Appealing Your Real Estate Assessment
This page- is intended to provide a better understanding of the real estate assessment appeal process.
YOUR ASSESSMENT AND PROPERTY TAXES
The property tax is used as a revenue source by county government, 17 school districts and most of the 49 municipalities in Delaware County. It is the responsibility of the County Assessment Office to place a value on each parcel of land and any improvements (structures) thereon. Assessors who are state certified under Pennsylvania law derive assessments.
After an assessment is generated or changed the property owner is mailed an "Interim Real Estate Assessment Appeal" notice. All property owners have the right to appeal if they do not agree with the assessment of their property.
Assessment Appeal F.A.Q.
Is a processing fee required?
The fees apply to all annual appeals and must be paid at the time of filing. The fees do not apply to interim appeals or catastrophic loss appeals. A check or money order is to be made payable to "Delaware County Treasurer". This fee will not be refunded for failure to appear or withdrawal of the appeal.
What is the appeal hearing procedure?
The process is relatively simple, a residential hearing lasts about 5 minutes. The property owner has the opportunity to present such information as recent appraisals or recent sales documentation for sales of similar homes in their area. The property owner may also present other information that may have an impact on the value of the property.
The Board of Assessment Appeals requests that the property owner provide photographs (front and rear) of the dwelling or commercial property. The photographs should be recent within the last 6 months and are to include any recent physical changes to the exterior of the property. Failure to bring these photographs on your appeal date may result in an unnecessary delay in processing the appeal. Your assistance is anticipated and appreciated.
The property owner is requested to attend but if unable to do so, may send someone to provide the representation with a letter of authorization. If a property owner is unable to attend for medical reasons, the Board will make special accommodations. If more than one person owns the property jointly it is not necessary that all the owners appear at the hearing.
Based upon the documentation provided by the property owner, the Board will determine a fair market value for the property. The Board will then by statute, apply the appropriate Common Level Ratio (CLR) to the fair market value to arrive at the new assessed value.
What is the Common Level Ratio (CLR)?
The CLR is created by the Pa. State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) on an annual basis for each county. The CLR is an average of assessments to sale prices (based upon valid sales activity in Delaware County for the prior calendar year). The CLR is applied only when the ratio varies by more than 15% from the 100% predetermined ratio.
The Assessment Office (via the field assessor) cannot consider the CLR when computing the assessment. The assessor derives the assessment by gathering the data on the new construction and entering it into the imbedded computer model established prior to the last countywide reassessment, which was effective for 1998.
For more information on the Common Level Ratio go to http://www.newpa.com/local-government/steb
Who actually sets my assessment?
State licensed assessors employed by Delaware County that hold the designation of Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator (CPE)
TYPES OF HEARINGS
Annual Appeal - Appeal of Total Assessment
Property owners have an opportunity to appeal their assessment once a year. By appealing, the property is open to the re-valuation process in which the property assessment may be lowered, raised or remain the same. Annual appeals may be filed from March 15 through August 1 (or the next official business day should 8/1 fall on a weekend) of each year.
Interim Appeal - Appeal of Increase in Assessment due to new construction
The interim assessment represents the value difference (increase) attributable to any assessable improvement to the land and the resulting increase in land value, if any. Assessable improvements include, but are not limited to; new construction of a primary structure (dwelling or other building type), the addition to any such structure and the construction of any ancillary, contributory improvements such as swimming pools, sheds, garages, barns, etc.
A property owner filing an interim appeal also has the option to file an annual appeal by August 1.
If a property is subject to an interim assessment, a property owner will receive an “Interim Real Estate Assessment Notice.” This Notice will inform the property owner of the old assessment and new assessment. The bottom portion of the Notice contains an APPEAL REQUEST FORM. In order to perfect an appeal of an Interim Assessment, the property owner must immediately return the bottom portion of the Interim Notice to the Assessment Office to request receipt of an Appeal Application.
The Appeal Application for an interim assessment must be filed within forty (40) days of the date of notification of the assessment change. A property owner wishing to appeal and Interim Assessment MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY TO REQUEST THE APPEAL APPLICATION AND RETURN THE SAME WITHIN 40 DAYS OF THE INTERIM NOTICE. The appeal date will be noted on the Interim Real Estate Assessment Appeal Notice at the top right and bottom right or this notice. Any change in the assessment due to an interim appeal is effective commencing with the interim effective date.
To file an interim appeal you must contact the Assessment Office at: 201 West Front Street, Media, PA 19063, Phone 610-891-4879, immediately upon receipt of the Interim Notice.
How do I obtain an Annual Appeal & Interim Appeal forms?
"Annual Appeal", forms may be obtained in one of three ways:
"Interim Appeal", forms may be obtained in one way:
Where are the appeals held?
Appeals are heard in the Board Room located in the Board of Assessment Department, on the ground floor of the Government Center Building, 201 West Front Street, Media, Pa. 19063.
Who hears the appeals?
In Delaware County, a 3 member Board of Assessment Appeals appointed by County Council conducts the hearings. The Board members serve 4-year terms, which are concurrent with the terms of the County Council. The Board has a chairman, vice chairman and a member.
How will I be advised of my hearing date?
You will be advised in writing of the date and time of your hearing. Notices are mailed at least 20 days prior to the hearing date.
What if I do not agree with the board decision?
You have the right to file an appeal within thirty (30) days from the date of the notice of the board’s decision, at the Office of Judicial Support. If you have any questions please call (610)891-4388.
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.
Market Value X Assessment Ratio = Assessment
Assessment X Millage = Taxes
What is meant by “Uniform” assessment rate?
A “Uniform” assessment rate means that all properties in the County, whether residential, commercial or industrial will be assessed by the department at the same ratio to market value. Currently, all assessment are set at 100% of 1998 base year value.
What is meant by “Market Value?”
Market Value has been defined by the State Supreme Court as “the price in a competitive market a purchaser, willing but not obligated to buy, would pay on 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”
Isn’t “Market Value” what I paid for my property?