Reed Smith Client Alert

Authors: Dusty Elias Kirk

Allegheny County’s Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review continues to hold hearings of tax appeals of the countywide reassessment figures, which are to be implemented for the first time in tax year 2013. In recent weeks, however, a number owners of real property in the City of Pittsburgh have received "Notice of Interim Assessments" that apply to the assessments that were used for tax year 2012. These interim changes were purportedly made at the behest of a taxing jurisdiction – either the Pittsburgh Public Schools or the City of Pittsburgh. Such interim assessments might follow new construction or major improvements – like building additions – if the work was completed in 2012. Most of these interim assessment changes we have seen indicate that the Office of Property Assessments has significantly raised the 2012 assessment retroactively, and for all of tax year 2012. This would result in an obligation on the property owner to pay additional taxes for tax year 2012.

There may be legal defenses to such an interim change notice that need to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. As such, we recommend that you contact us if you receive such a Notice of Interim Assessment.

In addition, the beginning of the new calendar year is historically a time when the Office of Property Assessments issues Assessment Change Notices. Property owners should be on the lookout for such change notices, particularly if there have been physical changes to the property in 2012, such as a subdivision or construction work under a building permit.

Note that a property owner has 30 days from the mailing date stated on the 2012 Notice of Interim Assessment or the 2013 Notice of Assessment Change to initiate a timely appeal.

The deadline for filing appeals of the countywide reassessment figures was April 2, 2012.  Recently, however, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald proposed legislation to permit another deadline for the filing of appeals for tax year 2013. If Allegheny County Council approves this legislation, which appears likely, property owners will have another chance to appeal their reassessments. This new deadline is anticipated to be April 1, 2013.

Keep posted for further developments.


Client Alert 2013-016