March 22, 2013On March 22, 2013, the Office of Property Assessment, in conjunction with the Commerce Department, made a presentation to representatives of small/medium commercial properties about the Actual Value Initiative. Download the presentation.
On March 11, 2013, the City of Philadelphia held its first Telephone Town Hall to inform Philadelphians about the changes to the city’s real estate tax system, otherwise known as the Actual Value Initiative or ‘AVI’. Callers were able to listen and ask questions of the City officials who took part in the call, including Richie McKeithen, Chief Assessment Officer of the Office of Property Assessment (OPA), Rob Dubow, Director of Finance for the City, and Marisa Waxman, Assistant Administrator with the OPA.
In addition to information already available on the City’s website and the OPA’s website, helpful information can be found in the questions and answers of the Tele Town Hall transcript.
As a result of the positive response to the first Town Hall, two more Tele Town Halls have been scheduled for March 27 and March 28. If you would like to call in to the Town Hall and/or pose a question to City officials, please register via the link(s) below (you may register for both). At the appointed time, you will receive a phone call allowing you to access the Town Hall. Those calling in will be able to ask questions about the assessment process, the new property values assigned to all properties – residential, commercial and industrial – in the city, the Homestead Exemption, and changes to the property tax rate in Philadelphia.
PLEASE NOTE: When registering, E-mail addresses are NOT required. Residents can also join the Town Hall without pre-registering by calling 1-877-229-8943 and using the ID code 111479 during the session (number and code apply to both calls).
The City of Philadelphia announced two additional dates for live toll-free Telephone (Tele) Town Halls, as a follow-up to the first Tele Town Hall held on March 11, 2013. The Town Halls are designed to inform Philadelphians about changes to the City’s real estate tax system (otherwise known as the Actual Value Initiative or 'AVI'). If you would like to listen into the Town Hall and/or pose a question to City officials, please register via the link(s) below (you may register for both). At the appointed time, you will receive a phone call allowing you to access the Town Hall. Those calling in will be able to ask questions about the assessment process, the new property values assigned to all properties – residential, commercial and industrial – in the city, the Homestead Exemption, and changes to the property tax rate in Philadelphia.
PLEASE NOTE: When registering, E-mail addresses are NOT required. Additionally, the City will continue hosting a series of one-on-one, “drop-in” outreach sessions with City staff to help residents understand AVI and how it may affect them. Residents can learn how to apply for the Homestead Exemption, how to read their Assessment Change Notice, and how to complete their First Level Review request form. Residents should bring their Assessment Change Notice and First Level Review form, which were mailed beginning February 15th. Information will also be available on other tax-relief programs. Upcoming AVI drop-in sessions are as follows:
For more information about AVI, property owners can call 215-686-9200 or visit the OPA's website.
Learn more about the Actual Value Initiative (AVI) – Philadelphia’s system for fair, accurate, and understandable Real Estate Tax assessments and bills – by attending a community meeting. All meetings are open to the public. Representatives will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about your property assessment and what it might mean for your property taxes in the future. The list of scheduled meetings is as follows*:
*Note: Meeting dates/times/locations are subject to change. Please check this website for updates. For additional information about the Actual Value Initiative or the Office of Property Assessment, please call 215-686-9200. **In addition to the regular community meetings scheduled by the City/Office of Property Assessment, the City will be hosting a series of AVI-related "drop-in" events throughout March, with two in each Council District. Dates will continue being posted as locations are confirmed. View a map of all scheduled community meetings to find one near you. Note: This map also shows past meetings/events.
March 5, 2013 Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a series of outreach sessions to help residents understand the Actual Value Initiative (AVI) and how it may affect them. Residents can learn how to apply for the Homestead Exemption, how to read their Assessment Change Notice and how to complete their First-Level Review Request form. Information will also be available on other tax-relief programs. Citizens can “drop-in” while the sessions are operating and meet one-on-one with City staff to learn more about the changes to the tax system. “My Administration wants each homeowner to understand AVI and have access to necessary resources and information regarding relief measures,” said Mayor Nutter. “We will host drop-in sessions throughout Philadelphia so that all residents will have the opportunity to bring their questions and concerns to knowledgeable City officials.” Property owners can bring their Assessment Change Notices with them, and trained staff will be able to explain information contained in the document. Tables will be set up to answer questions related to both tax and current relief programs and to provide forms and information on the Homestead Exemption and the First-Level Review. The City will provide a full list of outreach sessions this week. The first three sessions will be as follows:
Property owners will also be able to call into two one-hour Telephone Town Hall meetings, where City officials will take questions about the assessment process, the Homestead Exemption, the First-Level Review process, and other questions about the real estate tax changes. These are scheduled for March 11 and March 27. Details on how to participate in the Telephone Town Hall meetings will be provided later this week. For more information about AVI, property owners can call 215-686-9200 or get information from the OPA website. To view a video on “How to Understand Your Assessment” or “How to Apply for a First-Level Review”, residents should visit Comcast>On Demand>Get Local>Government>Philadelphia>Videos or go to Phila.gov's YouTube page. Spanish language versions of these videos are also available. Other language versions of the brochures and forms are also available by calling 215-686-9200 or from the OPA website.
