Allegheny County Property Assessment Appeals

How to use this dashboard

  • Click the tabs at the top to switch between views of different property types.
  • Use the Municipality and School District dropdown menus to see figures for a specific location.
  • The bar graph shows the total percentage change in property value after appeals for that location and category of property. These percentages are estimates calculated by dividing each year’s assessment change by the total value of that type of taxable property in the selected location; local homestead exemptions and abatements are not included in the calculation.
  • The table also does not include local homestead exemptions or abatements, which could affect the revenue amounts for municipalities and school districts.
  • Hearing Type: In normal years, assessment appeals must be filed by March 31 of the current tax year. However, for the 2022 tax year, a second window for filing was opened after a court ruled that the County had been calculating assessment changes incorrectly. This allowed property owners to file appeals for 2022 and 2023 at the same time; in the data for those cases, the assessment change for both years uses the same pre-appeal assessment amount.
    • If you want to see an estimate of how much property value was lost each year, unclick the Second Round box. (This removes appeals filed in the special window for 2022, which avoids double counting the change for each property since the court ruling.)
    • If both boxes are checked, the revenue totals will show an estimate of how much revenue had to be refunded each year due to appeals.

Data Source: https://data.wprdc.org/dataset/allegheny-county-property-assessment-appeals

Property Assessment Appeals in Allegheny County

Property taxes are a key part of local government budgets, generating nearly half the County’s revenue and an even larger share for many municipalities and school districts. These taxes are based on the property’s assessed value, which is determined by the County. The last time there was a countywide property reassessment was in 2012, meaning that most owners are paying taxes based on whatever the property was worth then.

However, if an owner or taxing body believes that the value of the property has changed since its last reassessment, they can file an appeal with the Board of Property Assessments Appeals and Review (BPAAR). BPAAR will then hold a hearing to determine the property’s current fair market value, which is multiplied by the common level ratio (CLR) to get the new assessment. The CLR adjusts for the fact that the average value of all properties throughout the County has increased since 2012, and it is set by the state based on sales data submitted by the County.

In 2022, the CLR was originally set to 81.1%, but a successful lawsuit from property owners reduced it to 63.5%. This new, lower CLR was a lot more favorable to property owners seeking lower taxes. For example, if the fair market value of a property after an appeal in 2022 was determined to be $100,000, its new assessment would be $63,500 instead of $81,100. Also, the deadline for filing an appeal is normally March 31 of the current tax year; however as a result of the court’s CLR change, the County reopened the window for filing 2022 appeals until March 31, 2023. This meant that owners who filed an appeal for 2023 could challenge their 2022 assessment at the same time.

The new, more favorable CLR also coincided with a drop in demand for office space, as many companies have kept the work-from-home or hybrid work schedules they adopted during the pandemic. As a result, many large commercial property owners filed appeals asking for reduced assessments in 2022 and 2023.

The dashboard shows the effect of these appeals. The total value of residential properties still increased in 2022 and 2023, even after appeals (although not as much as in previous years), but assessments of commercial properties dropped by over $800 million. Most of this decrease was concentrated downtown where the largest office buildings are located, but other municipalities with big commercial spaces, like Monroeville and Robinson, saw significant reductions in commercial assessments as well.