SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON ASSESSMENTS; the Real Estate Tax Is the Most Transparent of All Taxes. the Property Tax Is Easy to Understand and Computed Annually. the Assessments and Millage Rates Based on Those Assessments Are Published on the Allegheny County Website. Transparency, Right? [Derived Headline]

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 10, 2016 | Go to article overview

SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON ASSESSMENTS; the Real Estate Tax Is the Most Transparent of All Taxes. the Property Tax Is Easy to Understand and Computed Annually. the Assessments and Millage Rates Based on Those Assessments Are Published on the Allegheny County Website. Transparency, Right? [Derived Headline]


The real estate tax is the most transparent of all taxes. The property tax is easy to understand and computed annually. The assessments and millage rates based on those assessments are published on the Allegheny County website. Transparency, right?

County officials often say your assessment is based on 100 percent of the market value from January 2012. Our elected leaders also will tell you the county has no plans to reassess in this century.

If the assessments are outdated and millage rates are adjusted upward annually, a property owner-taxpayer might need more transparency and sunlight to determine whether an appeal is necessary.

Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said " Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants, electric light the most efficient policeman." Your assessment, once frozen under county law, is not the true market value to be used to determine whether you are being taxed correctly. A state board provides equalization factors to each county each year to see if a fair proper transfer tax has been paid. The state Department of Revenue will review deed transfers using this factor to determine transfer tax fraud.

Although these factors are transparent to taxing jurisdictions they are not used to convert the present frozen assessments to current real-time market values for each property owner. If that were to happen, more people would file assessment appeals every year.

If Allegheny County wanted to shine a light on the property tax, it would enact an ordinance publishing annually the converted real- time market values. …

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SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON ASSESSMENTS; the Real Estate Tax Is the Most Transparent of All Taxes. the Property Tax Is Easy to Understand and Computed Annually. the Assessments and Millage Rates Based on Those Assessments Are Published on the Allegheny County Website. Transparency, Right? [Derived Headline]
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