PITTSBURGH AREA PROPERTY TAXES… WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU
You may have already realized that Pittsburgh area property taxes are higher than property taxes in many other parts of the country. This page is designed as a primer to give you the basics about property taxes – you should consult with your personal tax advisor for more detailed information.
AREA TAXES GENERALLY
When considering property taxes in the Pittsburgh area, it is first important to
consider how much of your household budget you are accustomed to allotting to
all forms of taxation. It is then important to note the following about the Pittsburgh
area and modify your budget accordingly:
- Pennsylvania’s income tax rate is 3.07% (2018), which is significantly lower than
- In the Pittsburgh area, there is an earned income tax that is paid to the
municipality in which you live on income that you “earn” (not interest, for
example). For most of the municipalities outside the city of Pittsburgh, the rate is
1% — it is 3% in the city of Pittsburgh.
- The sales tax in the Pittsburgh area (Allegheny County) is 7% — this is not
applied to clothing or food.
- There is no yearly personal property tax (that is on cars, boats…). (There is, of
course, a sales tax on the items when they are purchased, although there is not a
Therefore, while the property taxes may be higher than you are accustomed to, if
you are moving here from outside Pennsylvania, you may find that when you
calculate the total tax burden on your budget, you are no worse off, even with the
higher property taxes (which, for those who itemize deductions on their federal
tax return, may be deductible in whole or in part).
PROPERTY TAXES SPECIFICALLY
Property taxes in the Pittsburgh area are paid in three installments – one to the
municipality in which your home is located, one to the school district in which
your home is located and one to the county in which your home is located. If your
taxes are escrowed by your mortgage company, you will not need to keep track
of these payment schedules.
When considering buying a home, you will see on the MLS information the
amount of taxes currently being paid on the property you are considering as well
as the assessed/market value of the home (the basis on which the taxes are
being paid). You should not assume that these will be your taxes as well.
Millages (the rate of the tax) often increase yearly. You should also assume that
sooner or later your assessed value will be adjusted to at least equal your
purchase price (the assessed values are supposed to reflect market value, but
without a sale, this is difficult for the assessors to calculate).
Therefore, an easy rule of thumb to apply when trying to figure out what the taxes
will be on a home you are considering purchasing is to figure on spending $3000
per year in taxes for every $100,000 you spend on the home (this assumes a
30mil rate – this rate may be higher or lower depending on which municipality
you actually purchase a home in, but this is an easy way to get a rough estimate
when you are beginning to look for a home).
Below are 2018 millage rates for local areas that you can use to calculate the
projected taxes on the home you are considering purchasing in the Sewickley
area (to have included all of Allegheny County would be far too extensive – I can
email that to you if needed) – add up the millage rates for the county, school
district and municipality in which the property is located and apply it to the
purchase price for a worst case scenario.
COUNTY – 2018 (applied on a calendar year and paid in March)
Allegheny County 4.73
SCHOOLS – 2018 (applied on a fiscal year 7/1 – 6/30 and paid in August)
Quaker Valley (Sewickley) 18.9086
Moon Area 21.1170
North Allegheny 18.4557
MUNICIPALITIES – 2018(applied on a calendar year and paid in May)
Bell Acres 4.32
Franklin Park 1.29
Ohio Twp. 2.29
Pine Twp. .998
Sewickley Heights 5.5
Sewickley Hills 2.84
What About Some of the Outlying Counties? Aren’t They Cheaper Than
Some may suggest that living outside of Allegheny County will save you bundles
in property taxes because in some of the outlying counties (Beaver, Butler,
Washington, for example), millage rates are lower. If this is an option you would
consider, you should consider what the actual, tax-effected savings would be
(that is, if you itemize federal deductions, you are saving some federal taxes for
the property taxes you pay) as well as where your employment is and whether
the additional gas, commute time and wear-and-tear on your car is worth the
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