Real Estate Tax

The Columbia Borough School District has partnered with the Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau (LCTCB) for the collection of the school real estate taxes. All school real estate tax payments are to be mailed to the LCTCB in the envelope provided or paid at any Fulton Bank branch. You may also pay in person at the LCTCB real estate tax office, 1845 William Penn Way, Lancaster, PA. Please note that school real estate tax payments are not accepted at the Columbia Borough School District Office.

The real estate tax bills are mailed the 1st week in July. If a district resident does not receive a tax bill and should have or has any questions, please contact the LCTCB office at 717-569-4521, option #4. Failure to receive the tax bill does not relieve any taxpayer from making payment.

Real estate tax bills will be mailed to individual property owners. LCTCB does not forward school property tax bills to mortgage companies or tax escrow agencies.

Any questions pertaining to the payment of your school real estate tax bill should be directed to LCTCB at 717-569-4521, option #4 or retaxinfo@lctcb.org. Any questions pertaining to the assessed value of your property or any changes to the mailing address of your school real estate tax bill should be directed to the Lancaster County Assessment Office at 717-299-8381

Homestead/Farmstead Tax Exclusion

Homestead and farmstead exclusion real estate tax assessment reduction began with authorization for the school year beginning July 1, 2007 under the provisions of the Homestead Property Exclusion Program Act (part of Act 50 of 1998) and the Taxpayer Relief Act (Act 1 of 2006).

The Columbia Borough School District School Board authorized participation in this exclusion program on June 19, 2014 which results in the following tax relief.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has notified the School District that PDE will pay the District $636,795.70 from State Gambling Tax Funds to be used for homestead/farmstead tax exclusions for the 2018 taxes.

Lancaster County Assessor’s Office certified 2,055 homestead properties and 0 farmstead properties in the Columbia Borough School District.

Dividing the PDE distribution amount of $636.795.70 by 2,055 homestead/farmstead properties, the maximum real estate tax reduction amount applicable for 2018 is $309.87 for each certified homestead (reduction of assessed value by $12,003).

This amount will appear as a credit on your property tax bill if your property has been certified as part of this program.

Contact the Lancaster County Assessor’s Office for more information about applying for this program.

Real Estate Tax Frequently Asked Questions

When are the Real Estate Tax bills mailed out?
Tax bills are mailed our July 1 every year. Contact the tax office if you have not received a bill by July 15.

When are my Real Estate Taxes Due?

2017 Due dates for payment in full amount are:

  • Discount (-2%) 8/31
  • Base (Flat) 10/31
  • Penalty (+10%) 12/31

2017 Due dates for installments (1/3 payment each date):

  • 1st installment 8/31
  • 2nd installment 9/30
  • 3rd installment 10/31

U.S. Postal Services postmark date will be considered as the date paid – no exceptions. Placing payment in the mailbox does not mean that it will be postmarked that day.

Who should I make my tax check payable to?
Checks should be payable to Columbia Borough School District and mailed to PO Box 206, Columbia, PA 17512-0206.

Where can I pay my taxes in person?
Bills will be accepted at the school district office 200 North Fifth Street, Columbia, and also at any Union Community Bank location.

Can I pay my real estate tax by credit or debit card?
Yes. You can pay via the internet or telephone. Click on www.officialpayments.com for the internet or dial 1-800-2PAY-TAX for the telephone. Our jurisdiction code for the telephone is 4831. You will not need the jurisdiction code for the internet.

I have an escrow account with my mortgage company. Will my mortgage company receive the tax bill?
All taxes go directly to the homeowner. If serviced by a mortgage company, forward bill to them immediately. Retain a copy for your records.

Who should I contact about incorrect information on my tax bill?
Errors on tax bills, such as address changes, should be reported to the Lancaster County Assessment Office at 717-299-8381.

What is the current millage rate?
The millage rate for 2017-2018 is 30.1908 mills per $1,000 of assessed value.

I disagree with my assessment value. Who should I contact?
You would need to contact the Board of Assessment Appeals, Lancaster County Offices at 717-299-8381.

How do I get a receipt for the taxes I paid this year?
If paying by mail, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with the entire tax notice and your payment.

If paying in person at Union Community Bank or at the District Office, request the attendant to stamp the top portion of your bill when making a payment.

My taxes are delinquent, what should I do?
If you owe prior year real estate taxes, contact the Lancaster County Tax Claim Bureau to find out the current amount due and make arrangements for payment – 717-299-8232.

