MAY 2016



Michael B. Murray, Jr., Esq., has brought over fifteen years of diverse business law experience, including Real Estate, Municipal Law, Contracts and Project Management, with particular emphasis in Zoning and Land Use matters, to O’Donnell Weiss and Mattei to Co-Chair the firms growing Regional Zoning and Land Use Practice Group.

In his years of real estate and land use practice, Mike has represented developers, land owners, telecommunications companies and other applicants in every phase of obtaining project approvals from Municipal, County, State and Federal agencies. Mr. Murray has also served as a solicitor for municipalities, municipal authorities and zoning hearing boards. This public sector expertise promotes development of strong relationships with elected and appointed officials and brings a practical approach to cut through "red tape" and think "outside the box" to solve complicated issues and obtain project approvals.

Mike currently resides in North Coventry Township with his wife and three sons. He is actively involved in local youth sports organizations, charitable organizations and State and local politics.

Phone: 610-323-2800
Fax: 610-718-1365
Email: mmurray@owmlaw.com

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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.

Tax Assessment Appeals – Are your Real Estate Taxes Too High Because of an Inaccurate Assessment of Your Property?

Over the last decade there have been severe economic impacts to the value of real estate in Pennsylvania as well as the rest of the United States, causing inaccurate assessments of commercial and residential real estate. When an assessment of real estate is not accurate, it is not based on the true fair market value of the property and the result is quite often that you are paying significantly more in real estate taxes than you should be paying.

Many taxpayers do not pay much attention to their county and local Real Estate Tax bills because they are a fraction of the bill they receive each July for the Real Estate Taxes owed to the local School District. WELL THAT BILL HAS ARRIVED AND YOU SHOULD TAKE NOTICE. Furthermore, many people confuse the Assessed Value of their property with the Fair Market Value of their property. Your tax bills provide you with the Assessed Value of your property which today is a fraction of the true Market Value of your property. When individuals see the Assessed Value, which is far less than what they believe the Market Value of their property is, they often believe they should not appeal their tax assessment, because if they bring it to the attention of the County Board of Assessments, their taxes could actually increase. However, research of many of the neighborhoods in both Chester and Montgomery Counties indicates that many taxpayers are overpaying their real estate taxes by more than $1,600 per year.

The Common Level Ratios for 2015-2016 were reduced from the prior year creating the potential for greater tax savings as compared to the last couple of years. Counties limit the time when you can file an Annual Tax Assessment Appeal. The annual appeal period begins May 1 and runs until August 1 in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Lancaster Counties and August 15 in Berks County. If you choose to appeal your tax assessment, the process is relatively simple. We use comparable property values and advise you to obtain an appraisal to argue for an adjustment to your property’s value on your behalf. There are normally no intrusive county inspections of your property, and your tax rate could be significantly lowered for the 2017 tax year and every year thereafter.

Since our office handles all of the details with the County Board of Assessments, the process requires very little of your time and the entire cost of the appeal can be paid for with just a few months of the permanent annual tax savings that results from this process.

If you would care to discuss your particular real estate tax assessment in detail, please call please call me at 610-323-2800 or email me at mmurray@owmlaw.com. Also, please watch OWM's May/June 2015 Legal Talk program regarding Real Estate Assessment Law Update on our website here.


Firm News

May is National Elder Law Month and OWM Law is proud to be participating in several ways. OWM attorneys are offering free Will and Power of Attorney document reviews by appointment. See press release here.

Also, Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., and Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq.,will be hosting a table at the Healthy Lifestyles Expo at Sunnybrook Ballroom, Pottstown, PA, on 5/19/16 from 9:30 a.m..to 1:30 p.m., which is co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Quigley and TriCounty Community Network (see www.tcnetwork.org for more info).

In addition, Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., and Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq., are presenting a free educational workshop at OWM’s office in Phoenixville, PA on 5/26/16 at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. regarding "Preparing to Age at Home.” Click here for more information.

Upcoming Events

Watch Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, or on our website here.

Read Legal Ease every first and third Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.

O'Donnell,Weiss & Mattei, P.C.

41 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
Fax: 610-323-2845

347 Bridge Street, Suite 200
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Fax: 610-917-9348