When the hearing date or court date (for Board of Viewer appeals) arrives, you don't even need to attend. For a low flat fee, we will take care of everything for you at the formal hearing 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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