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Prepare now for Allegheny County Real Estate Assessments

"If the county has no direction as to what address the taxpayer prefers, it uses the property address as a default. Commercial property owners will often want their change notices to go to corporate headquarters and not to the property address..."

by Sharon DiPaolo, Esq., as published by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2011

There are a few simple things Allegheny County property owners can do now to prepare for their 2012 property assessments.

For city properties, new assessments will be mailed in December 2011. Informal hearings will be held in December 2011 and January 2012. The deadline to file formal appeals is Feb. 3, 2012.

No specific timetable is available for properties outside of the city, but based upon Allegheny County's progress in the reassessment project, notices will likely be mailed in late spring 2012 with a similar timetable for informal and formal appeals.

Even before receiving their new assessments, property owners can get ready now:

Check Your Addresses. The county maintains two addresses for every tax parcel -- the Change Notice Mailing address and the Tax Bill Mailing Address. If the county has no direction as to what address the taxpayer prefers, it uses the property address as a default. Commercial property owners will often want their change notices to go to corporate headquarters and not to the property address. Residential property owners will likely prefer to receive notice of changes in their assessments at the property address, rather than, say, their mortgage company.

To check your addresses go to http://www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx, type in your property address or parcel -- the two addresses for your property are listed on the bottom of the General Information tab.

To change your addresses, go to http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/re/addrchg.aspx, and complete the Request for Address Change Form, and follow the directions for submission.

Important: The website instructions state that to change the Tax Bill Mailing address, one must notify both the Department of Real Estate and the County Treasurer's office -- the form itself omits the instruction that one must also make the submission to the County Treasurer's office.

Gather Your Information. Getting your information organized now will allow you to hit the ground running when you receive your  preliminary notice.

For commercial properties, this means assembling the last three years of income statements, last three years of rent rolls, the lease (for a single-tenant property), and details concerning the structure (building size, acreage, year built and site plans) for owner-occupied properties.

Residential property owners should assemble information regarding sales of homes in their immediate neighborhood, any repair estimates for their home and photos of any problems with their home.

dipaolo web Sharon F. DiPaolo is a partner in the law firm of Siegel Siegel Johnson & Jennings, the Ohio and Western Pennsylvania member of American Property Tax Counsel, the national affiliation of property tax attorneys. She can be reached at sdipaolo@siegeltax.com.

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