Friday, April 22, 2016

Washington County Real Estate Tax Re-Assessments: Appeals DEADLINE This Summer

Frank Kosir, Jr.
Property owners in Washington County will soon be receiving notices of real estate reassessments. This will mark 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 will see 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.

The first notice that property owners will receive will be a Notice of Informal Review, which was scheduled to be mailed to each property owner in late March or early April of 2016, depending upon the municipality in which their property is located. This Notice will include both a new assessed valuation of the property, as well as a description of the property.

Any property owner who believes that the notice incorrectly describes their property will have the opportunity to request an informal review with Tyler Technologies, the firm that the County hired to conduct the reassessment. The sole purpose of the informal review is to address any errors in the assessment records, such as the total square footage of the structure, total number of rooms, total number of garages, etc. The informal review process does not specifically address valuation, and property owners will not have an opportunity to present evidence of value at the informal review.

Following the completion of informal reviews, on July 1, 2016, the County will issue a Change of Assessment Notice, setting forth the final assessed value for the property. Property owners will have forty (40) days from the date of this notice (August 10, 2016) to file a formal assessment appeal with the Washington County Tax Revenue Department; although, the Department has indicated that the deadline for filing appeals may be extended to September 1, 2016. Failure to participate in the informal review process will not impact a property owner's right to pursue an appeal. At the formal 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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Three MUS Attorneys Candidates in This Year's ACBA Election

Voting for the ACBA's annual election began on Tuesday, April 19, and will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 2.

Three Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorneys are candidates in this year’s election: Jim Mall is running for Treasurer; Nick Bell is running for the Judiciary Committee and Young Lawyers Division Secretary; and Ron Hicks is running for the Board of Governors.

ACBA Members who are eligible to vote (active and honorary members only) were emailed their login credentials for the voting website earlier this week. If you did not receive your login credentials, please email Michele Greenway (Director of Membership & CLE) at

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Internet Law Update 2016

David Oberdick will be a Faculty presenter at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s “Internet Law Update 2016”. The seminar takes place on Monday, April 18 at the PBI Professional Development Conference Center located in the Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Ave., 7th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Use this link for more info.

Friday, April 1, 2016

MUS Welcomes New Human Resources Manager

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott announced today that Leeanne Smollen recently joined the firm as the new human resources manager.

Prior to joining Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, Smollen worked as an account manager at Seubert and Associates, where she was a group employee benefits consultant and strategic partner who worked with regional clients with 50-100+ employees. Smollen has also worked as a human resources manager at Nicholson Construction, as a site manager for the YMCA Child Care Program, as well as Director for several preschools in the Pittsburgh area.

Smollen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Robert Morris University. She went on to earn a Human Resources Generalist graduate certificate and a Master of Science degree in human resources management from La Roche College.

Smollen is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association.

She currently resides in Ross Township, Pennsylvania.