Appeal Hearing


RULE 7. Notice of Hearing

Notice of the date and time of the hearing shall be deposited in the mail twenty (20) days prior to the scheduled day and time to appear.  A third-party notice will be sent to said appellant(s)’s attorney of record or to an authorized representative only upon written instruction by the appellant(s).


RULE 8. Postponement of Hearing

All requests for a postponement of a hearing shall be in writing and shall be filed with the Board at least five (5) days prior to the date set for the hearing and shall set forth the grounds relied upon in support thereof.

Any request for postponement received within five (5) days of the date set for the hearing will be considered by the Board on an individual basis for determination.  Appellants are advised, however, that due to the limited time period for the Board to consider appeals, a request for postponement may not be granted and every possible attempt shall be made to avoid rescheduling a hearing.

The Board conducting the hearing shall have the right to continue the said hearing from day to day, or to adjourn it to a later date, or to a different place, by announcement thereof at the hearing or by other appropriate notice.


RULE 9. Failure to Appear at Hearing

Failure of the appellant to appear at the hearing, after due notice thereof, shall be considered an abandonment of the appeal.


RULE 10. Procedure at Hearing

All hearings are open to the public:  No hearing shall be subject to audio, video or photographic recording without the expressed consent of the Board.

At all hearings, the Board will hear such evidence as may be submitted by the appellant(s).  During the appeal hearing, the property owner or representative shall state the basis of the appellant(s)’s appeal and shall make a full and complete disclosure of the appellant(s)’s information bearing upon the property’s fair market value.  The Board may examine the appellant(s) or witness(es) appearing on appellant(s)’s behalf and may require the appellant(s) to furnish additional information or data for consideration in arriving at a determination of fair market value.  At the conclusion of the hearing and after such review and consideration as may be required, the Board will render its decision.

Testimony regarding taxes, tax increases, percentage of assessment increases, financial ability to pay and related complaints will not be permitted.  The sole matter at issue is the fair market value of the property.

Pursuant to statute, there are three (3) approaches to ascertain the fair market value of property is determined: (1) sales comparison; (2) income; and (3) cost.  53 Pa.C.S.A. § 8842.  An Appellant should be prepared to discuss all three.

In the case of an assessment, which includes both land and building values, testimony will be accepted concerning the total value only.  The Board will not consider the appeal of either land or building as separated from the total.

Dauphin County utilizes a base valuation year for assessment of 2001, with a stated ratio of assessment to market value of 100%.  Your assessment is therefore expressed in 2001 dollars.

The relationship of the base year assessment to current market value of the property is controlled by the common level ratio of assessment in effect as of the date the appeal was filed. 

Your assessment will be equalized with the assessments of properties throughout the entire County by the application of the common level ratio of assessment to the Board’s finding of current market value.

In the event the common level ratio (as certified annually by the Tax Equalization Division of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, formerly known as STEB) is applicable to this appeal (The Consolidated County Assessment Law, Title 53, Chapter 88, Subchapter C, Section 8841 et al), the Board of Assessment Appeals will apply the appropriate common level ratio to set the property assessment after first determining the current fair market value for the subject of this appeal. 

The Board of Assessment Appeals shall make the following determination in any appeal:

a) the market value of the property as of the date such appeal was filed;

b) the common level ratio of assessment in effect as of the date the appeal was filed.

Your appeal must therefore be substantiated by an opinion of the current market value of the property involved.  You must be prepared to support your opinion by accepted appraisal processes, i.e. the cost, sales/market comparison, and income approaches.  A professionally prepared appraisal may be acceptable to substantiate this information.

In the event a professionally prepared appraisal is provided, the presentation of an appraisal does not relieve you from the requirements to divulge other documentation as detailed in these “Rules of Appeal Procedures”.

Written presentations, including appraisal reports, must be signed by the preparer.  This requirement extends particularly to but is not limited to “consulting reports”, “valuation reports”, “market analyses”, and any other similar presentations.

