Real Estate Tax Appeals

If you are like most folks, your home is the largest purchase you will ever make. Accordingly, the cost of owning your home must fit into your family’s budget. Homeowners are often shocked to find out the high cost of real estate taxes associated with their new home, or worse, an unwelcome increase after their county mandates county-wide property value reassessments. The assessed value assigned to your home is a critical factor in determining what you will owe in real estate tax each year, often for many years to come. At Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark, LLP, our attorneys fight for homeowners in Delaware County and beyond for fair assessed values. 

Appealing Your Home’s Assessed Value 

Not all counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania handle property tax assessments in the same manner. Furthermore, many homeowners are frankly often unaware if they are overpaying property tax due to an unfair assessment. Currently, in Delaware County, there are a growing number of homeowners considering appealing their homes’ assessed values and for good reason. In 2020, Delaware County completed a reassessment of all property within the county—the first time in roughly two decades that they had done so. At this point, every property owner in Delaware County should have received via mail a new property assessment, notifying them of their tentative property value, effective tax year 2021. 

So, how can homeowners in Delaware County determine if the new assessed value of a property fair? The new assessments should represent 100% of fair market value of your home on July 1, 2019. If you feel that the assessment provided to you in 2020 is not fairly representative of your home’s value in July of 2019, you should call our office to begin determining your options for an appeal.  

Why it Matters Now and Later 

It is important to note that, in Pennsylvania, local governments can’t legally use these reassessments to raise revenue. So, if all property assessments increase as compared to prior assessments, in Delaware County, for example, the county would be required to adjust its tax rates for the next year so as not to show an increase in cumulative revenue from the tax base. These rates are known as a millage rate, and they change from county to county. They can also change from year to year. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that the county is not the only entity applying a millage rate for the purposes of assessing taxes. Your school district does and so does your municipality. While the county maintains that this is all being done in the name of fairness, there is little question that many property owners will be paying more than their fair share if assessments go unchallenged. Our advice is don’t be one of them. What’s more is that it is not beyond imagination that, at some point, the county, your school district or your municipality might raise their respective millage rate. At that point, without a successful appeal, you would be left paying a higher percentage of your unfairly-assessed property value. Whether you live in Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County or anywhere in the Greater Philadelphia area, there is never a good reason to overpay your property taxes.  

It’s Never Too Late to Act 

Each government entity may run on a different schedule regarding when they apply your property’s assessed value to your annual tax liability. Furthermore, there is a deadline each year to appeal in advance of they next year’s taxes. Either way, if you think that your property’s value has been unfairly assessed waiting to act is not going to get you anywhere. Take action today and contact the law offices of Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark, LLP to determine the best course of action for your case.