McClellan Legal LLC Estate Planning & Tax Assessment Blog

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Consider Appealing Your Assessment Again in 2019

Based on recent changes in the Common Level Ratio (CLR), 2019 is the perfect time to consider appealing again.  The Common Level Ratio reflects an average property value appreciation for the county as compared to a base year assessment (e.g., 1998).    

Understanding Common Level Ratio

The CLR for Chester County has been trending up over the last several years:

     2011: 1.79

     2012: 1.70

     2013: 1.66 (low point)

     2014: 1.73

     2015: 1.81

     2016: 1.86

     2017: 1.89

     2018: 1.95

     2019: TBD very soon (likely over 2.00)

Therefore, Chester County believes that your property has increased in value by over 20% since 2013.  If you reside in an area of Chester County that appreciates slower than the county average, like southern Chester County, you may benefit from another assessment appeal.  Also, you may want to consider appealing your commercial property or rental property while the numbers are in your favor. 

Assessment Appeal Basics

As a reminder, each county provides property owners the opportunity to file an appeal (usually May 1st to August 1st) to challenge the assessed value of their property.  The burden of proving that the current fair market value for your property is below the assessed value is on the property owner.  First, the property owner must understand how their assessment relates to the current fair market value via the Common Level Ratio.  That is, your assessment does not usually equate to your current fair market value.  Currently, your assessment in Chester County should only be half of the current fair market value.  For example, if you believe your home would currently appraise for $400,000, then a fair assessment would be $200,000. 

Commercial and Rental Properties

If you own a commercial property, you may also benefit from appealing that property.  Last year, McClellan Legal assisted numerous business owners appeal their property taxes, including small office spaces, strip centers, restaurants, and athletic facilities.  The appeal process for commercial properties is more rigorous, but the reward is often great.  In 2018, we saved one business owner approximately $40,000 per year.

The Assessment Board has also been receptive in reducing the assessment for our clients’ rental properties.  If you own a rental property in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, or Montgomery Counties, give us a call and we can help evaluate your chances of a successful property assessment appeal.

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McClellan Legal LLC is located in Kennett Square and serves clients throughout the areas of Avondale, Chadds Ford, Coatesville, Downingtown, Landenberg, Oxford, Phoenixville, Pottstown, West Chester, & West Grove.

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