I have written a number of posts about the process of filing tax appeals in Yardley, Newtown and all over Bucks County. From the comments that I get whenever I post about tax appeals, there is a great deal of confusion about the process.
There was an article in the Bucks County Courier Times on June 3rd that mentioned how the pace of assessment appeals has slowed in Bucks County. In fact, according to the article, only about 400 property owners have applied to the Bucks County Board of Assessment thus far, seeking to reduce their tax bills by appealing their properties assessed value. The article further states that appeals filed have slowed throughout Bucks County since 2009.
The actual process for filing an appeal is really quite simple. The biggest challenge that most home owners face, is trying to understand whether they have a case or not.
In Bucks County, every property has an assessment for tax purposes that can be found on your real estate tax bill. The question for the purpose of filing a tax appeal, is whether a particular property is assessed a value that is consistent with its fair market value.
Each year the, "State Tax Equalization Board" establishes a value that, in theory, equates the assessed value of any property in Yardley, Newtown or anywhere in Bucks County, to the fair market value. A couple of years ago, that value was .109.
So, for example, if you had a house whose assessment was 40,000, you would divide the assessment of 40,000 by .109 and the value (in this case, 366,972) would represent the value at which the house was being taxed. If the actual fair market value was lower than that, then that particular home owner would have a case to argue that their assessment was too high.
In general, real estate taxes in Bucks County are unfavorably skewed against newer properties, relative to fair market value.
In order to file an appeal, you have to go to the Bucks County Board of Assessment website at www.BucksCounty.org. For residential properties in Bucks County, the cost to file an appeal is $25.00. The deadline to file an appeal is August 1st.
After filing the appeal, the County will notify you when your hearing is being held. You actually don't have to go to the appeal; you can send information supporting your case and the hearing will take place without you. However, I normally recommend attending the hearing.
I have found that the best evidence to support your position is an actual appraisal, unless you have recently purchased the house. If you are a recent buyer, you can use your settlement statement as evidence of fair market value, to support your case.
I have helped many, many people in Yardley, Newtown and all over Bucks County, with tax appeal questions. If you need help, please feel free to contact me at Marty@MartinMillner.com or 215-519-1399.