Testimony as to value will be accepted only from the following:

a) Owner; b) Principal in the corporation or other entity holding title or possessing an equitable interest in the property; c) Principal in the corporation or other entity having responsibility for payment of real estate taxes under terms of a lease with the owner; d) Tax department representative in the permanent employ of the owner or leasing entity; or e) Broker-Appraiser or PA-certified Appraiser as certified in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by the PA State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.

If the allegation is made that value in the subject area is being adversely affected by a certain nuisance or other factor, you must be prepared to document the impact of this problem through the use of market sales.  Information on property sales in all Dauphin County municipalities is on record in the Assessment Office.  This information  is available to assist you in determining an opinion of the current market value.

The assessment law places the County Assessment Office into a prima facie position.  This means that upon introduction of their assessment record into evidence, there is a presumption of law that the assessment is correct unless proven otherwise by the appellant(s).

The burden of proof is therefore upon you to establish your case.

The Assessment Office will be represented at the hearing by an expert witness.  Your testimony and evidence are subject to cross-examination.  The Assessment Office may, at its option, offer additional testimony and/or evidence beyond the assessment record.  Such testimony and/or evidence is also subject to cross examination.

All evidence not provided in advance of the hearing must be presented at the hearing.  The Board will not continue the hearing for the purpose of accepting evidence which was required to be presented on the original hearing date.

Any written presentation and/or evidence documents must be in a minimum of six (6) copies.  (See Rule #12 for details.)

The Board will allow a reasonable amount of time for the presentation of your appeal.

This time allotment is based upon the Board’s historic experience in hearing cases of similar nature and complexity.  You should be prepared to present your case in as brief and concise a manner as possible.  The volume of appeals being heard may, at times, cause delays; therefore, you should allow sufficient additional time in the event the Board is behind schedule.


RULE 11. Photographs

Appellant(s) is encouraged to produce at least one still photograph of the property under appeal and at least one still photograph of every property used as a comparable.  Failure to produce any such photo(s) shall not result in a refusal by the Board to hear relevant testimony on the particular property.


RULE 12. Evidence

The Board will not be bound by the strict rules of evidence normally applied to the courts.  The Board may, in its discretion, hear any and all evidence that it considers probative and helpful in deciding the appeal.  A record owner of property under consideration may offer his or her opinion of the fair market value either orally or in writing.

Written appraisal reports are strongly recommended. 

Written appraisals that are submitted as evidence must be dated no more than 18 months prior to the date of the filing of the appeal.


RULE 13. Submission of Written Reports

Where appellant(s) intends to present a written report relative to value, one copy of such report shall be delivered to the Board of Assessment Appeals Office at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for the hearing.  The balance of copies,  five, shall be brought along to the hearing for distribution.  Do not deliver all six copies to the Board of Assessment Appeals Office 10 days prior to the hearing.


RULE 14. Expert Witness -  Qualifications

Where appellant(s) intends to introduce an expert witness, the written qualifications of the expert witness, including proof of valid certification with the Pennsylvania State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers shall be submitted to the Board at the Assessment Office at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for the hearing.


RULE 15. Expert Witness -  Financial Interest

Where a written report relative to value is presented by a witness other than the owner, a statement shall be submitted as to whether such witness has any financial interest in the property involved in the appeal, and whether or not the compensation for testimony is contingent-fee based or based upon the outcome of the appeal.


RULE 16. Disqualification

Failure to adhere to Rule 11 through Rule 14 may result in the Board refusing to admit offered evidence, testimony, and/or to hear witness(es).


Rule 17. Property Subject  to Lease

Where the assessment appeal involves a property which is subject to a lease(s), the appellant(s) shall submit to the Board a verified copy of the lease(s) containing all terms and conditions.  In the case of apartment houses, office buildings, and shopping centers, the appellant(s) shall submit a verified copy of a typical lease, together with the latest rent schedule, a copy of the rent roll showing the tenant’s name, unit identification, square footage, bedroom and bath count, monthly or annual rents, and any additional payments made or required.  The appellant(s) shall also submit income and expense statements, with all notes and schedules, for the past three (3) years.


RULE 18. Taxing Districts

These rules shall be applicable to appeals by taxing districts.