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Old 12-30-2009, 12:04 AM
150 posts, read 361,108 times
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hi iwas looking at a home for $60,000 in new castle and it said mill rate total of 21.90 can someone tell me how much i would be paying. is home assessed on purchase price?
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:38 AM
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I am looking too and I am aware of a rather sizable school tax required in PA based on your property value, though I am not sure whether that is included in the tax estimate in the listings..
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:26 AM
Location: Pittsburgh area
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There are three property taxes on a house in PA: municipal, county and school district. My general experience would suggest that 21 mils is only one of the taxes. It will not, at least not in New Castle, be assessed on the purchase price but instead some fraction of some value that can be difficult to figure out. Real estate listings typically should give a dollar figure estimate.

It would appear that you can look up a Lawrence County house on their web site. That should give you the current assessed value. It says right on this page that it's not the market value:

Assessor Home Page

Click on Online Property Search to look up an address. (You have to create a login, though.) At least, I would assume it will allow you to look up an address.

Click on Tax Rates at the lower left, then the year, to see the millage rates. It gives the county, city and school rates for all municipalities in the county. I don't know why there are two rates listed under city for New Castle and whether that means you have to pay both or some people pay one and some people pay the other. Note that your address could say New Castle but be outside of its city limits, so to really know what the tax rate is you should confirm what municipality the house is in.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:02 AM
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Not to further complicate an already confusing topic, but I think it should be noted there has been some recent legal action involving assessments, and it is possible--maybe probable--that most counties will adopt a periodic reassesment program at some point in the medium-term future. So the safest thing to do is assume that eventually your assessment will start tracking the market price, at least at a lag.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania law also as an anti-windfall provisions which basically requires that after a reassessment, property tax rates automatically be reset to keep total revenue the same, absent the taxing jurisdiction specifically deciding to increase revenues. So this means that a reassessment leading to a higher assessed value for your property won't automatically lead to more taxes being paid--it depends on what is happening with the assessments on the other properties in the jurisdiction, and whether the taxing authority decides to increase revenue or not.

So that is confusing. But here is what I would suggest as a general conclusion: if your assessment looks low given your purchase price, that is likely going to change at some point. But you may not pay much more in taxes when that changes, unless your assessment is REALLY low compared to the other people around you. In other words, if you think you are getting a real bargain thanks to a bottom-basement assessment, that bargain may not last (that, in fact, is what the lawsuits are all about).
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