Countywide reassessment is especially important in Pennsylvania, which is one of only eight states without a regular reassessment schedule. In general, taxable assessed values do not change in Pennsylvania without a change event, a countywide reassessment, an appeal, construction, or demolition. Additionally, Pennsylvania does not have a state agency to oversee the property valuation and assessment process. Most counties do not undergo reassessment for decades.
When a county finally does reassess property values, they must review every property in the county to determine whether the value and methodology measures are fair, equitable, and uniform. During that year, the taxable assessed value and the fair market value for each property are equal. As such, the county equalization ratio for that year is 100%. The year of reassessment is known as the base year. The base year value will become the new taxable assessed value for that property until a change event occurs.
Each year, the state’s Tax Equalization Division (TED) reviews two-year-old, arm’s-length sales of all property types from each county. TED then sets equalization ratios for each county based on the average difference of sale price vs. base year assessment. These ratios are applied to the base year value and indicate current market values. These ratios cause fluctuations in the fair market value of a property each year.
The following counties have announced they are undergoing countywide reassessments during the 2022 calendar year:
- Wayne County – last reassessment 2004
- Beaver County – last reassessment 1982
Each of these counties will release their new, 100% market value assessment notices in March 2022.
A countywide reassessment typically provides for an informal appeal process, sometimes limited to discussing errors in building size, lot size, age, or other physical characteristics. Third-party revaluation firms largely stopped discussing value at the informal hearings several years ago as a time-saving measure. The informal appeal process is still important for significant valuation issues related to physical characteristics, as it can potentially save a property owner third-party legal and appraisal expenses, which are required for a formal appeal.
After revaluation, the new base year assessed values will hold for an estimated 10–15 years. Ryan’s local experts recommend owners with properties in these counties forward assessment notices to our team upon receipt. There is typically a 30-day or less window of opportunity to have corrections made on the proposed new values through appeal and minimize taxes.
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