Bills Can Be a Taxing Task in Pennsylvania

Renee Bell, Director
215.253.6664 |

Kurt Lieberman, Principal
215.405.0410 |

For uninitiated out-of-state buyers, retrieving originals or copies of current or prior-year Pennsylvania tax bills is often impossible. Ryan’s Property Tax division advises clients who are looking to acquire or have recently acquired properties in Pennsylvania to ensure they record county documentation that correctly identifies new ownership and mailing address. Some counties will require a special warranty deed be filed, while others will not allow addresses to be changed from the property site address.

As Pennsylvania does not make online copies of tax bills available, doing this while recording your transaction is the ONLY way to ensure timely receipt of all tax bills by clients and will limit extensive penalties and interest (P&I).

As Pennsylvania real estate tax collection is handled at the local township and school district level, sometimes with different tax collectors, copies of tax bills are rarely available and are virtually nonexistent in an online capacity. Confirming the correct ownership entity and mailing address while recording the transaction is an important step to ensure timely receipt of all tax bills. While a 2% discount for early pay is typical, a 10% penalty is also typical in most jurisdictions for payments received after the face amount/non-discount time period. Pennsylvania law states tax bills are mailed as a courtesy, and failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve a property owner from the obligation to pay by December 31 of each year. State statute requires a tax sale bureau to collect interest and penalties on any payment received with a postmark after December 31. As each property in Pennsylvania could have multiple tax collectors who can mail bills and notices at differing dates and times throughout the year, having the mailing address correct is the most important piece of information to be verified by owners.