Lancaster County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Due August 1

July 6, 2011

Last week Derek Dissinger wrote about the changes to the Lancaster County common level ratios that went into effect on July 1. Another good date to remember in relation to the common level ratio changes is August 1, which is the due date for property tax assessment appeals.

The common level ratio (CLR) is important to property tax assessment appeals in that it is used most often to check the accuracy of the assessment against a recently obtained appraisal. We apply the CLR to the appraised value to see where the assessment ought to be. Taking the total millage rates for school, municipal and county, and multiplying them by the existing assessment and the assessed value we believe to be more accurate based on the appraisal, yields the annual tax burden. By comparing the two, we can estimate the annual savings that would result from obtaining a reduced assessment, and make an informed decision about the cost effectiveness of an appeal. In my previous article, Falling Real Estate Values Offer Opportunity for Property Tax Savings, I use my own home purchase to show how an appeal can create a substantial tax savings.

Most often, a recent appraisal, or a recent sale or purchase, of the property is necessary to establish fair market value. Again, the deadline to file assessment appeals is August 1, so if you would like some information about whether it makes sense for you to pursue, contact our office. 

Christina Hausner is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law and practices in a variety of areas including Real Estate.