City Council Expected to Extend Early Tax Payment Deadline for Pittsburgh Homeowners

Feb 3, 2015

Pittsburgh homeowners will have until Feb. 28 to receive a two percent discount on their property taxes.
Credit Flickr user Joseph A

Pittsburgh homeowners who are scrambling to meet a Feb. 10 deadline for early payment of taxes, which entitles them to a 2 percent discount, can breathe easy.

City Councilman Dan Gilman on Tuesday introduced legislation to extend that deadline to Feb. 28.

He said many taxpayers did not receive their bills until Jan. 31, while others have not received them at all yet.

“Unfortunately we had received some bad data from the school district and had to throw out the tax bills and start over, resulting in about a two week delay,” Gilman said. “So … I’m extending the early return deadline by two weeks as well.”

According to a statement released Tuesday by Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, the school district did not correctly apply tax abatements to some properties.

But Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said the city did not properly communicate with the school district regarding their timeline for releasing tax bills.

“The city’s timeline was created without consultation of the district and not aligned to the timeline for board approval at the Jan. 21 legislative meeting,” Pugh said. “The district’s timeline for board approval was communicated in advance to the City.”

She said changes in the Homestead/Farmstead abatements were not presented to and approved by the school board until Jan. 21, and differed from the preliminary values shared with the city on Jan. 16.

Regardless of the origin of the tax bill delay, Peduto said he is in favor of the deadline extension.

“Real Estate Tax is often a large payment for homeowners and I support giving them more time to plan for and pay those taxes under our discount program,” Peduto said.

Typically it takes at least two weeks for a bill to make its way through Council, but Gilman said they were able to waive some rules of Council due to the urgent nature of the legislation.

“We will give it both a preliminary and a final approval at tomorrow’s meeting, so it will have a 24-hour turnaround,” Gilman said, referencing Wednesday’s standing committee meeting. Typically, Council waits six days after taking a preliminary vote to give final approval to a bill at the Tuesday regular meeting.

Gilman said the bill has received full support from his colleagues on Council.

“If you were out of town, if your mail is delayed for some reason, if it gets delivered to your neighbor’s house or any other chance happening, you could miss the deadline entirely, and that’s just not fair to city homeowners,” Gilman said.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to include comment from Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh.