In Chester County, the hearings are conducted by a 3 member Board of Assessment Appeals appointed by the County Commissioners. The Board members serve 4-year terms, which are concurrent with the terms of the County Commissioners.
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The millage rate (also known as mills) is the rate at which tax revenue is generated from assessments, expressed in terms of 1/1000th of assessed value. For Example: 4.551 mills is equivalent to a millage rate of .004551
The formula to calculate real property tax is: Assessment x millage = tax (face amount).
For example: The County millage is the same for all municipalities, therefore the County Tax for a property with an assessed value of $100,000 and a rate of 4.551 mills would be calculated as follows: 100,000 X .004551 = $455.10 (face amount) Note: 4.551 mills is equivalent to a millage of .004551. This is comparable to expressing percentage as whole number (5%) and as a decimal (.05). In the case of millage, the decimal is moved three places to left instead of two.
An assessment is the percentage of the market value of your property. The percentage is known as the predetermined ratio. In Chester County the assessment represents 100% of the appraised (full market value) as of the base year.
An interim assessment is derived from a straightforward mathematical calculation. Simply put, the interim assessment represents the value difference (increase) attributable to any assessable improvement to the land. It is important to note that an interim assessment is the difference between the prior and the revised total assessments. These 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 secondary improvements such as swimming pools, garages, barns, sheds, etc.
When the Assessment Office is notified of an improvement, one or more field visits are made by a Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator to collect property data. The following letter has been provided to all municipality permit offices, to be provided to property owners and contractors who file building permits.
Building Permit Informational Letter
If the taxpayer does not agree with the assessment and/or effective date, the property owner has the right to file a Notice of Intention of Appeal with the Chester County Board of Assessment Appeals. This Notice of Intention of Appeal must be filed on or before the last day to appeal as indicated on the Assessment Change Notice. The last day to appeal, as indicated, pertains to both the assessment and the effective date. Upon receipt of the Notice, the Board of Assessment Appeals will schedule an appeal hearing and notify the taxpayer and the taxing authorities of the date and time. The taxpayer should be prepared to provide documentation and/or exhibits in support of his/her opinion of value and/or documentation to ascertain a “date certain” for the effective date, if this is at issue. In the event that the taxpayer remains dissatisfied after the Board’s action, further appeal can be taken to the Court of Common Pleas.
Download the Notice Of Intention Of Appeal Form
Forms must be PRINTED, completed and returned to the Assessment Office (313 w. Market Street, Suite 4202, West Chester, PA 19382) by the appropriate filing date. (NO FAXES or ELECTRONIC COPIES please)
The property tax is used as a revenue source by county government, 14 school districts and most of the 73 municipalities in Chester County. It is the responsibility of the County Assessment Office to place a value on each parcel of land and any improvements (structures) thereon. Assessments are derived by assessors who are state certified under Pennsylvania law. After an assessment is generated or changed the property owner is mailed a "Change In Assessment" notice. All property owners have the right to appeal if they do not agree with the assessment of their property. If an appeal is initiated by a school district or municipality, the attorney must provide the Board of Assessment with a copy of a Certificate of Service verifying that the property owner was notified of the appeal within five days of the appeal filing.
For a fee, the County can supply archival, machine readable data upon request. To obtain desired information: Applicants must complete a Request for Information Form. Completed forms must be returned to the following address or emailed to [email protected]: Chester County Courthouse Attention: Outside Request Department of Computing and Information Services 313 W. Market Street, Suite 5302 West Chester, PA 19380-0991
Yes. The Assessment Office has implemented Resolution #45-97 which requires a processing fee for each parcel appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals. The fee for each residential property is $25. The fee for commercial, industrial, parcels subject to preferential assessment such as Act 319 and Act 515 and exemption appeals is $50. The fees apply to both interim and annual appeals and must be paid at the time of filing. A check or money order is to be made payable to "Chester County Treasurer". This fee will not be refunded for failure to appear or withdrawal of the appeal. If you are over 60 years of age and want to appeal the assessment on your primary residence but are unable to afford the $25 processing fee, call the intake staff at the Department of Aging (610-344-6350), as you may be eligible for assistance. Proof of financial eligibility will be required.
Annual Appeal - Appeal of Total Assessment.
Property owners have an opportunity to appeal their assessment every 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 May 1 through August 1 (or the next official business day should August 1 fall on a weekend) of each year. In the case of an annual appeal, the Board decision does not take effect until tax bills are issued the following tax 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. Appeal forms for an interim appeal must be filed within forty (40) days of the date of notification of the assessment change. The appeal date will be noted on the Assessment Change 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 may download and complete the appeal form or you may contact the Assessment Office at: 610-344-6105, or VISIT the office at: 313 W. Market St, Suite 4202, West Chester, PA 19382.
The process is relatively simple. At a brief hearing 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 six 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 the property is owned jointly by more than one person 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.
NOTE: 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 Chester 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) can not consider the CLR when computing the assessment. The assessor derives the assessment by gathering the data on the new construction and using the computer assisted mass appraisal model established prior to the last countywide reassessment which was effective for 1998.
For more information on the Common Level Ratio go to STEB. The Board generally renders a decision within 3-4 weeks of the hearing date and notifies the property owner in writing. In the case of annual appeals, no results will be mailed until after August 1.