For an annual assessment appeal, your only opportunity to appeal your property tax is defined by an open season, which is usually during the summer and varies by county. For example, Chester County and Lancaster County each have open season for filing an annual property assessment appeal from May 1st to August 1st. In order to file your assessment appeal, Commonwealth will complete the county’s application form and submit it along with your filing fee. Further, we will also need to submit a signed authorization document with your application that authorizes Commonwealth to file your appeal and hire an attorney to attend an oral hearing on your behalf.
Oral Hearing and Decision
Following receipt of the application for appeal, the county will mail to each of us a copy of the Hearing Notice, which provides a date, time, and location of your oral hearing. Commonwealth will hire an attorney to attend an oral hearing on your behalf and your attendance is usually not required. The county will also mail a copy of the Hearing Notice to the relevant taxing authorities, which may lead to their attendance at your oral hearing.
At the hearing, the burden is on the property owner’s representative to prove that the property is over-assessed. In order to meet that burden, Commonwealth will present evidence of your property’s fair market value (e.g., an appraisal report prepared by a PA certified appraiser). If you recently purchased your property, we may also present a copy of your settlement statement (e.g., HUD-1, ALTA, etc.) that proves your purchase price. The Board of Assessment Appeals will review the evidence that we provide and may seek clarification or ask questions regarding the evidence and/or features of your property. We will address the Board’s questions and request a reduction in assessment that is consistent with the supplied evidence. A written formal decision will be mailed to each of us at a later time, but typically in the fall.
Effective Date of Successful Annual Assessment Appeal
In most situations, your reduced assessment will be effective at the beginning of the next tax year. For example, if you receive a reduced assessment based on an appeal filed in the summer of 2017, your new assessment will be effective in January 2018.