Released: March 1, 2021
Delaware County has completed the mailing of all 2021 real estate tax bills to Delaware County property owners. These are the first tax bills that reflect the property values determined by the 2021 countywide reassessment project that resulted from a 2017 order of Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
The Court had determined the County's real estate assessments had become increasingly inequitable over time and would need to be updated to ensure that the tax burden born by property owners was fair and roughly uniform—the first Countywide reassessment since 2000.
The County and all local taxing authorities are legally prohibited from using the reassessment to obtain an increase in real estate taxes, per the anti-windfall provisions of Pennsylvania state law that provides that a countywide reassessment must initially be revenue neutral. As a result, the County reset its tax rate so that it will collect the same aggregate amount in real estate taxes in 2021 that it collected from properties in 2020. All municipalities did the same.
Although the County legally could have taken a separate vote to increase revenue by up to 10% in 2021, County Council instead passed a revenue-neutral budget, in part to minimize the impact on those property owners who might see a significant increase in their tax reassessment, and in part to spend prudently in light of the unknown impact on tax revenues resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Pennsylvania does not require annual or frequent property tax assessments. However, property owners should be aware that the tax burden upon any specific real estate owner may have increased or decreased, with some individual property owners paying more in real estate tax and some less. These changes reflect shifts in property values across communities throughout the county and vary both by property location and property type.
Due to the 21-year lag between the current and previous tax reassessment there was a more significant change in values than what property owners would expect if the State required more frequent reassessments.
The tax rates for all types real estate—residential, commercial, and industrial—are the same based on Pennsylvania law. For example, a home worth $1 million bears the same tax burden as a store worth $1 million and the county may not change this equal treatment. It is required by our State constitution.
Delaware County is confident that its countywide tax reassessment process has been completed in full compliance with the court order and State law.
The County’s Board of Assessment Appeals hears appeals each year. Property owners can appeal their 2022 real estate assessment between March 15 and August 1, 2021 by filing an appeal to the County’s Board of Assessment Appeals.
More information regarding assessments, including links to current valuations and the appeals process, can be found on the Delaware County website at www.delcopa.gov/treasurer/boa.html.