Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pennsylvania Building Code Update Webinar

Chad Michaelson is presenting a Pennsylvania Building Code Update Webinar on September 23 at 1:00 p.m. The event will help owners, designers, contractors and building code officials understand their obligations and navigate the confusing process of Pennsylvania building codes

Use this link to read more about the upcoming webinar and register with a 50% savings.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fairness Opinions Rarely “Fair”

A recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court should remind company executives that they are responsible for ensuring that fairness opinions are truly “fair.” Read more in this Post-Gazette article by Patricia Farrell, "Fairness Opinions Rarely 'Fair'".

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Washington County Real Estate Tax Reassessment Appeal Deadline

Property owners in Washington County recently received notices of real estate reassessments. This marks the first County-wide reassessment in Washington County since 1981. County and municipal taxes will be calculated based on the new valuations starting on January 1, 2017, and school taxes will be calculated on these new values starting on July 1, 2017.

Washington County assessments are currently based on 25% of a parcel's fair market value. However, after the reassessment, the assessments will be based on 100% of the fair market value. For example, under the current system, a property valued at $200,000.00 is assessed at $50,000.00. However, after the reassessment, a property valued at $200,000.00 will be assessed at $200,000.00. As a result, most property owners have seen a significant increase in the assessed values of their properties. However, this does not translate into a commensurate increase in real estate taxes, as Pennsylvania law prohibits school districts from receiving a windfall in total taxes collected from a reassessment, and municipalities cannot receive more than a five percent (5%) increase in total taxes collected as a result of the reassessment.

Property owners have until August 10, 2016 to file a formal assessment appeal with the Washington County Tax Revenue Department. At the subsequent appeal hearing, property owners will be able to present evidence in opposition to the assessed value. This evidence can include, but is not limited to, sales of comparable properties, defects in the structure or in the condition of the land, and negative aspects of the property's location. Following the appeal hearing, the Department will issue a decision, and any aggrieved party will have 30 days to appeal that decision to the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.

At Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP, our experience and hard work can help property owners through the appeal process, possibly saving property owners money, by obtaining a lower assessed value. While every case is unique, factors such as the size and use of the property, comparable sales of properties in the area, and age and nature of structures in the property have an impact on the assessed value. It is important to evaluate the possibility of a tax assessment appeal and to consider obtaining an independent appraisal when you believe that your property was inaccurately assessed. Analysis of the accuracy of the property assessment is an essential component to managing your valuable real estate assets.

Frank Kosir, Jr.
For more information about Washington County real estate tax re-assessment appeals or other real estate matters, please feel free to contact Frank or any of the attorneys in Meyer, Unkovic & Scott's award-winning Real Estate & Lending Group.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

PA Enacts New Revenue Measures to Fund 2016-17 State Budget

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed legislation raising approximately $1.3 billion in additional tax and other revenues required to balance the Commonwealth's 2016-17 budget, which was enacted earlier this month.

The new measures leave the personal income and state sales tax rates unchanged.

The new provisions include the following:

1. While the sales tax rate remained unchanged, the application of the sales tax was extended to apply to digital downloads effective August 1, 2016. Digital purchases now taxable will include e-books, games, music (including satellite radio subscriptions), photographs, and video (including streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix).

2. While the personal income tax rate has not changed, lottery winnings will now be subject to personal income taxation -- retroactive to January 1, 2016.

3. The new legislation includes a tax amnesty program which will allow taxpayers to pay outstanding taxes without penalty and with a 50% reduction of accrued interest on the unpaid balance. Details on the amnesty program will follow in a separate Client Alert. The legislation requires the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to publish details on the amnesty program by mid-September, 2016.

4. Effective August 1, 2016, a $1.00 per pack tax increase on cigarettes will result in a total tax of $2.60 per pack.

5. A new tobacco tax on e-cigarettes and other vaping devices (40% of purchase price), smokeless tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco purchases (55¢ per ounce) begins on October 1, 2016. The tax does not apply to cigars.

6. State casinos will now pay an additional 2% tax on table game revenues, beginning August 1, 2016.

7. Several new tax credits are included in the new legislation that will take effect in 2017. These include credits for investments in rural businesses, an increase to the film production tax credit, a credit for manufacturers that increases payroll over four consecutive quarters, credits for certain brewing operations, and credits for certain mixed-use developments and water front developments.

While personal income tax and sales rates remain unchanged, many individuals will see an increase in the taxes they pay as a result of the broadening of the bases on which these taxes are assessed.

Kevin F. Israel is a Partner in Meyer, Unkovic & Scott's Corporate Law and Tax and Succession Planning  Groups. He can be reached at 412.456.2841 or

For more information about the tax measures, please contact Kevin or any of the attorneys in Meyer, Unkovic & Scott's Tax Group.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shared Work Plan an Alternative to Layoffs

Companies facing a downturn in business often lay off employees as the quickest way to cut costs. But many employers may be able to avoid layoffs by taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s Shared Work Program. To learn more read June Swanson's recent article, "Shared work plan an alternative to layoffs".

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bigger Penalties for Patent Infringement

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision that will make it easier for patent owners to sue for more money when someone purposely infringes on their patent. If you would like to learn more use this link to read David Oberdick’s recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, "Bigger Penalties for Patent Infringement".

Monday, July 11, 2016

Residential Landlord-Tenant Law: Rentals and Remedies

Frank Kosir will be a faculty member for the upcoming Sterling Education Services seminar on “Residential Landlord-Tenant Law: Rentals and Remedies”. Join him August 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Suites from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

He will be speaking on “Tenant and Landlord Obligations During Tenancy” and “Termination of Tenancy and Tenant Remedies and Defenses”. Use this link to learn more about the seminar.