City of Pittsburgh school tax breaks approved by board

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If you live in the city and renovate your home or build a new home, Pittsburgh Public Schools will give you a break on paying taxes on a higher property assessment.

The school board Wednesday voted, 8-0, to approve a series of residential property tax abatements, which had expired in 2012.

One of them — known as Act 42 residential abatement — is offered throughout the city and provides a maximum assessment abatement of $36,009 per year on home improvements and a maximum of $86,750 per year on new home construction. The amount applies to the increase in assessment. It does not lower the prior assessment nor can it fall below zero. The tax break is good for three years.

Another one — known as Act 42 residential enhanced abatement — applies only to targeted growth zones and is good for 10 years. It allows a maximum assessment abatement of $250,000 per year on home improvements and construction.

The targeted zones are Allentown, Arlington, Beltzhoover, California-Kirkbride, East Allegheny, Downtown, Elliott, Esplen, Fineview, Hays, Hazelwood, Homewood North, Homewood South, Homewood West, Knoxville, Larimer, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, Lower Lawrenceville, Manchester, Mount Oliver, Perry South, Sheraden, Spring Garden, Upper Hill, Upper Lawrenceville, Uptown and West End.

In addition, the board approved residential enhanced LERTA — which stands for Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act District — which applies to commercial or industrial property that has been converted to residential property that is individually titled, such as condominiums.

It allows a maximum tax credit of $3,480 per year per unit and is good for 10 years. This is available in four areas: Downtown, Uptown, the Strip District and the North Shore.

The city school district levies a property tax of 9.84 mills, which amounts to $9.84 on each $1,000 of property value. An abatement of $36,009 would be worth about $354 a year while one of $250,000 would be $2,460.

From 2008 to 2012, 605 applications were approved or in process for the three abatement programs.

The city of Pittsburgh already has both of the Act 42 programs and the enhanced residential LERTA in effect for property tax abatement. The county participates only in the three-year Act 42 program.

Member Terry Kennedy was absent for the vote.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955. First Published August 27, 2014 8:10 PM

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