Monday, October 14, 2013

Nothing is certain but death and taxes

'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  Ben Franklin

Tomorrow, October 15, 2013 I will go to Kittanning and appeal the taxes on the woods property.

First I will give out the maps I've prepared.

Here is what I will say.

Good morning.  My name is Janet Johns and along with my husband we own the property that you see outlined in the black.  The numbers in black that you see are the per acre assessment value of each section. This property has been in the family for generations.   In 2006 my father deeded our land to us because he could no longer afford the taxes.  This spring we had his house, that he built, torn down to save on the taxes.

Much to our uneducated surprise, the taxes did not drop to what we expected.  That started me on a project to figure out the taxes in our little part of Armstong county.  The research done in the government office lead me to the figures you see on the map.  Immediately to the right of our property you can see two sections that are significantly higher.  This property belonged to our Uncle.  One piece was sold to help pay his taxes and the other piece was sold after his death by his widow.  Both of these properties have houses on it.  Along the river are "camps" except for a lot that I found which bordered our property.  Its assessed land value is 100 dollars for its .97 acres.  All the surround land has the per acre assessed value that you see.  One lot extends to the river.  Several of the lots have road frontage.  Two pieces are under Act 139 which I understand changes the assessed value per acre of the section.  But still only one side of our property is the "expensive land".  Please flip your map to the other side.


Here is the math of what would be a "fair" value.  If 1/4 of our nine acres is bound by the expensive values lets do the math to see what a fair value would lead us.  You can see that simply use the present land assessment values, I figure a total assessment of 5932.06 vs the present assessment of 11830.  That is why I am here to ask you to reconsider the land assessment value of our property.

Thank-you.  Do you have any questions?

Its the best I could do.  It really bugs me that right of the "expensive land" is 99 dollars an acre.  All the "low" prices are owned by the Snyders.  Funny about that. 
Sure some of it is Act 139, but some is not.  The 162.50 assess value land is owned by two separate trusts.  Does this surprise me?  Not so much.

Oct 15....Not a single change to the assessment.  Here's one direct quote and a summary.  I can try again next tax year.
"We aren't here to decide what is fair." If you want the taxes lowered you must prove by an appraisal that the land isn't worth what Armstrong County set as a fair market value. It doesn't matter what the surrounding land is worth for us to decide that you have not proven a need to change your value. The answer is No change.

1 comment:

  1. sounds logical to me, therefore it isn't done logically. Good luck. You'll probably get them lowered, but not as far as you would like. Never happens that way. Maybe it would be best to be on the defensive side instead of offensive.. I would ask them how they determined their assessment, then I would tear it apart. You certainly have all the backup needed.

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