The Pennsylvania Property Tax Life Cycle

The first step in the process is tax assessment. The goal of this step is to assign a fair and equitable value to each parcel in the county relative to the value of every other parcel in the county.

The next step is bill preparation.  This involves gathering millage rates from the taxing bodies, determining the end of the discount and start of the penalty periods, and making sure that all legally required language is included on each bill.  Bills are then sorted to maximize USPS bulk mail discounts.

Elected tax collectors, who represent individual boroughs and townships, collect most of the current taxes in Pennsylvania. Individual taxpayers remit their taxes to the tax collector directly. The tax collector deposits these payments and makes regular distributions to the taxing bodies for which they collect.

The final step in the process is tax claim. At the end of the penalty period, the tax collector turns over any unpaid taxes to the county tax claim bureau and/or a third-party tax claim collection agency. Delinquent parcels have a full year to be paid off before they become eligible for tax sale. The parcels then begin going through a series of sales. Each successive sale clears additional liens from the property in an effort to get it into the hands of a new owner who will pay the property taxes.

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