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Raup v. Dauphin County Board of Assessment Appeals

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

January 14, 2015

David Raup, Appellant
v.
Dauphin County Board of Assessment Appeals, Dauphin County, the Borough of Paxtang and the Central Dauphin Area School District

Argued, December 10, 2014

Appealed from No. 2012 CV 7855 TX. Common Pleas Court of the County of Dauphin. Evans, Judge.

Anthony T. McBeth, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Jeffrey B. Engle, Harrisburg, for appellee, Dauphin County Board of Assessment Appeals.

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE P. KEVIN BROBSON, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 954

FRIEDMAN, SENIOR JUDGE

David Raup appeals from the December 30, 2013, order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County (trial court) denying Raup's appeal from a final decision of the Dauphin County Board of Assessment Appeals (DCBAA). We reverse.

The facts are essentially undisputed. Raup is the owner of a tract of land in Paxtang, Dauphin County. On January 31, 2011, Raup filed a subdivision plan, subdividing the tract into two lots, Lot 5A and Lot 5B, which are located at 3777 and 3779 Derry Street, Harrisburg, respectively.[1] At that time, the taxing authority did not change the tax assessment for the tract.

On February 27, 2012, Raup recorded a deed in his name for Lot 5A for one dollar. In response, the taxing authority issued

Page 955

Raup a Notice of Change in Assessment, giving what was previously a single tract two separate tax parcel identification numbers. The taxing authority designated Lot 5A as parcel number 47-040-005 and Lot 5B as parcel number 47-040-010 and assessed each parcel individually.

On May 15, 2012, Raup appealed, pro se, the two assessments to the DCBAA. The DCBAA held a hearing on August 7, 2012, at which Raup contested the increased assessments and the fact that the parcels had been assessed at all. The DCBAA lowered the assessments for each Lot.[2] Raup appealed to the trial court, alleging that it was improper for the taxing authority to have issued new assessments on both parcels and that the assessment should have remained the same, on the tract as a whole.[3]

Before the trial court, Raup testified that he contacted the Dauphin County taxing authority asking how to obtain separate real estate tax bills for the two lots in his subdivision plan. The taxing authority told Raup to record a deed so that the two separate lots could be identified. Raup argued that the dollar-deed to himself was not a " sale" of real estate that triggered an assessment under section 8817 of the Consolidated County Assessment Law (Assessment Law), 53 Pa. C.S. ...


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