Invoice to ban spot appeals would get rid of the Pennsylvania 'newcomer tax'

(The Heart Sq.) – The observe of spot appeals to reassess property taxes after a sale could also be coming to an finish in Pennsylvania.

Whereas the state’s uniformity clause prevents particular person properties from being singled out, that has not stopped some college districts in interesting assessments when a home is offered.

The Senate City Affairs & Housing Committee met to advance HB297, sponsored by Sen. David Argall, R-Berks/Schuylkill, that treats spot appeals as spot reassessments, which is prohibited by state legislation.

“My laws will take away a taxing jurisdiction’s capacity to attraction the evaluation of a property based mostly solely on the sale of the property,” Argall wrote in a legislative memo. “Taxing authorities could solely attraction an evaluation when the property has gone by means of a countywide reassessment, been divided into smaller parcels, or a change within the productive use of the property has occurred.”

“College districts, specifically, have been very aggressive in using this observe. Spot appeals can improve taxes on residential properties drastically,” Argall famous. “Two native residents have had their taxes raised by means of this unfair observe by $8,000 and $6,000, respectively. Moreover, property house owners in sure college districts concern making any enhancements to the outside of their property as a result of aggressive spot appeals and better property taxes.”

Allegheny County has attracted media consideration for utilizing spot appeals, the place it’s typically known as a “newcomer tax.” Property values have gone up, and a few college districts need to increase tax revenues with spot appeals, realizing will increase earlier than the subsequent reassessment.

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“I believe it’s a very well-intentioned invoice that really will get at plenty of completely different points we face,” mentioned Sen. Nikil Saval, D-Philadelphia. Saval, nevertheless, didn’t endorse the invoice.

“I consider that there’s a extra complete resolution to this,” Saval mentioned. “We might have extra dependable countywide assessments.”

Countywide reassessments fluctuate vastly, and state legislation leaves the timing of reassessments as much as the counties. Allegheny County hasn’t held a countywide reassessment since 2013, and a few counties, similar to Mercer County, haven’t reassessed property because the Seventies, for instance.

Pennsylvania is one in every of 9 states that has no state property reassessment requirement, based on the Tax Basis.

“The mix of rare reassessment with fee will increase shifts the property tax burden away from these whose property has been appreciating onto these whose property values have been declining,” Justin Higginbottom of the Tax Basis famous.