Rules Governing Appeal From Real Estate Tax Assessments; No. 3 of 2016
[46 Pa.B. 5079]
[Saturday, August 20, 2016]
And Now, this 3rd day of August 2016, It Is Hereby Ordered that current Westmoreland County Rule of Civil Procedure W4001 is hereby rescinded and Rule W6001 is hereby adopted.
By the Court
RICHARD E. McCORMICK, Jr.,
1) Eliminate Rule W4001
2) Amend Rule W6001 to read as follows:
Rules Governing Appeals from Real Estate Tax Assessments.
The following provisions shall govern all tax assessment appeals from decisions of the Board of Assessment Appeals:
(1) The following parties must be listed in the caption of the appeal:
(i) owner(s) of the real estate and/or taxable property;
(ii) the Westmoreland County Board of Assessment Appeals;
(iii) the municipality in which the property is located;
(iv) the school district in which the property is located; and
(v) the County of Westmoreland.
(2) Any entity that has an interest in the appeal in addition to those set forth in subsection (a)(1) of this Rule may enter an appearance, subject to the objection of any party listed in aforesaid subsection. Such entity must provide notice of its appearance to all other parties within five (5) days of its entry.
(1) The party filing the appeal to court shall be designated as the appellant. The Board of Assessment Appeals shall be designated as the appellee. All other parties set forth above at (a) shall be designated as interested parties. The Tax Map Number assigned to the parcel that is the subject of the appeal shall be listed below the appellant/appellee/interested parties. The Tax Map Number shall be listed in the format shown on the forms appended to this Rule and contain 15 digits and include dashes. The Prothonotary shall index each appeal by each party and the Tax Map Number. The caption shall be in a form substantially similar to the example appended to this Rule.
(c) Time For and Content of Appeals.
(1) An appeal from the decision of the Board of Assessment Appeals must be verified by the owner or other appropriate party and filed with the Prothonotary within thirty (30) days of the date of mailing of the notice of decision by the Board.
(2) An appeal shall contain the following:
(i) names of the parties;
(ii) identification of the property by address;
(iii) a reference to the source of ownership for, or interest in, the parcel designated by the Tax Map Number;
(iv) a concise statement of the reasons for the appeal; and
(v) a copy of the decision of the Board of Assessment Appeals.
(3) No Order of Court is required to file an appeal.
Within five (5) days from the date of filing a tax assessment appeal, the appellant shall serve a copy of the appeal upon all other parties including the Board, the County, the municipality, and the school district in which the real estate is situate; and upon the property owner, if the owner is not the appellant. Service shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested and by first class mail, postage pre-paid or personal service by hand delivery and acceptance by the served party. A certificate of service shall be filed by the serving party within ten (10) days of said service.
(e) Withdrawal of Appeals.
No appeal may be withdrawn without the consent of all other parties or by leave of court.
(1) All motions in real estate tax assessment appeals shall be presented to the Judge assigned to the case by the Court Administrator.
(2) The Appellant shall provide to the Court a proposed order for a status conference within forty-five (45) days from the date of service of the appeal upon the Board of Assessment Appeals. The Appellant shall provide the Court with a self-addressed, envelope, postage pre-paid, in which the Court will return the executed original order to said Appellant. Upon receipt of the order scheduling the status conference, the Appellant shall promptly file the original order with the Prothonotary and serve a copy of the order on all parties and/or each attorney of record by first class mail. A Certificate of Service showing the same shall be filed with the Prothonotary within ten (10) days of said service. All parties must appear personally or through counsel at the status conference. At that time the Court may issue a scheduling order that includes, but is not limited to, a time for the exchange of any expert reports and a time for the completion of discovery. The Court will schedule a settlement conference or set a trial date for the appeal. The proposed order shall be in a form substantially similar to the example appended to this Rule.
(1) Discovery pursuant to the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure is specifically authorized during an appeal from an assessment fixed by the Board of Assessment Appeals.
The Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure are not applicable to tax assessment appeals except as specifically authorized by the county Local Rules of Court. See Appeal of Borough of Churchill, 575 A.2d 550, 525 Pa. 80 (1990)]
(1) When discovery is completed, the appellant shall request the assigned judge to schedule the appeal for trial.
(2) Upon the request of the appellant, the Court shall schedule the trial for a date certain.
(3) In the event the appellant fails to request a date certain for trial of the appeal, upon the motion of any party or upon the judge's own motion, the Court may enter an order setting the date for trial.
(4) A motion to continue the trial shall be presented to the Court at least two weeks prior to the date scheduled for trial. In deciding such a motion for continuance, the Court will consider the grounds set forth in Pa.R.C.P. No. 216.
(5) In cases that have been inactive for an unreasonable period of time, on motion of any party the Court may issue a Rule to Show Cause why the appeal should not be terminated. The Court upon return of said Rule may terminate inactive cases pursuant to the standards and procedures articulated in Pa.R.C.P. No. 230.2.
EXAMPLE PROPOSED SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PA
(OWNER), ] ] Appellant, ] ] vs. ] No. _____ of 20______ ] WESTMORELAND COUNTY BOARD ] OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF ] ] Appellee. ] ] vs. ] ] WESTMORELAND COUNTY, (MUNICIPALITY) ] and (SCHOOL DISTRICT), ] ] Interested Parties. ] TAX MAP NUMBER ##-##-##-#-###-##-### (The Tax Map Number must appear in the above format)
ORDER OF COURT SETTING STATUS CONFERENCE
AND NOW, this ______ day of ______ , 20______, it is ORDERED that:
1. A status conference is set for ______ , 20______ in Court Room # _____ at ______:______ am/pm; and
2. All parties to the above captioned tax assessment appeal, including all interested parties, shall attend said status conference in person or through counsel.
BY THE COURT:
EXAMPLE ASSESSMENT APPEAL CAPTION
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PA
(OWNER), ] ] Appellant, ] ] vs. ] No. _____ of 20______ ] WESTMORELAND COUNTY BOARD ] OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF ] ] Appellee. ] ] vs. ] ] WESTMORELAND COUNTY, (MUNICIPALITY) ] and (SCHOOL DISTRICT), ] ] Interested Parties. ] ] TAX MAP NUMBER ##-##-##-#-###-##-### ] (The Tax Map Number must appear in the above format)
In appeals where the Owner is not the appellant, the Taxing Body or other such appealing party shall be listed as the Appellant. In such cases, the Owner shall be listed as an additional Interested Party.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-1423. Filed for public inspection August 19, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]
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