Prior to initiating the formal appeal process, Allegheny County is allowing property owners to file an informal appeal first. This is an expedited challenge consisting of a brief administrative hearing before a county real estate professional. For the 2012 reassessments, property owners can both correct inaccuracies in their property specifications as well as challenge assessment values (a change from previous years). The most significant difference between the informal and formal hearings is that representatives of the taxing authorities are NOT present for the informal hearings. Therefore, property owners can present their evidence without it being challenged by these parties.
Property Tax Appeals in Allegheny County are a two-tiered process. First, assessment appeals go to the BPAAR (Board of Property Assessment Appeal & Review). Second, appeals from that proceeding go to the BOV (Board of Viewers). The Process through both hearings can take between 1 to 3 years and is retroactive to the original filing date.
Appeal hearings provide property owners and/or taxing bodies an opportunity to present evidence to challenge the County’s certified assessment. Property owners, other interested parties, and the three taxing bodies can present evidence at the hearing. The Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review (BPAAR) will conduct one hearing per property, regardless of whether more than one party filed an appeal on the parcel. The BPAAR does not advocate for any party’s position and conducts its hearings in an impartial manner.
The BPAAR will increase, decrease or sustain the assessment based on the evidence of value presented at the hearing.
Don’t ignore Notices that you receive regarding reassessment and read them carefully! If you fail to promptly act, you may lose the opportunity to challenge the assessed value and save yourself considerable amounts of money! All decisions from the appeal process currently state: “The decision of the Board is final”. This is misleading – the outcome of the Board of Property Assessment and Review hearing can be appealed within 30 days of the decision by any of the parties involved.