Cozen O’Connor: Spot Assessment Stricken [Tax Alert]

Spot Assessment Stricken

Tax Alert

June 16, 2015

A divided panel of The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held that a reassessment of property upon the expiration of a KOZ abatement was an unlawful spot assessment. Duke Energy Fayette II, LLC v. Fayette County Board of Assessment Appeals, No. 1406 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Commw. Apr.  14, 2015). Tax on the real property was abated because it was located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone. Improvements were made in 2003, but the county board decided not to reassess the property in order to avoid incurring the cost of an appraisal. The court held that a reappraisal eight years after the construction constituted a spot assessment and was unlawful. The court cited in support Shenandoah Mobile Co. v. Dauphin County Board of Assessment Appeals, 869 A.2d 562 (Pa. Commw. 2005). The court distinguished an earlier case that held that a county could reassess property after an improvement when it had no prior notice of the improvement. Butch v. Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals, 83 Pa. D. & C. 4th 517 (2006), aff’d, 958 A.2d 1158 (Pa. Commw. 2008). Not only was the county aware of the improvements, the county deliberately postponed any reassessment.


Authors

Joseph C. Bright

Member

jbright@cozen.com

(215) 665-2053

Dan A. Schulder

Member

dschulder@cozen.com

(717) 703-5905

Cheryl A. Upham

Member

cupham@cozen.com

(215) 665-4193

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To discuss any questions you may have regarding the opinion discussed in this Alert, or how it may apply to your particular circumstances, please contact: Joseph C. Bright at jbright@cozen.com or 215.665.2053, Dan A. Schulder at dschulder@cozen.com or 717.703.5905, Cheryl A. Upham at cupham@cozen.com or 215.665.4193 or Jaime Reichardt atjreichardt@cozen.com or 215.665.3729.