FAQs

 

 

What is a property assessment? 

 

An assessment is a percentage of the market value of your property and is the foundation that the taxing authorities use to determine the amount of real estate taxes based on their tax rates.


Who actually sets my assessment?

The assessment is set by State licensed assessors employed by the County that hold the designation of Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator (CPE). The assessor does not set the tax rates. The assessor only sets the assessment based on a determination of the market value of your property and application of the applicable ratio. The individual taxing authorities set the tax rates for their respective municipality and school districts which are then applied to the assessment to determine the taxes due.


What is the difference between an assessment and taxes?

 

The assessment is the basis used by the County, boroughs, townships and school districts to levy taxes by multiplying the millage rate of the taxing authority times the assessment. The taxes are the actual dollar amount paid by an individual.

 

What is a Board of Assessment?

 

Counties within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have a Board of Assessment Appeals which has the responsibility to administer assessments. The Board is an independent agency appointed by the County Commissioners. The Board was specially created by the Pennsylvania Legislature to assess all real estate in the County for the taxing districts (County, Municipality, and School District). The Department has the authority to make all assessments of real property for taxation purposes. One of the Board’s duties is hearing assessment appeals.

 

What is Assessed Market Value (AMV)?

 

The Assessed Market Value (AMV) represents the amount the County determined to be the current Fair Market Value for the property. The AMV does not take into account factors that may affect the value of a property such as location, school district, condition, curb appeal, etc. In the example above, this Montgomery County property owner is being taxed as if their property is currently worth $623,886.00.

 

What is Fair Market Value (FMV)?

 

The Fair Market Value (FMV) is the price at which a willing buyer will purchase from a willing seller in an arms-length transaction. Market Value has been defined by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as “the price in a competitive market a purchaser, willing but not obligated to buy, would pay an owner, willing but not obligated to sell, taking into consideration all the legal uses to which the property can be adapted and might reasonably be applied.

What if the Fair Market Value (FMV) is less than the Assessed Market Value (AMV)?

 

If the FMV is less that the AMV than the assessment may be ripe for an appeal. For the appeal to be successful, the property owner must prove to the Board of Assessment that the current FMV of the property is less than the current AMV. Typically, this can be done by producing a current appraisal of the property or a recent settlement statement.

 

If my house was recently appraised for a refinance, can I use that appraisal?

 

No. Each appraisal is prepared for a specific intended use and a specific intended user. In this case your recent appraisal was prepared for a lender to use in evaluating the strength of your property for finance purposes. In the case of a tax assessment appeal, an appraisal is prepared to be used by you (and the assessment office) for the purpose of appealing your tax assessment.