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September 3, 2002 marks the deadline for filing real estate tax appeals in most Pennsylvania counties. Generally, the counties do not reappraise real estate but rely on the State Equalization Board to maintain the annual common level ratios for the individual counties. In effect, the CLR changes assessed market value without reassessments, resulting in an indirect annual reappraisal. As a result, ratios must be reviewed diligently.

For instance, Chester County, outside of Philadelphia, reappraised in 1998, and although the assessments have not changed and the CLR dropped from 100% to 80.5%. Therefore, a 1998 market value assessment of $1 million has increased 24.2% to $1.2 million for the 2003 assessment. By dividing the assessed value by the ratio, you can compare your assessment to market value.

In order to review your assessment properly and utilize the most recent ratios, visit the STEB web site at http://www.steb.state.pa.us/.

J. Kieran JenningsSiegel Siegel Johnson & [email protected] Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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