Do you think you might be entitled to a reduction in your property taxes? If so, now is the time to take a look and determine if you should file an appeal. We asked Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco shareholder and assessment appeal specialist Jane Richardson to outline the process:
Deadline: The deadline to file an appeal from your assessment for property located within Chester County is August 1, 2016 for the 2017 tax year. While most surrounding counties (Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks) share this August 1 deadline, be alert that other counties may have different deadlines.
- Who Should File an Appeal: The current assessment on your property should be reviewed, and a reliable determination of current fair market value should be obtained, in order to determine whether an appeal is warranted. This can be done by a professional appraiser or, if you just purchased your home, compare the purchase price to the fair market value implied by the assessment. The implied fair market value is determined by dividing the assessed value by the common level ratio (currently 55.4% for Chester County).
For example, if you recently purchased property for $425,000 and the assessed value is $350,000, an appeal may be warranted. The assessed value of $350,000 when divided by .554 implies a fair market value of $631,770 – higher than the fair market value indicated by the purchase price of $425,000.
- Can the Assessment Be Increased If I File An Appeal: Yes. Once you file an appeal, the assessment is opened up for review. The assessment can be decreased, increased or left the same.
- How Do I File An Appeal: The Chester County Assessment Office provides appeal forms for use in the appeal of residential or commercial properties and you may feel comfortable doing this yourself. The proceeding before the Board of Assessment Appeals is intended for property owners to be able to proceed without a lawyer, however many owners chose to seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in this area in order to avoid pitfalls and in an effort to maximize savings and complete the process as expeditiously as possible.
If you would like assistance, or further information, please contact Jane Richardson at (610) 299-5456.