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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 28, 2019 08:31 AM
From: Senator David G. Argall
To: All Senate members
Subject: Ban spot appeals of assessments
In the near future, I will re-introduce legislation (SB 586 of last session) that would eliminate spot appeals of property assessments in Pennsylvania. Some taxing jurisdictions have used their ability to appeal the assessments of properties to such an extent that the practice seems practically indistinguishable from spot reassessment, which is prohibited by law.

School districts, in particular, have been very aggressive in the use of this practice. Spot appeals can increase taxes on residential properties drastically. Two local residents have had their taxes raised through this unfair practice by $8,000 and $6,000, respectively. Furthermore, property owners in certain school districts fear making any improvements to the exterior of their property due to aggressive spot appeals and higher property taxes.

My legislation will remove a taxing jurisdiction’s ability to appeal the assessment of a property based solely on the sale of the property. Taxing authorities may only appeal an assessment when the property has gone through a countywide reassessment, been divided into smaller parcels, or a change in the productive use of the property has occurred.

Article VIII, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states that taxes shall be uniform. Under current law, two homes built in the same year with the same layout in the same condition could have drastically different local tax bills because of when one property was purchased.

My legislation would seek to restore uniformity.

Introduced as SB334