The Office of Property Assessment has made the following resources/materials available for Philadelphians who require information in other languages.
For many Philadelphia residents, the property they call their own might not be, according to the City of Philadelphia’s records. For example, you may have inherited a property from a now-deceased relative, and live there as your primary residence, pay the taxes and utility bills, and maintain any necessary upkeep—all the responsibilities that would a regular homeowner would take care of. However, in this case, your name is not on the deed as the owner. We call this a “tangled title”— where you have an equitable ownership interest in the property but are not listed on the deed.
So what happens when it comes time to apply for the Homestead Exemption, which offers $30,000 (amount subject to change) in tax savings to Philadelphians who own their property and reside in it as their primary residence? You may have already applied and been told that your application was not approved due to your name not matching the name listed on the deed. With the hopes of making this program available to all eligible homeowners, the City/OPA has created a process for approving a conditional Homestead Exemption for three (3) years for people with tangled titles, with the understanding that the deed to the property will be untangled within that time. Once the title is untangled, you will be eligible for the standard Homestead Exemption, which will remain on the property as long as you own it and continue to live in it as your primary residence. You may be eligible for the three-year, conditional Homestead if:
In order to receive the conditional Homestead Exemption, you must submit:
Once you have all of the necessary documents together, mail to:
Office of Property Assessment P.O. Box 52817 Philadelphia, PA 19115 The Homestead application deadline is July 31, 2013 (to have it applied for Tax Year 2014). As a reminder, in the case of tangled titles, being approved for Homestead Exemption is only on a conditional basis—and with the understanding that the deed will be corrected/updated and you must meet the other eligibility criteria for the program. If, upon three years, the deed to the property has not been changed, the Homestead Exemption will be removed.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia has reached an important milestone in the transition to the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), the approximate total aggregate value for all property in Philadelphia. The approximate taxable value under AVI is $96.5 billion for residential, commercial and industrial properties. Under the current system, the value of taxable properties is $38 billion. Mayor Nutter described the multi-billion dollar property value as approximate because an estimated 16,000 parcels, or 3% of properties, have anomalies and must be rechecked. The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) is working to confirm values for those properties, which will change the overall number of $96.5 billion. “For decades, our property assessment system was completely broken. We had a fundamentally bad system that produced inaccurate data, resulting in an unfair system for Philadelphians,” said Mayor Nutter. “Under AVI, properties have been assessed accurately and fairly the tax formula will be easier to understand. A larger aggregate value means a significantly lower tax rate and higher property values, which is a good thing for our great City and its citizens.” With the $96.5 billion approximate taxable value and the Administration’s intention to generate the same revenue under AVI in 2014 as the current system generates in 2013, the projected tax rate is around 1.3% with no tax relief and about 1.4% factoring in the Homestead Exemption relief. Learn more about the OPA's Property Data for Tax Year 2014 or view Mayor Nutter's message on AVI.
With the Actual Value Initiative (AVI) on the horizon for Tax Year 2014, many property owners in Philadelphia may be wondering how the change in property assessments will affect properties with 10-year tax abatements. Along with all other properties in the city, abated properties have been assessed as part of AVI. It is important to remember that an abatement is only on the structure and not on the land. So, while the purpose of abatements offered by the Office of Property Assessment has not changed, it is still possible that owners of abated properties will see a change (either an increase or decrease) in property taxes due to a change in land or taxable improvement value. The following will occur with AVI:
All property owners, including those with abated properties, will receive notification of the new market values for Tax Year 2014 in February 2013. Learn more about the different abatements offered by the Office of Property Assessment.
Oct. 1, 2012 For a little more background on the origin of property taxes, check out a paper by Richard Henry Carlson that was presented at an International Association of Assessing Officers meeting in 2004. Did you know?
Sept. 24, 2012 The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) does Mass Appraisal for properties in Philadelphia. The International Association of Assessing Officers defines Mass Appraisal as “valuing a group of properties as of a given date using common data, standardized methods, and statistical testing.” This is different than the type of appraisal you might have done when you are refinancing your mortgage or buying a home, which is called an individual or fee appraisal. With more than a half a million properties to value each year, the OPA, like property assessment offices across the country, uses Mass Appraisal to efficiently and economically determine a property’s worth. While no two properties can ever be exactly the same, Mass Appraisal allows the OPA to identify which properties are similar in terms of size, age, condition, use, and location, and assign them similar values. In contrast, the fee appraisal looks as just one property in great detail. While this provides more information for the appraiser to consider when determining the value, it requires more time and effort, including the need to get inside every nook and cranny of the building. This just isn’t practical when you have 579,000 properties to value each year, like the City does. Considering the fact that a fee appraisal can cost $500 for a house, it would cost $289 million to appraise all the properties in Philadelphia each year using this method — more than 200 times the OPA budget for Fiscal Year 2013. That’s about $0.30 for each $1 that the Real Estate Tax generates. With Mass Appraisal, the City of Philadelphia pays just $0.01 for assessment per $1 collected from the Real Estate Tax. With Mass Appraisal, the OPA can determine fair, accurate, and understandable property values with more bang for the taxpayer dollar.