How To Calculate Property Tax

The amount of property taxes that you pay is calculated by multiplying the assessed value of your property, determined by the Lancaster County Assessment Office, by the millage rate set by the school district.

In practice, a millage rate of 1 (one) mill means that you pay $1.00 (one dollar) in taxes for every $1,000.00 (one thousand dollars) of assessed value. For instance, if your home has a new assessed value of $100,000 and the school district has set a new millage rate of 50 mills, your property tax bill would be $5,000.

To calculate your tax bill: First, convert the millage rate to its decimal equivalent to make the multiplication easier. [50 mills X .001 = .05 ] Then, multiply your new assessed value ($100,000) by the decimal equivalent of the millage rate (.05) to determine your tax bill. [$100,000 X .05 = $5,000]

The 2017-2018 school district property tax millage is 30.1908. Using the information noted above, the tax amount due is calculated as follows:

Assessed value x .02934 = tax amount due

Real Estate Interim Tax Information

An interim bill is issued when additional assessed value is added to your property. New construction or additions to existing buildings trigger a reassessment by Lancaster County Assessment Office.

When a Notice of Assessment Change is forwarded to the District from the County Assessment Office, a bill will be issued for the additional assessed value. The period billed is from the date of occupancy to the end of the current tax year. In some cases, this may be for a period exceeding 12 months.

Interim bills are due in addition to regular tax billings.

Payment is due on interim bills as follows:

2% discount First 60 days after billing date
Base bill 60-120 days after bill date
10% penalty 121 days after bill date

School District Tax Rebate Program

Columbia Borough School District Offers Property Tax Rebate Program On May 19, 2005, the Columbia Borough School District Board of School Directors approved a resolution providing for property tax rebates to senior citizens, widows, widowers and disabled persons who meet certain income eligibility guidelines and who are homeowners. The rebate program was modeled after the Pennsylvania Property Tax Rebate program (see more information below) which is administered by the PA Department of Revenue and funded by PA Lottery proceeds. The district rebate is calculated on the amount of the 2017 (bills issued July 1) school real estate taxes paid. The deadline to file for the district rebate is June 30, 2018. District applications may be obtained at the following locations after January 15, 2018:

Columbia Borough School District Business Office located at 200 North Fifth Street, Columbia, PA 17512 (717) 684-2283

State Representative David Hickernell’s Office located at 236 Locust Street Columbia, PA 17512 (717) 684-5525


Information about the Pennsylvania Property Tax Rebate Program

If you believe you are eligible for the Pennsylvania Property Tax Rebate, use booklet PA-1000 to apply for the rebate. The deadline to apply for the 2017 tax year state program is June 30, 2018. Rebate checks are mailed starting July 1 of each year. Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are available online at http://www.revenue.state.pa.us or by calling the department’s information line at 1-888-728-2937.

Individuals who may claim the rebate must fall into one of the following categories: 

  • 65 years of age or older
  • Widow or widower age 50 or older
  • Age 18 or more and permanently disabled

The claimant’s annual household income cannot exceed $35,000. Legislation in the late 1990’s broadened the rebate program by excluding 50% of Social Security payments and Railroad Retirement benefit payments from the eligible income.

Pennsylvania Property Tax Rebate forms and assistance are available at the Department of Revenue district offices (listed in the government section of your telephone directory), Lancaster County Office of Aging (717-299-7979), senior centers, and state legislators’ offices.

Earned Income Tax

The Columbia Borough School District and the Borough of Columbia jointly assess a 1% Earned Income Tax. Your Local Earned Income Tax Return MUST BE FILED BY APRIL 15 EACH YEAR FOR THE PREVIOUS CALENDAR YEAR.

If you are 16 years of age or older, have earned income for the year, and you lived in the Columbia Borough School District, you must file a tax return. Even if your employer has withheld and paid your tax, this return must be completed. Anyone who is a wage earner, farmer, unincorporated business (including partnership and individual proprietorship) and ALL OTHERS who received earned income or profits for services rendered incur this obligation.

Failure to file on time will result in a penalty and interest charge of 12% per annum. Pennsylvania law also provides for a fine of up to $500 for failure to file or other violations.

Residents of the Columbia Borough School District are required to file a tax return, EVEN IF THEY HAVE NOT RECEIVED A FORM THROUGH THE MAIL. Forms may be acquired by contacting the Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau, 1845 William Penn Way, Lancaster, PA, 17601. (717) 569-4521, website: http://www.lctcb.org/

You can file your individual local tax return online at http://lctcb.localtaxonline.org