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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.

The Actual Value Initiative (AVI)

AVI is a program for the assessment of all real property—land and buildings—in Philadelphia, effective Tax Year 2014, 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 is to make sure that all values are assessed fairly and in compliance with state laws, statutes, and industry standards. It will ensure 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.

The AVI Brochure provides a quick overview. Or learn where your taxes go. Translated versions of both documents are available in:

Notice of Proposed Valuation

When Notices of Proposed Valuation are mailed to all property owners in February 2013, the Notice will reflect the proposed value of your property for Tax Year 2014. It is important to remember—THE NOTICE IS NOT A BILL. Take a look at a sample Notice. O ver una muestra del aviso en español. 請注意,中國

If you believe your Proposed Value is incorrect, you can request a First-Level Review or file an Appeal.

As a result of AVI, the process for calculating tax bills for Tax Year 2014 and beyond has been simplified: multiply your property’s Certified Market Value by the tax rate.

The Mayor and City Council have set the 2014 tax rate at 1.34%. Use the AVI Calculator to determine your 2014 tax bill.

Need more information? Watch this video for more details about understanding your Notice. Vea el video en español.

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