Lycoming County
 
Assessment Office
 
 



Reassessment Frequently Asked Questions
  What is reassessment?
  Will my taxes go up because of a reassessment?
  Isn't this just another way for the county to get more money?
  What does "Clean and Green" mean?
  What is the Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Program?
  What can I do if I don't agree with the appraisal of my property?


What is reassessment?
Schools, county, and municipal governments rely on the real estate tax as their primary source of revenue. The court system, social services programs, and some infrastructure such as county roads and water systems, are also supported by tax revenues collected from property owners based on the "assessed value" of their real estate holdings.

The constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania mandates that all property owners shall pay their fair share of tax, based on the "fair market value" of their property. State law requires that the real estate tax be implemented by county government. It is the legal responsibility of the county Board of Assessment to establish the fair market value (the probable typical selling price) for each parcel of real estate in the county at the time of the reassessment.
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Will my taxes go up because of a reassessment?
Not necessarily. In a typical reassessment, about one third of the real estate tax bills will go up, and about one third will go down, depending, in each individual case, whether the property was under-assessed or over-assessed.
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Isn't this just another way for the county to get more money?
Many people mistakenly think that if their present value is brought to today's market value, their tax bill will increase by a proportional amount. This cannot happen because the reassessment process, according to state law, must be "revenue neutral." All taxing districts are required to lower their tax millage by a ratio equal to the ratio of the tax base increase. This process is called "equalizing the millage."

For example: If a taxing district's current year assessed value was $1.2B, it would generate $30M in revenue if the millage was set at 25 mills. If, after reassessment, the total assessed value doubled to $2.4B, the taxing district would be required to cut the millage in half, (to 12.5 mills ) in order to generate no more than $30M.

Because reassessment is "revenue neutral," it cannnot be used as a means of generating more tax revenue. The taxing authority may choose to collect additional revenue after the equalized millage is set. However, the amount of increase is limited: not more than 5% increase for counties, townships, and boroughs and not more than 10% increase for school districts.
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What does "Clean and Green" mean?
State law allows for the potential reduction of real estate taxes through the "Clean and Green" program and the Homestead/Farmstead exclusion program.

The "Clean and Green" program allows land parcels ten acres or more in size, which are devoted to agricultural and forest land use, to be assessed at a value based on use rather than Fair Market Value. The intent of this program is to provide some tax relief which will encourage property owners to retain land in agricultural or forest land use. The potential tax savings under this program are significant.
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What is the Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Program?
The Homestead and Farmstead exclusion, a new program initiated in 1998, is aimed at providing real estate tax relief to homeowners whose permanent residence is in a participating taxing jurisdiction, and eliminating nuisance taxes such as the occupation tax. Under current law, this program is only available to school districts who choose to shift the school tax burden from the real property tax to an earned income tax.
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What can I do if I do not agree with the appraisal of my property?
If you question any part of the assessment notice, you may request an informal review by telephone. An information specialist will verify details of your property description and make minor corrections, if warranted.

If you think you have evidence that may affect the market value of your property, or, if you would like to meet with a representative face-to-face, call the county Assessment Office to make an appointment.

An appraiser will meet with you, review, and correct (if necessary), the information from which your property value was estimated, and consider any evidence that you may bring with you to the meeting. Your evidence might include a recent appraisal, photographs, maps, or other pertinent documents.

If changes are justified, your market value will be adjusted by the appraiser.

If, after informal review, you are not satisfied with the new Fair Market Value, you may ask for a formal hearing before the County Board of Assessment Appeals. At a formal hearing, you will be expected to present evidence of value to support your argument. The burden of proof falls on the property owner. You must be able to substantiate your opinion of value.
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