As of right now, I’ve completed over 2,000 property tax appeals for 2011. It’s a good chance that if you live in a neighborhood in Berks County, PA or Chester County, PA, I can easily do yours – if I haven’t already.
Most people are simply intimidated by the tax appeal process – so I thought I would explain the procedure, and hopefully relieve any reluctance you would have to appeal your tax.
The most important thing to note is that your intention to appeal must be received by August 15th (Berks) or August 1st (Chester). If you miss this opportunity, you’ll have to wait until next year. Chester opens their appeal process on May 1, while Berks requires you to submit after July 1. The forms must be originals – and cannot be faxed or emailed.
Next, the “burden of proof” to establish your current market value is your responsibility. This is where I help. I provide you with the comparable sales data, your proposed market value, and your proposed assessment. I do this through simple mathematics, to level the ground throughout individual communities and neighborhoods. I provide you with all of the information you need on a cover letter to submit with your appeal. You need only to complete the county assessment office’s appeal form, and submit that with the information I provide to you via email.
You will be notified of your hearing date via mail. Please note that when you fill out the county form – it will ask you about days that you will be out of town, unable to attend a hearing. Please pay attention to this, as these hearings cannot be rescheduled.
Lastly, it’s the “Hearing.” Everyone gets pretty intimidated by the word “hearing” and thinks they’re going to be cross-examined under a hot, bright light like something out of Law & Order. This is not the case. I haven’t personally been into the Chester County hearing; however, I’ve heard it’s much the same as Berks. In Berks, you meet with 3 members of the appeal board. Often, people will ask me what they need to bring. I typically go in with my own copies of the information I’ve already provided – and always walk out with it. So, nothing is technically needed – but it’s always good to have your own information going in. The hearing is simply an opportunity to ask questions of the board. In total, this takes less than 15 minutes. In fact, my first appeal went as follows:
Assessment Board: “It seems that we have all of the information we need. Do you have any questions for us?”
Assessment Board: “OK, then we’ll take a look at this, and you’ll be notified by mail by the end of October.”
Me: “Thank you.”
That was it – all done. Now, my experience is that they don’t necessarily go as low as I propose; however, in some instances, they’ve gone beyond what I’ve proposed. Overall, I’ve never had an appeal declined.
If you’d like to learn more – or request a tax appeal – visit our website at www.BerksListings.com.