Under current law, Pennsylvania school districts have the authority to pursue a tax assessment appeal on a property that they believe is under-assessed, called a 'spot' appeal. Because school districts don't have the education funding they need, especially with rising pension costs, they are increasingly relying on the method in order to generate more money. Specifically, school districts are beginning to target apartment complexes. Not only does this place an unfair financial burden on the apartment complexes, but it also affects the residents who receive rent hikes as a result.
According to Lehigh Valley Live, a larger problem of this method is it distorts uniformity in the taxing district, as a few property owners are forced to bear the burden of tax increases while owners of similarly-situated properties pay less. The Pennsylvania Constitution requires uniformity of taxation across all property types, yet cherry-picking properties for spot appeals is clearly not uniform. County boards of assessment are not allowed to conduct spot reassessments because they create non-uniformity, so why are school districts? The frequent use of spot appeals results in an inequitable system. However, unless legislation is enacted to end this practice of spot appeals, property owners and the more than 850,000 apartment residents throughout Pennsylvania are at risk for an unfair financial burden.
For the full article from Lehigh Valley Live, click here.