04.21.2012
Article

Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals Revisited

With the continuing economic slump, real estate owners are faced with a second burden; real estate taxes. Typically, the greatest annual expense a property owner must pay for is real estate taxes.  It is not unusual for owners of commercial and/or residential property to be startled by their tax bills.  Incorrect tax assessments of real estate are a growing problem in our region. A tax assessment is the county's valuation of your property. When the assessment is incorrect or does not accurately represent your property’s current fair market value, the resulting tax bill creates an unfair and burdensome obligation for you, the property owner.

Your real estate tax assessment might be based on an inflated and inaccurate valuation that existed before you even owned the property.  Also, it is likely that your residential, commercial, or industrial real estate may have significantly dropped in value since the last county-wide assessment. The last county assessment was performed for York County in 2005. The assessment of your property cannot be adjusted unless you file a property tax appeal. If you do not appeal your property tax assessment, you may continue to pay excess taxes while you own the property. Once paid, these taxes are not refundable.  Further, if you plan on selling your property, an inflated tax assessment may reduce the marketability of your property.

Additionally, very few people are aware that the assessed value shown on your real estate tax bills are essentially multiplied by an inflationary index of 1.19 by the local Taxing Authorities when calculating your tax bills.  The calculation is intended to represent the current Fair Market Value of the property.  This is done to make-up for the perceived inflationary increase in value on real estate in York County since 2005. Many residents of York County are finding that their property did not appreciate 19% since 2005 and in fact as a result they are entitled to tax relief in the form of lowering their real estate tax assessment. 

The process for filing a tax assessment appeal for real estate in York County is not a complicated process if you are familiar with the civil procedures of the appeal process and possess expertise in the real estate appraisal process.  Here at CGA Law Firm we possess all of the expertise and skills necessary to guide you through this process as quickly and as cost efficiently as possible.  The annual deadline for filing a tax assessment appeal is August 1, 2012.  In order to obtain relief from all local taxes, however, a property owner should file a tax assessment appeal prior to June 30, 2012.

The legal fees and costs associated with the process are typically a fraction of one year’s worth of real estate tax savings.  If you are interested in a consultation to discuss your property and the tax assessment appeals process, please contact CGA’s Real Estate Department at 717-848-4900. 

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