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1/5/12 – VIDEO: What is the difference between an ‘Informal Hearing’ vs. a ‘Formal Appeal Hearing’?

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The 2012 assessments have been released by Allegheny County, Pennsylvania for the City of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver only.

The formal dealing for filing an appeal is April 2, 2012.

Our clients want to know the difference between the informal appeals process and the formal appeals process.

The 2 main differences are 1) the length of the hearings (i.e. the informal hearings are expedited) and 2) the attorneys for the taxing entities will not be present at the informal hearings.

The lack of any cross-examination by the taxing entities can be a significant advantage for property owners who are adequately prepared. In short, it means your evidence, if credible, should win the appeal, since there will be no attorneys to refute it. Remember to focus on comparable sales, not comparable assessments. Arguments should be brief, concise, and correct inaccurate data.

Originally, the concept of the informal hearing was to help correct inaccurate building characteristics on the property record (such as # of rooms or square footage). Since the last reassessment, the informal hearing has acted as the same function as the formal hearing (i.e. an opportunity for the property owner to reduce their property assessment value). If a property owner believes they have a valid case for an appeal, they should proceed with the informal appeals process first.

Another advantage of the informal appeal process is the fact that the result from the informal appeal will be the property owner’s tax base pending any additional appeals by the taxing entities (which can sometimes last for years).

Property owners should also be aware that anytime a property owner files an assessment appeal in Allegheny County, PA, the assessment can be lowered, sustained (kept the same) or raised. If you are a recent home-buyer and your new 2012 assessment is lower than your recent purchase price, you need to be careful not to appeal and have your assessment raised.

If you have questions about Allegheny County property assessments, please feel free to call us for help (412) 802.6666 or email us at info@pghfirm.com.

Read more about Allegheny County property assessment appeals.

This article is written for entertainment purposes only. It should not be relied upon for legal advice, and in no way does this article create an attorney/client relationship. We only represent individual(s) once there is a signed representation and fee agreement in place. Please read full legal Disclaimer.

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About Noah Paul Fardo

Noah Paul Fardo, Esq. is a Pennsylvania trial lawyer and the managing partner of Flaherty Fardo, LLC. His legal practice focuses in medical malpractice, personal injury, business litigation, and property tax appeals. You can find him on Google+.

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