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Kate, Both Buyer and Seller in North Carolina

Why are real estate taxes so much higher in Berks County, PA compared to the surrounding counties?

Asked by Kate, North Carolina Mon Jan 14, 2008

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If you look around at properties with in a county you will find that taxes will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. This could be influenced by the age of the home, values in the area when the last assessment was done. When I look at homes in the same price range in the neighboring counties I see that the taxes vary by within the same range in all counties. Were I do see a difference is in the area of new construction purchases about 5 years ago. They are higher. This has to do with the Common Level Ratio. Berks County was slower to be able to adjust that number due to a stalled city market back in late 1990 and early 2000.

I agree with Erica. You must research you Tax Appeal carefully. It is possible to win but it is also possible to lose or you could have your taxes raised.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 19, 2009
Taxes vary with each county--and vary how they calculate them. It is illegal for counties to reassess you upon sale (that's called spot assessment) but the taxing authority (School district or municipality) can APPEAL your taxes same as you can.

While it's a simple form to fill out, and try to appeal, it is NOT a given that you will win. I disagree with the pro who says you're likely to win on appeal. I headed up our county Appeals Board in the past and I can tell you that most homeowners did NOT win the appeals process. You must prove WHY they should be lower and if you pay a high price for your home, the school district will argue that you should in turn pay higher taxes. In the end, if you PAY a high price, you set the value and you are likely to lose your appeal (at least in our area of PENNA). We are just one county north of Berks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 16, 2009
Not all counties are lower, some are higher. Berks has had an increase over the last few years because of the boom in New Construction. We no longer, As of 15+ years ago, have reassesment at the sale of a property. The county wide reassessment was done some time ago. Therefore, if you purchase a resale property, your assessment will remain the same as 15+ years ago. On the other hand, new construction is currently assessed at a percentage of the Sale Price or construction price, but you (the new owner) must activate the reduced assessment by submitting a form to the Tax Office. Your Real Estate agent will have this standard form to give to you at settlement. You need to get it in ASAP after the purchase. There are many reasons to get the appeal in ASAP. Good luck in your home search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 16, 2009
Taxes are high in the area but they can be appealled from July through August each year. Most appeals will result in a decrease in taxes for the following year. It is fairly easy to do and your yearly taxes can be decreased by hundreds to thousands of dollars. Your tax rate is based on the assessed value of your home multiplied by the millage rate. The assessed value is based on the market value of your home and since values have decreased significantly an appeal will usually give you a decreased assessed value. Please contact me if you would like additional information on this subject...I have successfully helped many residents appeal their taxes in the past couple of years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 6, 2009
Because school taxes are getting way out of control. Due to the excessive housing developments being built in Berks County, schools are being maxed out and are forced to either build new schools or add addtions on to current schools. Even though there are budgets for these renovations, it appears that the school boards always go over budget. For some reason as well, townships are building Taj Mahal's that really do not need to be built. From my guess it is competition between townships and who can outdo whomever, not caring about cost or school taxes that go up exetremely every year!!! Yes, Berks county homes may be low to most out of state buyers (but not to those who were born here - prices have gotten out of hand), but our school taxes as well as all of the state are way too high!!! A very BIG issue with the voters right now. Something to really consider when you buy in Berks/Reading, PA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2008
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