Property Taxes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania consist of three basic components: City, County and School taxes. The City of Bethlehem collects ONLY the City portion of the property taxes for parcels located IN the City of Bethlehem. The County and School Tax portions are billed and payed directly to the appropriate County and School District.
Property assessment/values in Pennsylvania are set at the county level by the county assessment offices. The City of Bethlehem is a fairly unique city in Pennsylvania, with approximately 1/3rd of the City's area located in Lehigh County and 2/3rds of the City located in Northampton County. The two counties use different base years for determining the assessed value of properties in their respective jurisdictions. Due to difference in base years of property assessment, there are differing millage rates for parcels located in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
Property Tax Millage Rates
The current (2020) millage rates for the City portion of the real estate tax bill are:
Parcels located within Lehigh County – 5.76
Parcels located within Northampton County – 18.22
All property owners are required to pay their assessed Real Estate/Property Tax on or before May 29th of each tax year. A discount is granted to taxpayers who pay their City of Bethlehem Real Estate/Property Tax bills in full prior to March 31st for the 2020 tax year.
Due to the hardship caused by the COVID -19 pandemic, the City of Bethlehem has extended the Real Estate tax payment due dates for 2020. City of Bethlehem 2020 Real Estate Property Taxes are due in full postmarked by August 10, 2020. Payments received in full by May 11th, 2020 are granted a discount of 2%.
Installment plans (Quarterly Payments) are not eligible for the early payment discount. All payments not received in full that are not enrolled in the quarterly installment plan will be assessed a 10% penalty. All unpaid 2020 property tax collections will be turned over to Portnoff Law Associates, Ltd as of close of business on December 31, 2020.
Property Tax Billing
Property tax bills are mailed out in early January. Please note as per Pennsylvania tax collection law Section 7. Effect of Failure to Receive a Tax Notice (Purdon's Statute 72, Section 5511.7) Failure to receive notice shall not relieve any taxpayer from the payment of any taxes imposed by any taxing district, and such taxpayer shall be charged with his taxes as though he had received notice. Therefore, if you did not receive your real estate tax bill by the end of January, please contact the City of Bethlehem Tax Bureau at (610) 865-7022 to request a duplicate copy.
If your mortgage company or bank pays your taxes through an escrow account, it is your responsibility to make sure that you mortgage company receives the bill. You are ultimately responsible for any late payment penalties added to your bill, even if your account is paid through an escrow account. Make sure your lender has the correct information to avoid unwanted penalties!
For additional questions or assistance with obtaining/paying a property tax bill, Please contact the Tax Bureau:
City of Bethlehem
Phone: (610) 865-7022