Schools in Pennsylvania>Question Details

Ireyna, Home Seller in New York, NY

Why do I have to pay school taxes on a vacant lot?????

Asked by Ireyna, New York, NY Sun Mar 9, 2008

I received the property through my divorce and now I am receiving all kinds of bills. I do have the property for sales. The beautiful property is in PA in a golf community.

Help the community by answering this question:


You have a debt to society, because you benefit from your membership in a society that values education as a foundation for progress.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 9, 2008
No, I value education but the society as a whole does not. I have paid for my education, supported myself, never had children, but have watched many give birth to multiple children only to earn government subsidies. Now, I pay for they're children to enter the school system and they receive section 8 housing.
Flag Sat Dec 7, 2013
All goverment is corrupt and unjust. They will do whatever they have to do to get revenue. Why should anyone have to pay school taxes in two separate counties? It is theft. They get away with it. As far as us having a debt to society for education there should be no taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. If you don't live there and pay school taxes where you live you should not have to pay on a vacant lot. BTW. My taxes are double on the vacant lot. I live in Michigan. It's the same all over. Thieves, crooks, politics, and blunder.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Ditto. I live in Michigan and have a vacant lot so like you I pay double . You said all I wanted to say. You are absolutely correct. If we try to fight it we will loose.
Flag Tue May 8, 2012
The school taxes in PA are totally out of whack! They contribute to a system of inequity among school districts based on income and property values of the local residents. I really think that property taxes should go into a state-wide fund that gets distributed based on population. Taxes would then be based on a state-wide budget rather than pet projects such as building new schools and adding luxury items such as HDTVs to classrooms when they are not really needed.

I realize that with the corrupt system of politicians we have in PA that this will never come to pass, but one can hope, can't we?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 24, 2008
I have to pay taxes (high taxes on a house vs a vacant lot) when I do not send my children to public school...on top of elderly neighbor just moved here and is paying $6,000 school taxes when she has no kids....If only those who sent their kids to school paid taxes, it would be unaffordable for them.

The cost of schooling is spread out proportionately among everyone in the district because of the benefit we all receive from having school available for our young ones.

Good question.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 7, 2008
Good question. Unfortunately, you can't escape taxes!. :-( Vacant land as well as land with buildings is assessed for real estate taxes. The amount of taxes is dependent on the 'assessed value', which was established at a point in time. Some municipalities regularly update their assessed values with general area wide assessments, while others only add assessed value when there is new building activity on a given property. In many areas of Pennsylvania Real Estate taxes are used to support the local school district as well as to fund county road maintenance.
If you feel that the tax is excessive, you may want to contact your taxing body and ask for an adjustment..

Mim Heisey
Real Estate Pro in Shippensburg PA
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 12, 2008

In PA, this is a property tax- regardless of whether or not there is a building on it. Our taxes are based on a multiplier (millage rate), as determined by municipality- times (x) the ASSESSED value...In Lancaster Co. and neighboring counties, tax assessments are not to be confused w/ APPRAISED value....Assessed value is merely the multiplier for taxes. Happy to speak with you about this, if I've confused you! It's a bit hard to convey via a web post. :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
It is simple, TO PAY TAXES ON VACANT LAND IS A FRAUD OF GOVERNMENT. iF YOU ADD THE SCHOOL TAXES a taxpayer paid during his life time, is above the amount that would have paid in any private school. The people are forced to pay to support government whom will extortion and black mail the "taxpayers" if they do not pay
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 21, 2013
I also pay school taxes on vacant properties, and I am wondering being that my properties don't have actual addressess, ie. 000 main st for example. How can I be charged school taxes when there is absolutely no way I can send anyone to school from that piece of property. I think vacant properties should be excluded from school taxes, not land taxes, but, school taxes. Seeing that you need an address to send your kid to school from, or collect any type of state benefits for that matter. For example, a star program, which you obviously can't get on a vacant piece of property because of no address or residence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 8, 2012
just wondering if your assessors are voted in by the people or the town officials? Because if they are voted in by the town officials, their loyalty lies with the treasurers, when they need money, or more money where is the first place they go? Us here in upstate ny have an assessor that works essientally for 7 different counties. We have no choices, he is NOT voted in, he is paid and chosen by town officials, and our town it is $69.00 per thousand assessed!! So, you can imagine how that keeps our property values extremely poverty level, and it causes your old historic homes to be turned into 6 apartments, just to afford the taxes. When they could change their assessed value per thousand assessed, and make it more of an affluent society, and still bring in the same income.Drop the tax rate per thousand assessed, but, raise the property value. Then maube people could get some equity out of their homes, and increasing the amount of money people could access in our town that has been backwards for decades.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 8, 2012
"In many areas of Pennsylvania Real Estate taxes are used to support the local school district as well as to fund county road maintenance"...

Well, I somehow think that funding for road maintenance takes the very back seat as far as taxes go. Pennsylvania has some of the worst roads in the nation. I remember the first time I asked about where the tax money is spent and the tax collector for the municipality I was living in said to road maintenance... I laughed in her face and asked her if I could have some of the money back for vehicle maintenance since the road conditions had caused me to spend so much to repair damage due to pot holes and rough roads.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
i have no kids of my own, but since i benefit from your kids being in school, and i now have vested interest in their education i should be able to ground them if they do not meet my scholastic expectations? i should be able to take away their toys?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 17, 2008
Way to go Jim!...Great way to answer this kind of question but seriously aren't we just kidding ourselves here? I agree with Jim Ireyna however there should be some sort of voluntary tax basis or relief for vacant land...or at least a smaller fee/tax bassis?...Don't you agree?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008
Nicely put Jim. A very elegant way of stating this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
You own property in the municipality. Why should you not have to pay school taxes? You have the opportunity to build; the fact that you do not is your opportunity cost.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 9, 2008
Dear Ireyna,

I am in the process of purchasing a buildable lot in the PA area. Please contact me if you are planning on selling your lot. My contact info is (Cell): 267-280-3234 or email
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 12, 2008
Unfortunately, school taxes are like viewing art....Everyone has an opinion! Of course, the "good of the public" excuse is the reason we charge those with no kids, or homes on vacant lots, school taxes.

On the positive side, you Pennsylvania real estate taxes are LOW because the land is vacant. I would hate to think what you would be paying if there was an empty house on the lot!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 7, 2008
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer