Philadelphia again extends deadline for property tax reviews
Row home facades on a residential street off Germantown Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
By Stephen Williams
PHILADELPHIA — At the urging of City Council, homeowners now have until Dec. 2, on the deadline to submit applications for the first-level review of their property assessment from the city.
The review is the first step of an appeal if you believe your assessment is incorrect, but city officials say that homeowners should also consider programs such as the Homestead Exemption program, Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) and Senior Citizen Tax Freeze program.
The Office of Property Assessment granted the extension after City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, D-2nd District, wrote the agency a letter seeking an extension, that was signed by other Council members.
“This deadline extension is essential,” Johnson said. “It will help ensure that Philadelphia homes are assessed accurately and Philadelphia homeowners are taxed fairly. The stakes are too high to not get this right. This new deadline will give homeowners the extra time they need to seek a review of their property assessments, in light of this year’s delay in mailing assessment notices.”
Homeowners who believe the property valuation is incorrect can request a first-level review with the Office of Property Assessment. The review forms should have been included with the Notice of Valuation that was mailed to homeowners in September.
“After ongoing discussions with City Council and other stakeholders, we’ve extended the deadline for first-level review so that Philadelphia property owners have more time to review their assessments and get additional information to determine if they should file an application,” said James Aros Jr., chief assessment officer.
In May, the city said that reassessments citywide increased by an average of 31%. It was the first citywide reassessment in three years.
At the time, City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said that many of the largest reassessments were concentrated in North, West and South Philadelphia, in neighborhoods with large concentrations of Black and other minorities and seniors on fixed incomes.
Many of the same neighborhoods have seen gentrification, a process where higher priced apartments and homes are built, driving up taxes and values and forcing out longtime, low-income residents.
To be sure, the city has increased efforts to provide tax relief to those homeowners who need it the most.
In June, City Council passed a law signed by Mayor Jim Kenney that increased the city’s Homestead Exemption to $80,000 up from $45,000. It allows eligible homeowners to exempt $80,000 in value from their assessment for real estate tax bills due March 31, 2023.
Under this program, most homeowners will save about $1,119 on their real estate tax bill.
And the LOOP program was expanded by legislation at the same time. This program allows homeowners who have lived in their home for at least 10 years, with a significant increase in their assessments, to get real estate tax relief. More people are eligible for it and the amount of money for the LOOP program rose to $35 million, up from $25 million.
In addition, the Senior Citizen Tax Freeze program was also expanded. It allows income eligible homeowners 65 or older to permanently freeze their tax bills going as far back as 2018.
Beginning this month, homeowners will be able to apply for real estate tax assistance programs, along with payment agreements on the Philadelphia Tax Center, without a password.
Stephen Williams is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.
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