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Property Tax Reassessment in Lancaster County: Some Myths to Understand

Ron Burkhart

Ron is a licensed REALTOR® with over 25 years experience in sales and customer service...

Ron is a licensed REALTOR® with over 25 years experience in sales and customer service...

Jun 5 3 minutes read

There are many myths surrounding the county wide re assessment ever since it was announced by Lancaster County. These myths are getting circulated as facts whereas they are far from reality. It is time to bust these myths to help the residents of this county.

Myth #1- I have received reassessed property tax in my mail which is higher by $25,000 to the earlier tax.

You should not panic if you have received such mail. The basic formula for arriving at real estate tax for a property is to multiply its assessed value by millage rate. Whenever reassessment is done, millage rates are adjusted so that the amount of revenue generated is not more than the amount generated in the previous year. It may be that some owners pay a little more tax while others pay a little less than their last year’s tax.

If there is a need felt by the authorities to increase this revenue, they have to get a special vote. But this increased revenue cannot be more than 10% of last year’s revenue.

Myth #2- It is a ploy of the government to collect more money from the people in the garb of taxes.

This is again a false belief. Reassessment is done merely to let the tax reflect the real value of the properties. Reassessment of property tax was last carried out in 2005. Rates of properties have increased a lot since then Reassessment was put on back burner following the great recession of 2008-9. Property values have been increasing in the last few years once again.

Myth #3- It is upsetting that authorities can decide at random to jack up my taxes.

It is wrong. Lancaster County has hired services of certified Pennsylvania Evaluators to assess the right value of properties. CPE cannot be unrealistic or arbitrary in assessing the value of a property. Recent sales figures are taken into account while arriving at a figure. You have the right to appeal against the assessment if you think it is higher than your estimate. You can know the process on the website of LCPAO.

Myth #4- It is not fair to leave out renters from property tax collection.

It is a false belief. Payment of taxes has to be done whether it is done by the owner or the renter. Landlords normally add up all their expenses when deciding their rents.  So tenants can pay property tax indirectly although they do not receive bill for it.

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