The state of Pennsylvania does not levy or collect taxes on real estate or personal property. Instead, those taxes are reserved for the local governments - counties, municipalities and school districts. In most areas of Pennsylvania all three groups will levy real estate or property taxes - with rates differing depending upon the county, school district and municipality in which you live.
What Property is Taxed?:
Property taxes in Pennsylvania apply only to real estate - land and buildings - and are not levied on cars, business inventory, or other personal property. Certain types of property are exempt from property taxes in Pennsylvania, including places of worship, places of burial, charitable and educational institutions and government property.
How to Calculate Your Property Taxes:
Property taxes in Pennsylvania are based on millage rates set by individual municipalities and school districts. In other words, property taxes in Pennsylvania vary from one county to another, and even from one town to the next. The amount of property tax you will owe is based on a combination of your assessed property value (as determined by the county assessment office) and the millage rates of the municipality and school district in which you live.
What's a Mill?:
Property tax rates in Pennsylvania are referred to as millage rates, and they are figured in mills. One mill is equal to 1/1,000 of a dollar. Basically, for every $1,000 in taxable value, a property owner will pay $1 in taxation per mill.
Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program:
Taxpayers who qualify can file for Pennsylvania's Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program and be reimbursed up to $500 a year for the amount they paid in property taxes or rent. Applicants need to file Form PA-1000 by July 1. This program is available for persons 65 years and older or disabled taxpayers who meet other conditions.
Pennsylvania Homeowner Tax Relief - Act 72:
In an effort to provide property tax relief, Pennsylvania Act 72, also known as the Homeowner Tax Relief Act, allows school districts to use tax revenue from slot machines installed at racetracks and casinos to lower local property taxes. This property tax relief program has not yet gone into effect.
Pennsylvania Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion - Act 50:
Act 50 of 1998 allows participating Pennsylvania school districts, counties and municipalities to offer property tax reductions to permanent residents of their jurisdiction. This homestead exclusion reduces the assessed values of single family homes, condominiums, farms and other places of permanent residence, reducing the property taxes on the property.
The Homestead exclusion is only available in jurisdictions which have approved it through ordinance or referendum. To receive a homestead or farmstead exclusion on your property, you need to file an application form with your county assessor.