Pittsburgh Property Taxes
Property taxes are complicated. Just take a look at your property tax bill from the Allegheny County office. Deciphering the calculation is hard enough for Pittsburgh residents. More often than not, homeowners also need to figure out the different standards of values and evidence and the procedures for filing a property tax appeal. And while you can appeal your taxes, we recommend enlisting the help of a property tax law firm in the city of Pittsburgh. Let’s look at what property taxes are and how they are calculated, how a law firm can help, and the attributes of a good property tax lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA.
What are Property Taxes, and How are They Calculated?
Property taxes are a form of tax imposed on commercial, industrial and residential properties. Unlike other taxes, Pennsylvania administers property tax at the county level rather than the federal government level. The city of Pittsburgh uses the revenue from real estate taxes to fund all kinds of services – police departments, school districts, garbage removal, water, local libraries, and more. Property tax is one of the primary sources of income for county governments.
Pennsylvania real estate taxes include county, school district, and municipality taxes. They vary depending on the county. The assessed values often fall between 1% and 2% of property values and average 1.55%. Tax assessors calculate the value of real estate tax payable through property assessment, where they assess the value of your land and any buildings on it. The state of Pennsylvania uses the mill levy system to determine tax payable.
The property tax in Pennsylvania is among the highest in the country, with public school costs making a bulk of tax bills. However, some residents are privy to tax relief through the Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program.
In Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessment determines the property value by applying millage rates to the assessed value. If you pay your county taxes by February 10th, you can take a 2% discount on either the total annual tax due or the first installment of tax due.
How Can a Law Firm Save You Money on Your Property Tax Bill in Pittsburgh?
Do you believe that your property’s assessed market value is less than the assessed value? Are you looking for ways to reduce your tax rates? You have options available to you to dispute property assessments in metropolitan Pittsburgh. At JP Ward, we have extensive knowledge and experience in helping Pittsburgh homeowners challenge property assessments and real estate tax.
The property tax appeal process is quite complicated. It requires time and experience to complete correctly. Successfully reducing assessed values is nearly impossible for someone without tax law knowledge.
A Pittsburgh law firm specializing in property tax law is a valuable investment. Their team knows how to conduct property research, understands the annual deadlines to file appeals in Allegheny county, and how to build a compelling case to reduce your property assessment value. Its mission is to protect the private property rights of taxpayers in Pittsburgh.
A property tax lawyer can present your tax dispute at any level. They can expedite your paperwork through the most efficient channels, submit documents to the appropriate agencies, and clear every deadline.
Property tax lawyers use probative evidence to estimate the fair market value of your property. The evidence may include analysis of similar sales data and an independent appraisal by a qualified appraiser. The appraiser must be able to qualify their valuation based on a cost approach, an income approach, a sales comparison approach, or a combination of all three.
Property values tend to drop after a natural disaster, and the county valuation may not always reflect the damage. In such a case, you end up with a higher tax bill than appropriate. A property tax lawyer will work to ensure that your tax bill is adjusted accordingly, saving you time and money.
Finding the Best Property Tax Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA
Property tax appeal is a small niche area of law that can prove tricky for inexperienced attorneys. When hiring a property tax lawyer to contest real estate assessments in Allegheny county, you must consider the following attributes.
- Litigation Skills: Several real estate tax cases, especially the larger ones, end up in court. When that happens, a lawyer that’s not afraid to litigate and has been in front of a judge may prove invaluable. Look for a lawyer who is a good litigator and doesn’t need to rely on outside counsel to argue for assessment reduction in court.
- Negotiation Skills: The best possible outcome in assessment appeals is when there is a reduction in tax bills. A large part of the appeals process involves negotiating with the county assessor, treasurer’s office, and other relevant parties to avoid going to court.
- Legal Knowledge: Any lawyer you meet within the city of Pittsburgh, PA, should have extensive knowledge of the law. Continue your search if a lawyer needs to defer to research during the initial consultation. The best law firm should answer your questions without doing further research.
It’s essential to assess the honesty and demeanor of any attorney you interview. The following questions will help you determine if you’re hiring the right lawyer to contest the assessed value.
What Percentage of Your Practice is Real Estate Tax Appeals?
Many general practice attorneys in Allegheny County offering property tax appeals suggest that the appeals process is simply an exercise. That’s not what taxpayers want to hear. Property assessments are essential enough that you need the help of an attorney who specializes in this area.
What is Your Negotiation Style?
Negotiations play a critical role in the outcome of property taxes appeals. Therefore, you want a lawyer who is persistent and pleasant. If they are aggressive negotiators, they may alienate the very people who can adjust the market value of your property.
What are Some of Your Most Successful Property Tax Appeals?
A law firm’s prior cases can tell you a lot about the type of attorneys. The answer to this question will help you gauge the level of expertise and whether you’ll be comfortable working with the law firm.
Want to File an Appeal? Call J.P. Ward to Discuss Your Options in Allegheny County
If you feel you are a candidate for a property tax assessment appeal, contact our office today to discuss your options. Our lawyers will prepare the filings and help you obtain crucial evidence and information you might have during the appeal. We are dedicated to protecting your private property rights and have the experience of handling legal counseling, negotiations, and litigations on your behalf. Call us today at (412) 426-4878 to discuss your case.
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