Many homeowners feel that their property taxes are unreasonable or higher than they ought to be, but few know what to do about it. Anyone who owns a property in Lancaster County, is a lessee responsible for payment of property taxes, or a power of attorney for the property owner is able to appeal the property’s taxes through the Lancaster County Assessment Office. When you complete an appeal, you are really appealing the assessment value of a property (not the tax rate itself) as the assessment is what your taxes are based on.
Here’s a step by step outline of how to appeal:
- Apply for appeal: Complete & submit appeal form in it’s entirety. Forms for appeal can be found at the Lancaster County Assessment office or online here. When submitting your appeal form make sure you complete the entire form as incomplete forms are typically returned, and include the appropriate fee when submitting.
- Hearing date set: Notice of a hearing date will be mailed to you at least 20 days before scheduled date. You must attend this hearing.
- Decision Made: The final decision of the hearing will be mailed to you once it is reached.
- Verify Correction: Be sure that the assessment office was notified of the hearing decision and has accurately updated your assessment information. You can find your assessment information by visiting this website and searching for your property.
A few other things to be aware of:
- The fee to appeal is $25 for a residential property, $50 for a farm property, and $100 for a commercial property.
- Deadline to appeal is August 1st of the year before the tax year you’re appealing (for instance, to appeal 2016-17 taxes you need to appeal by August 1, 2015)
- You as the appellant will need to provide proof that your assessment is high in the form of an appraisal, comparable home sales, or a witness testimony to the value of the property.
It is recommended that you speak with the assessment office, or check their website to confirm no new rules and regulations or fees have been added prior to submitting your appeal.