COVID-19 PROPERTY TAX ALERT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will there be a freeze on property tax increases?
Probably the opposite. Millage rates will likely increase. Philadelphia is facing a $649 million budget deficit. While property tax “freeze” legislation has been proposed, it is doubtful that Governor Wolf would sign such legislation given the objection of school districts. I expect school districts to be more aggressive in appealing property assessments given the shortfalls in revenue expected by municipalities and school districts.
I have a pending tax appeal in the court system. What should I expect?
Most county courts have indicated a return to normal court operations in mid to late May. Therefore, you should revisit your case. Be sure to have your appraisal updated and discuss with your attorney the status of any settlement discussions. Be aware that new tax years will also be at issue.
Have there been any changes in the discount and penalty payment periods?
Many municipalities have extended discount and penalty periods. Others have eliminated penalties. You can find that information on your county and/or municipal web sites. The link for Montgomery County is: https://www.montcopa.org/DocumentCenter/View/27832/Municipality-Tax-Deadlines
If I think my property value has decreased, should I file an assessment appeal?
Absolutely, provided that your appeal is supported by comparable sales or other relevant evidence. The filing deadlines for assessment appeals (typically July 31 or August 31 depending upon locality) have not yet changed. Filing your appeal as soon as possible as this year is likely to see a significant increase in appeal activity.
Do I need an appraisal?
Appraisals are strongly encouraged for commercial appeals. Mortgage appraisals will not suffice. Residential property owners may wish to obtain an appraisal, depending upon the extent of the reduction being sought. The best evidence are sales of comparable properties in your neighborhood. Arguing that your neighbor’s assessment is lower is not proof of value for your property.
What is the status of the Delaware county reassessment?
Delaware County already commenced the notification process for reassessments. The County has provided a limited window of time to schedule an informal review to challenge the tentative assessment. All informal hearings will permanently be conducted by telephone.
Will the Philadelphia 10-year tax abatement continue to exist?
Yes and no. A fast-tracked bill to reform the 10-year tax abatement has been passed out of a City Council committee and is on track for a final vote before the end of the year. The bill proposes to phase out the abatement incrementally (a 10% reduction annually), representing the most significant modification to the program since 2000.
For further information, please feel free to contact Neil Andrew Stein, Esquire at (610) 941-2469 or firstname.lastname@example.org.