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Michelle Lally, Esquire
Until 1987, appeals taken from decisions made by the Board of Property Assessment
Appeals to the Court of Common Pleas were assigned to hearing before an arbitration
In 1987, upon an influx of tax assessment appeals, the Administrative Judge of the
Civil Division of Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas assigned some 490 Tax Assessment
Appeals then awaiting trial to the Board of Viewers for handling and disposition.
The procedure put into place at that time - pretrial settlement conferences conducted
by the Board - proved successful and the Board disposed of the cases in record time.
Henceforth, the jurisdiction of the Board of Viewers continues. Tax Assessment Appeals
are no longer heard by arbitration panels.
The Board of Viewers' jurisdiction is that of the Court of Common Pleas. It is imposed
upon appeal from the decision set down by the Board of Property Assessment (chief
responsibility - set assessments for the taxing body on each and every property
within the County of Allegheny). The Board hears tax assessment appeals matters
de novo pursuant to 12 P.S. §5350(2) (providing for de novo review by the Court
of Common Pleas).
In November 2001, the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas amended its Local Rules
governing realty tax assessment appeals. See Local Rules A502-A504, effective December