Appealing Tax Assessment? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Appealing Tax Assessment?

Ok... the tax collectors have our camp assessed at a greater value then what we purchased the camp for so I am appealing it. Now my question for you guys is in the form it asks for reasons for appeal. Should I simply state the camp is assessed for a greater value then what is was purchased for? Any and all help with the wording and what not would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks...
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 03:56 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

Purchase price has nothing to do with the assessed value. Assessed value is usually based on square footage + other ammenaties (# of rooms, spetic/water vs public water/sewage, lot size etc...) Just cause you got a deal doesn't mean they will change you assessment.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:00 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

Squeaks...ddx is right. Purchase price and assesmet price are two different things.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

$11,000 difference don't you think it's worth appealing?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:28 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

Squeaks
Did you just purchase the camp?? How much time has gone by since the purchase?

Let me say a few things that might do against you but I'll try to help. Not trying to give you any bad mojo,just feel you should know what your up against.

If you purchased the camp for say 50K and they are saying the camp is say 60K, you have to prove the value of the property is still at 50K. Here is what happens:
They say with the ajoining properties, value of the camp,property that the camp sits on,etc,is NOW worth more than the price you paid. Just because you paid 50K,the courts will not look at what you paid but what the value is. The county usually has a person that testifies for them and says that the property is worth XXXX. That person is usually a real estate agent hired by the county. They have a license to prove that they feel the property is worth XXXX. What helps is if you have another real estate agent that will testify FOR you and say it's only worth this $$$$$. This is leagal for them to do this in the sate of PA. It' been fought long and hard but still it's legal. WHY??? Well, if I had a person sell me a house and I slipped them 30K under the table and said, hey,we're gonna write this up for 20K for a 50K house, the legal document will show the purchase went thru the courthouse as showing the property sold for $20K,when reality the property is worth so much more. Now the County, school districts, township,etc base their taxes that they charge on you---on the value. With all the belt tightening going around, all of the counties,townships,etc are looking for more money.
So thats why they are going out there and watching--especially new purchases, and not going by the old values.

You can try this yourself by searching all of the ajoining properties that are similair to yours and see what their properties are valued at. Use this info to bring to court during the tax hearing. TAKE PICTURES!!!! Use the same court documents and tax info that they will use against you. Now you know why I'm saying use a real estate agent. If the purchase was just made, use the same agent that sold the house to you and have him testify why he sold the camp at the price he did. You end up with his reputation against the other agent....Not always good. If you hire an attorney, look for one that has real estate history. If you get a settlement company, use a popular one. I know one in Tioga county but that propbably doesn't help you.

Not sure it's any help for you but If I think of anything else, I'll get back to you. Wish I could do more.

Big D

Now for even more bad news. Now this is only my assessment of what takes place in my county in Schuylkill. When these cases go to court, most times, they side with the school district,county,township,etc. Unless they have really good proof,it doesn't go far.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:32 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

Yes indeed. They don't know if your grandad sold you the place for $1 or Uncle Jim sold his share for $10,000. If the place is worth $100K, that is what you will pay taxes based upon.

Many counties go strictly by assuming it is flat land and square footage of the buildings. They price a 2,000 square foot tar paper shack the same as a marble covered 2,000 sq ft Mcmansion.

You need to find out how the value was calculated. Most counties will give you just two prices, land and buildings. But there is more than that. What is the character of the land. Steep side of a ravine unsuitable for goat grazing, or flat. Is the ground subject to any easements, rights of way, or use restrictions due to wet lands, mineral rights, etc. Open, wooded, etc.

As for the out buildinngs, if any, are they correctly described and measured. Is it a new pole barn or an old shed with a swayback roof and racked walls. Generally, dwelling values are not dependent on what kind of siding, how fresh the paint etc.

(when I bought my place the tax folks had been assessing for a bank barn that had been burned down 14 years earlier.)

Get a US topo map of the land to show slope and or wet lands. Photograph rocky outcroppings, etc. What are the municipal restrictions if any to improvements or additions.

Are there any subdivision opportunities, or restrictions. Any building rights?

Lastly, you may well need a certified real estate appraiser to give a value. Around here the going price is $350 for a written appraisal that includes comps, pictures, search of restrictions etc.

It is not rocket science to fight an assessment, but you need to start by getting the assessor's report and calculations. When he/she visited and whether the information listed is correct. Then line up your evidence, appraiser etc.

All of your evidence needs to be provided at least a 15 or 21 days before the hearing. A hearing won't be scheduled until after you file an appeal. In York County, it may take 6 weeks after filing an appeal til a notice of a hearing date is sent out and they generally give a month's notice of the hearing date.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 05:13 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

Ask yourself how much you would ask if you were to sell the place, not what you paid for it. Is the assessment still too high?
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 07:37 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

If that co. is going through reasssment like many counties are they will lower the millage before you get your tax bill. you won't get a true picture until then.



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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 07:59 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

I just went through it with my house and lost I might add. Just sent a letter asking them to buy my house for what it was assessed for. It is 33000.00 more than what the refinance co said it was worth 2 months earlier.

MY GUN MY RIGHT !!!
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 08:57 PM
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Re: Appealing Tax Assessment?

I've successfully appealed two RE tax assessments over the past 35 years. The latest one was about 5 years ago.

You can find the info on assessments of similar, nearby properties at the county court house. Compare them to what your assessment is, for starters.

Apples/oranges won't make it. Any property you select for your appeal, should be as similar as possible to your property: Same type of dwelling; similar acreage; similar number of accessory buildings, etc.

I gathered info on a half dozen similar neighborhood properties, when I appealed the initial assessemnt on the new house I'd just built in the '70s, for example. All had lower assessments than mine and most had more square footage and other amenities which my house didn't have, all of which "proved" my taxes were too high by comparion.

The assessor claimed some of them were built by "inferior" builders, but one was built by the same contractor I worked for at the time, which caused him some embarassment.



The last appeal I won wasn't all that hard, since the assessor had made several glaring mistakes in her assessment. Our county uses a three "judge" panel to hear appeals (two were retired RE agents).

I "made my case", the assessor's office made theirs and the panel decided within a few minutes that they'd made several mistakes and indicated that our new tax assessment would be lowered. IIRC, it took several weeks before we received the official notice?

Some folks' learnin' curves just look like circles...3A Camp/also hunt 4B
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