Sept. 11, 2012 The City is offering all Philadelphia homeowners a reduction in their property’s taxable assessed value, effective in Tax Year 2014. A Homestead Exemption means that if your home has been assessed at $100,000, for example, you will qualify for an Exemption of $30,000*, and will only pay taxes based on $70,000. Qualifying for a Homestead Exemption requires only two things—that you own your home and reside in it. What’s more, once you are approved for the Exemption, there is no need to reapply each year, unless the deed to your home changes. Apply today—all homeowners should have received a Homestead Exemption application in the mail in early September 2012—but it can also be completed online. We encourage you to return your application by November 15, 2012, so that the application can be processed and you can be notified if you have qualified when you receive your Tax Year 2014 Assessment Change Notice in February 2013. However, applications can still be submitted after Nov. 15th and will continue to be processed. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to save money on your Real Estate Taxes. Learn more about the Homestead Exemption. *the exemption amount may be subject to change
As part of the citywide reassessment for Tax Year 2014, the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) began a huge task: assessing the 579,000 parcels in the city of Philadelphia. Beginning in August 2011, the OPA Evaluators divided the city into sections and began canvassing neighborhoods, conducting field inspections of properties. How does a field inspection work? An Evaluator will visit your property and hopefully, speak with you (as the property owner and/or whoever the correct person is) to get better information about the property. This is a great time to correct any inaccurate or out-of-date information that the OPA may have previously recorded about your property, or for you to share if you have made any improvements to the property. The Evaluator may take pictures of your property for documentation purposes as well as doing an inspection of the outside, and may even ask to enter your property—however, this is entirely up to you; it is NOT required. OPA Evaluators will always carry City-issued identification. Keep an eye out for an Evaluator—as part of the City’s goal to have accurate property assessments, the OPA will be doing these same types of field inspections on a yearly basis. Learn more about the OPA's field inspections.
Aug. 28, 2012 Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Homestead Exemption applications are being mailed to Philadelphia homeowners. To ensure easy and fast completion, mailed applications will be pre-filled with the account number, address and owner’s name. Applications are also available online. “In this challenging economy, it is critical for individuals to take advantage of every available savings opportunity. I want to encourage every Philadelphia homeowner to apply for the Homestead Exemption. This tax saving program is open to anyone who owns a permanent residence and will help put extra money in their pockets,” said Mayor Nutter. The Philadelphia Homestead Exemption offers Real Estate Tax savings to homeowners by reducing the taxable portion of their property assessment by $30,000 (the exemption amount may be subject to change). In order to have the Homestead Exemption reflected on the Tax Year 2014 Assessment Change Notice, applications should be received by November 15, 2012. Assessment Change Notices will be mailed in February 2013. Applications that had been submitted previously will be processed. There is no need to submit an additional application unless individuals have moved or their deed has changed. Only primary residences are eligible for Homestead Exemption. Individuals who own vacation or rental properties are not eligible for the Homestead Exemption for those properties. If a homeowner’s property includes commercial or rental space, homeowners are still eligible to receive the Homestead Exemption for the portion of the property that is their primary residence. Co-op residents are also eligible to apply. Watch the Mayor's press conference. View the Homestead presentation that was featured at the press conference. Learn more about the Homestead Exemption.
Aug. 16, 2012 When Does the Ten-Year Tax Abatement Start? Everyone knows that Philadelphia has a ten-year tax abatement, but what’s a little less well known is when that ten-year "clock" starts ticking. For residential properties that are rehabbed (rather than built from scratch) and are/will be owner-occupied, the abatement starts on January 1st of the year after the work is completed. Rehabs of owner-occupied homes don’t have to be sold or have the title change for the abatement to start, but a certification that the work has been completed must be submitted before the abatement will start. For new homes, the abatement starts one month after the title/sale date for the property. Commercial and industrial properties (included residential rental properties) that are either new construction or rehabs will have a January 1st start date for the abatement in the year following the issuance of a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Licenses and Inspections (or an affidavit if the certificate of occupancy is not required by L&I). Remember, the abatement will not be implemented until work is complete and the new owner or developer submits a certification (either an affidavit or a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Licenses & Inspections). Abatements will be removed if the owner does not remain tax compliant. Learn more about the abatements offered by the Office of Property Assessment.