Pennsylvania Tax Assessment Appeal on a Property Sold for An Amount Significantly Higher Than the Fair Market Value

In Vees v. Carbon County Board of Assessment Appeals, 867 A.2d 742 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005), the Court addressed the validity of a property reassessment prompted by a school district's appeal. There, a school district initiated a tax assessment appeal on a property recently sold for an amount significantly higher than the fair market value set during the latest county-wide reassessment. After the county assessment board sustained the school district's appeal, the property owners appealed to the trial court, arguing the manner in which the school district selected the property for appeal constituted an improper spot reassessment in violation of the uniformity and equal protection clauses. In rejecting this argument, the Court drew a critical distinction between those situations dealing with allegedly defective assessments by an entity clothed with the power to assess, and those situations dealing with allegedly defective assessment appeals. As to the latter, we examined the statutory provisions allowing school districts the same appeal rights as property owners and the cases applying those statutory provisions. The Court held the exercise of assessment appeal rights uniformly available to all interested parties did not amount to deliberate, purposeful discrimination, and, therefore, did not offend the uniformity clause as a matter of law.