Some Allegheny County tax bills have errors

Thousands may see their old assessment

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Thousands of Allegheny County taxpayers who successfully fought for a lower property assessment could receive an inaccurate tax bill this month, the "exclamation point" in the grueling reassessment process, as one lawyer put it.

Because of bureaucratic lag, residents who received a successful assessment decision after Feb. 15 may see their old, higher assessment on the tax bill in their mailbox, county officials warned. That's the last time the office of the treasurer updated its records with the latest appeals from the office of property assessment.

Shadyside lawyer Noah Fardo has one client who finalized a case in December and still got an inaccurate bill. He provided documentation of three others who received faulty paperwork, all of whom resolved their reassessments with the county well before Feb. 15.

"They do need to fix it," he said. "I think the county should send revised tax bills to all property owners who have won appeals since December to make sure they're correct."

County officials say the computer records are updated every weekend. They weren't aware of any backlog that would explain Mr. Fardo's clients' concerns.

More than three dozen other clients have called Mr. Fardo with the same complaint, asking him why the appeals they paid for didn't stick. Other residents have emailed the office of the treasurer directly.

Both offices give the same advice: Pay what you believe you owe, supply the documentation, and the county will settle it later.

"I can't send them a new tax bill, but we'll certainly accept payment in any amount they wish to send us," Deputy Treasurer Tom Bradley said.

Mr. Bradley will soon mail a batch of revised bills reflecting the newest reassessment figures. He's been saving them since February to give the first set of paperwork time to arrive -- no need to confuse folks with two bills at once, he figured.

From then on, he'll mail out revised bills as new figures come in from the office of property assessment.

This happens every year, the deputy treasurer warned. It's just made all the more obvious this year by the sheer mass of assessment challenges run through the system -- more than 100,000 at last count.

region - reassessment

Andrew McGill: amcgill@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1497.


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