Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion (Act 50)

Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion (Act 50) provides for a reduced property tax assessment on qualifying owner-occupied properties for Allegheny County tax purposes only.

Qualifying Properties

Only primary residences qualify. A homeowner can only have one homestead exclusion. Any other homesteads will be removed, and the owner is subject to interest, penalties, and fines up to $2,500. Properties that may qualify for the homestead exclusion include:

  • Owner-occupied residential property and certain farmstead properties
  • Church's rectory or manse that is a primary residence
  • Property with "mixed" commercial and residential use (for instance, a dentist who has an office on the first floor of a building and resides on the top floor)
  • Property in a trust that is still used as a primary residence for an individual
  • Property owned by honorably discharged wartime veterans having 100% service-connected disability

Act 50 Exclusions

  • The initial $18,000 in assessed value is excluded from county real property taxation.
  • Although this program is for Allegheny County tax purposes only, school districts and municipalities may also participate.
    • School and municipality participation questions should be directly addressed to those entities.

How to Apply for the Homestead/Farmstead (Act 50) Exclusion

  • Download the Act 50 Applications(PDF, 1MB) and complete it.
  • The application must be submitted by March 1 for the exclusion to be in effect for the current and future tax years.
  • Note: Qualification for Act 50 automatically activates the Act 1 exclusion for school taxes as well. No additional application is required.
  • If an application is denied or the determination is not agreed to, a Homestead/Farmstead (Act 50) determination is appealable by Special Appeal.

After Applying for the Act 50 Exclusion

Property owners who have already filed for the Act 50 exclusion do not need to re-file in subsequent years.

  • To see if you already have an application on file, visit the Allegheny County Real Estate Site.
  • The "General Information" tab for your property will show "Yes" in the Homestead line on the left side of the web page if your application is on file.
  • Only reapply if:
    • There is a name change to a deed, such as a deed transferred to a maiden name, or a deed entering a property into a trust.
    • You have a new primary residence within Allegheny County.

Removal of the Act 50 Exclusion

The removal of the Act 50 Exclusion happens automatically when a property sale is processed through the Division of Real Estate. It takes effect on January 1 of the calendar year following the recorded sale.

The removal may also be requested by property owners. To start the removal process, download and submit a signed Removal Form(PDF, 411KB).

Mail the removal form to:

Office of Property Assessments
Attn: Legislative Acts
542 Forbes Avenue, Room 347
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

How Much Can Taxes Be Reduced?

How the Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion (Act 50) Works

The exclusion provides a $18,000 reduction in assessed value for Allegheny County real property taxation and results in $85.14 in annual savings of county taxes for most constituents.

The amount of real property tax owed by any taxpayer is the tax rate (measured in mills) multiplied by the assessed value of said property.

  • Allegheny County's tax rate is 4.73. This means that for every $1,000 in assessed value, a taxpayer will pay $4.73 in taxes.
  • Millage is the tax rate expressed in mills (thousandths of a dollar) per dollar. 1 mill = 0.001, 4.73 = 0.00473

Example 1 (without exclusion):

A property is assessed at $100,000.

The property tax would be $473.00 for the year:

Assessed Value multiplied by the Tax Rate = Tax Owed
$100,000 x 0.00473 = $473.00

Example 2 (with exclusion):

The same property receives an $18,000 Homestead Exclusion.

This same property now has an assessment of $82,000 and the tax owed is $387.86 — a savings of $85.14:

Assessed Value minus the Homestead Exclusion multiplied by the Tax Rate = Tax Owed
$100,000 - $18,000 = $82,000 x 0.00473 = $387.86

Understanding the Homestead and Farmstead Exclusions

In November of 1997, Pennsylvania voters approved a change in the Commonwealth constitution to allow a method of real property tax relief, called a homestead exclusion, to be implemented in Pennsylvania. A homestead exclusion provides real property (also known as "real estate" or "property") tax relief to homeowners. It allows certain properties, such as a home, to receive preferential treatment under the real property tax, reducing the owner's taxes. The November vote changed the constitution to permit the General Assembly to pass legislation implementing the homestead exclusion.

The Homestead Property Exclusion Program Act was passed in May 1998 (Act 50 of 1998). Act 50 was amended on October 31, 2000 (see "Amendment to Act 50"). Act 50 provided implementing language and rules for how the homestead exclusion can be used in a school district, county, and municipality (township, borough, or city). Homestead exclusions and a similar exclusion for farm properties, called the Farmstead Exclusion, can now be made by school districts, counties, townships, boroughs, and cities.

Under Act 50 of 1998, a taxing jurisdiction (school district, county, or municipality) can implement homestead and farmstead exclusions without any change to the existing local tax structure, as long as the jurisdiction can pay for them without increasing real property taxes. The law also provides a mechanism for school districts to change their local tax structure by relying more upon an earned income tax, and in exchange reducing the real property tax and eliminating several nuisance taxes (the per capita, occupation, and occupational privilege taxes). School districts making this change are required to use the homestead and farmstead exclusions to make these real property tax reductions.

Because the homestead and farmstead exclusions are not necessarily tied directly to the school tax changes in Act 50 of 1998, local tax reform issues will not be addressed, except where they may relate to the exclusions.

Amendment to Act 50

Signed by Governor Ridge on October 30, 2000

Section 3. The Act is amended by adding a Section to read:

Section 1975. Homestead Property Exclusion Procedure. -- (A) The provisions of 53 PA.C.S. § 8584 (relating to administration and procedure) shall not apply to a county of the second class, or a political subdivision of a county of the second class, that implements an exclusion authorized under 53 PA.C.S. Ch. 85 Subch. F (relating to Homestead Property Exclusion). In lieu of the provisions set forth in 53 PA.C.S. § 8584, a county of the second class that implements an exclusion authorized by 53 PA.C.S. Ch. 85 Subch. F shall adopt such rules, regulations and procedures as deemed necessary and reasonable for its use or the use of the political subdivisions situate therein to administer this program of exclusions.

This information is intended to inform readers about the homestead and farmstead exclusions. The material is general and educational, and is not intended to be legal advice, nor to replace the need for legal advice. If legal counsel is needed, seek the aid of a competent professional in the area.


Questions? Call 412-350-4636 and select Option 2.