City Proposes Changes to Appeal Standards

City Proposes Changes to Appeal Standards

As we have written in the past few years, there are various standards that taxing bodies use to decide whether to appeal the assessment of property.  Most times it is based on the sale price of a property compared to its assessment, and, if there is a standard met (sales price exceeds assessed value by a specific dollar amount, percentage, etc.) the taxing body will appeal.  There will always be an arbitrary nature to the process based on where the standard is set.

The City of Pittsburgh will now consider changes to its appeal standard based on a resolution (as of this writing, the Council agenda lists the resolution’s intent but there is no link to the specifics) that would include “…zero appeals of any property assessments within two years of purchasing the property; limits on the appeal on property assessments to once every three years; appeal values downward for properties where the assessment is 50 percent greater than their actual market value; and design a system to select properties to appeal, either upward or downward, based on comparable values rather than sales alone.”

From 2014 data on appeals in Allegheny County that we summarized in this Brief the City of Pittsburgh appealed 1,195 property values that year.  According to the article, the City expects to handle about 1,300 appeals this year, but the Finance Department does not expect that the changes proposed by the resolution will change that total much.