Consolidated Lawsuit Challenging Over $30 million in Real Estate Taxes Proceeds

On Friday, January 19, 2018, Judge Daniel Anders of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas overruled the City of Philadelphia's preliminary objections to an argument that seventy commercial and industrial property owners cannot challenge their real estate value reassessments for tax year 2018 in a consolidated action without exhausting their administrative remedies before the Board of Revision of Taxes.  These commercial property owners constitute a small portion of what the City represented were 65,000 commercial, industrial and institutional properties that were spot assessed for tax year 2018. Judge Anders also ruled that the property owners' complaint stated a valid claim under the Pennsylvania Constitution's Uniformity Clause.

Judge Anders noted that the recent Valley Forge Towers decision held that an assessment appeal board, like the BRT, does not have the authority to review an assessing authority's decision to reassess a property. Rather, assessment appeal boards are limited to determining the value of any given property and the appropriate ratio to apply to determine such property's assessed value. This limitation is reflected in both the General County Assessment Law and the First Class County Assessment Law, both of which govern assessment appeals in Philadelphia County.

Judge Anders's order can be found here and is docketed at Duffield House Assocs., L.P., et al. v. City of Philadelphia, Sept. Term 2017, No. 1536, or 170901536. In addition, the Valley Forge Towers decision can be found here



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