Property & Income Taxes
If you are a homeowner, you can’t avoid the expense of property taxes. Everyone would like to pay less. But, if you own property in Wilkinsburg, property taxes are a significant concern. In 2020, the total combined school and borough taxes were higher than any of the other 129 municipalities in Allegheny County.1
Prospective home buyers often cite high property taxes as the primary reason for not purchasing a home in Wilkinsburg. Our high property tax rates also contribute to our ongoing population decline.
What are Wilkinsburg’s property tax rates and how do they compare to Pittsburgh?
Property taxes are measured in millage rates. One mil is the dollar amount taxed per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.
Why are our property taxes so high?
Wilkinsburg’s rate of population loss over the past 10 years is more than double the City of Pittsburgh’s. As more people move out of the Borough, revenues decline—but expenses continue to rise. A recent analysis of Borough finances estimated that if nothing changes, expenses will exceed revenues by the year 2025.2
Can’t we repair properties, and return them to the tax roll to generate more revenue and lower taxes?
While addressing vacancy and encouraging homeownership is important, there is not enough property in Wilkinsburg to solve the problem. Even if every vacant and tax-delinquent parcel were occupied and current on taxes, revenue would increase only by approximately 36%. To get our millage rate close to Pittsburgh’s, Wilkinsburg would need to double our property tax revenue.
As a homeowner, what impact would a merger have on my property taxes?
To calculate the impact, multiply your home’s County Assessed Value by the millage rate. To find your property’s assessed value, visit the Allegheny County Real Estate Portal.
If we decide to move forward with a merger, will we adopt Pittsburgh’s tax structure immediately?
The merger that would be on the ballot in November is for the municipal governments only. The decision to combine school districts would be made jointly between the WSD and PPS school boards. A municipal merger would, however, significantly increase the likelihood of a school merger. The tax structure will reflect the separate school districts unless and until the school districts merge, as well.
Will Allegheny County increase my assessment if the merger goes through?
Unless a county-wide reassessment is conducted, properties are only reassessed in certain circumstances (when they are sold; if there is an error/omission; if significant physical changes—such as demolitions, subdivisions, or new construction/additions are made to the property—or if the owner files an appeal). Find out more here visit the Allegheny County Real Estate Department website here.
What impact would a merger have on my income (or wage) taxes?
A merger will cause local wage tax to increase from 1% to 3%. See the median property value and income example below to understand the impact. A median home value homeowner at Wilkinsburg’s median income level will save $1,593 yearly.
1. A few Allegheny County municipalities tax land and building value separately or their school district is located outside the County and therefore cannot be included in the comparison.