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How OPA Assesses Property

The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) is responsible with determining the value of all real property in Philadelphia and is dedicated to doing so in a fair, accurate, and understandable way. A fair assessment process is one that ensures that similar properties with similar characteristics in similar condition have an equal tax burden.

Notice of Proposed Valuation

Notices of Proposed Valuation for Tax Year 2016 (TY16) were mailed to property owners in April 2015. These properties have received a notice because of a change in value. Properties that do not receive a notice for TY16 means there is no change in value from the previous year. It is important to remember—THE NOTICE IS NOT A BILL. Take a look at a sample Notice. Translated versions are below:

If you believe your Proposed Value is incorrect, you can request a First Level Review using the form that was included in the April 2015 Notice mailing. 

Information is below about the OPA's methodology and approach for assessing properties, which was first implemented in Tax Year 2014 as a result of the Actual Value Initiative (AVI).

How OPA Assesses Property

The Actual Value Initiative (AVI) was implemented in Tax Year 2014 for the assessment of all real property—land and buildings—in Philadelphia at their current market value. Market value reflects the approximate amount a property would sell for in today’s real estate market. The purpose of AVI has been to make sure that all values are assessed fairly and in compliance with state laws, statutes, and industry standards. It ensures that properties of equal value get the same assessments.

To establish an assessed value for a property, the OPA considers a number of factors, including:

  • Size and age of the property
  • A property’s location and condition
  • A property’s use (home or business)
To determine the characteristics of a property, the OPA uses information from field inspections for building size and condition, aerial photography, data from other City departments (such as permits and deeds), and commercial sources, like property listings.

  • For residential properties, the OPA analyzes recent sales of similar properties to set the value, making adjustments for differences in the characteristics between the homes that sold and your property.
  • For commercial and large multi-family properties, the OPA considers the income approach, market approach, and in some situations, cost approach, and utilize the approach that is most appropriate based upon property type and use. The income and costs of operating the property to determine its value, or considers the cost of construction and land.

You can also learn where your taxes go. Translated versions are below:

Glossary

A selection of terms relating to Assessments.

  • Assessment Date
  • Assessment Equity
  • Assessment Progressivity (Regressivity)
  • Assessment Ratio
  • Assessment Ratio Study
  • Geographical Market Area (GMA)
  • Level of Assessment; Assessment Ratio
  • Reappraisal
  • Reappraisal Cycle
  • Reassessment
  • Reevaluation
Full Glossary