Archive

Westmoreland assessment advice | TribLIVE.com
News

Westmoreland assessment advice

The Westmoreland County commissioners’ recent decision to permit tax bills to go out based on flawed assessments from the Nixon administration is based on faulty reasoning ( “Westmoreland County has no desire to reassess properties, commissioner says” ). It’s based on the fact that less than 2,000 appeals have been filed over the last two years and neutral-revenue laws that result in no additional income to taxing bodies from reassessment.

If the commissioners conducted a ratio study on the present assessments, assessment professionals wouldn’t be surprised to find 60,000 property owners countywide paying more than they should in taxes.

Other than reassessment, another way for owners to reduce the tax burden is through the appeals process. State law permits property owners a lower assessment on appeal if the present assessment is greater than 20 percent of the current real-time market value. If your home is worth $100,000, your assessment shouldn’t exceed $20,000. If many county property owners took the present assessment and applied the 20 percent rule to present value, there would be tens of thousands of appeals each year. This 20 percent rule also applies to commercial properties.

Since the county has made the decision to do nothing regarding assessments, it is up to individual owners to reduce their tax bills by appealing next year. At this time, the common level ratio of 19.8 percent must be applied to the present value on appeal. Review your assessment to see if you’re paying too much. Some of you might be pleasantly surprised.

Mike Suley

Mt. Lebanon

The writer is a state-certified assessor.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.