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Judge's decision could give property tax relief to 11,000 Allegheny County homeowners

Judge could give property tax relief to 11,000 Allegheny County homeowners
Judge could give property tax relief to 11,000 Allegheny County homeowners 02:30

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A judge's decision will give property tax relief to thousands of homeowners in Allegheny County and could soon do the same for tens of thousands more. It could be a boon to homeowners and a bane to school districts and local governments. 

The decision will give immediate relief to about 11,000 property owners whose assessments are already on appeal but its impact could extend to everyone who owns property in Allegheny County.

It started with the newcomers -- people who bought homes in the county, only to have their assessment appealed by school districts and saw their taxes doubled. Judge Alan Hertzberg has now ruled new homebuyers like Shaquille Charles and Madelyn Gioffre were unfairly assessed.

"It affects so many people in Allegheny County. New people who come to Allegheny County and Pittsburgh and it's just going to provide so much relief. I'm just thrilled," said Gioffre.

Under a new assessment formula or ration established by Judge Hertzberg, some 11,000 property owners with current appeals at the Property Assessment Board are in line for major property tax reductions. Assessment consultant Mike Suley says he will ask County Council to make all property owners eligible to file appeals under that new formula.

"I want County Council to open the appeal window for everyone in Allegheny County to get a tax break," Suley said. 

That's in the future, but already under this decision, school districts as well as local and county governments are already looking at major reductions in tax revenues from homeowners paying less taxes, but especially from big building owners whose properties lost tenants and value during the pandemic.

"There are pending tax assessment appeals for very large commercial appeals in the city and beyond that the are immediately impacted and could result in some significant refunds that the entire community, the entire tax base in going to suffer from," said Pittsburgh School District attorney Megan Turnbull.

Right now, most property owners don't have the ability to appeal under the new formula, but with this decision, the fight is on. 

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