What is the Homestead Exemption?
It’s a program that will help Philadelphia homeowners reduce the taxable assessed value (effective for Tax Year 2014 and beyond) used for calculation of their tax bill. Owning your home and residing in it as your primary residence are the only qualifications for the program. Get more information
about the Homestead Exemption.
Who is eligible for the Homestead Exemption?
All homeowners in Philadelphia that use their property as their primary residence are eligible; there are no income or age restrictions. To determine if the property is your permanent residence, the Office of Property Assessment may consider a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- Where your children are registered for school;
- Residency in another state;
- The address where you are registered to vote;
- The address on your driver’s license or identification card;
- Vehicle registration; and
- The address on your federal income tax returns.
Where do I mail the Homestead Exemption application?
Applications can be mailed to:
Office of Property Assessment
P.O. Box 52817
Philadelphia, PA 19115
Am I eligible for the Homestead Exemption if I have a mortgage on my house?
Am I eligible for the Homestead Exemption if I am delinquent on my taxes?
What is a co-op/cooperative and how do I know if I live in one?
A housing cooperative is when people own and operate the building where they live, but do not own individual units—forming a cooperative corporation. The corporation owns the actual building and people pay the right to occupy a unit within the co-op. (The unit is usually referred to as "your apartment.")
If each month you pay an amount that covers your share of the expenses of the co-op—and pay all or a portion of your real estate taxes jointly through a management agent or association, rather than paying your taxes separately from other units, then you most likely live in a co-op.
How do I remove a deceased spouse/parent from the property record?
In order for the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) to update the property to the surviving party's name, a new deed will need to be recorded for the property.
Take the following steps to record a new deed:
- Obtain a copy of the deceased's death certificate.
- Then go to a local real estate attorney, title insurer or Realtor, and have them draw up a new deed transferring property from the deceased party and the taxpayer, to just the taxpayer.
- Have the new deed recorded with the City's Department of Records. The surviving spouse does not need to pay a recording fee provided he/she presents a copy of the death certificate and the marriage license to Records.
- Once it is recorded with the Dept. of Records, the OPA is legally able to update the record.
Visit the Department of Records for additional information or call 215-686-2260.
How can I verify that you received my Homestead application?
If you applied for the Homestead Exemption on/before Sept. 13, 2013, and were approved, the amount you were approved for will appear under "Homestead" if you search your property via the OPA's Property Search
Or contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200 to check on the status of your application.
My name is not on the deed to the house, but I am responsible for it, can I get the Homestead Exemption?
- If your name is not on the deed for one of the following reasons, you may be eligible for a conditional Homestead Exemption. For example, you have inherited the house in which you live from a deceased relative, but the deceased relative’s name is on the most recent deed and your name is not; a fraudulent mortgage or deed was recorded for your house; or you entered into a rent-to-own agreement (also called lease/purchase agreements or installment land contracts) to buy the house and have paid all or some of the purchase price for the house, but your name is not on the deed to the house.
- Being granted a Homestead Exemption does not mean you are the owner, and the OPA strongly suggests that you take the necessary steps to get the title issues resolved. The Homestead Exemption will be conditionally granted for no more than three (3) years from the date of your application, at which time the property must be in your name or the Homestead Exemption will be revoked.
I inherited the house from a deceased relative but his/her name is on the deed and the Homestead application I received in the mail. Can I get the Homestead Exemption?
You need to have the deed changed into your name. The OPA understands that this may take some time and will offer a conditional Homestead Exemption while you complete that process. Being granted a Homestead Exemption does not mean you are the owner, and we strongly suggest that you take the necessary steps
to get the title issues resolved. The Homestead Exemption will be conditionally granted for no more than three (3) years from the date of your application, at which time the property must be in your name or the Homestead Exemption will be revoked.
How do I apply if my name is not on the deed, but I meet the criteria for the conditional Homestead Exemption?
In order to receive the conditional Homestead Exemption, you must submit:
- A paper Homestead Exemption application using YOUR NAME, not the name of the person listed on the deed, even if you receive an application with the person listed on the deed pre-filled in. If you are using a pre-printed form, cross out the pre-printed name and print yours. You will not be able to apply online. Write "TANGLED TITLE" on the top of the application.
- A completed and signed Homestead Affidavit (Affidavit also available in PDF-format)
- Provide two (2) copies of the following, showing your name and the address of the property you are seeking the Homestead Exemption for:
- Government-issued ID—Acceptable forms are:
- Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (including the Department of State Voter ID Card)
- PA Driver's License or Non-Driver's License Photo ID
- Valid U.S. Passport
- U.S. military ID—active duty and retired military (a military or veteran's ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite). Military dependents' ID must contain an expiration date.
- Employee Photo ID issued by Federal, PA, PA County or PA Municipal government
- Utility Bills: PGW, Water Revenue, PECO, or cable from the last 6 months.
- Voter Registration Card
- Lease/purchase or rent-to-own agreement
- Mortgage Agreement
Once you have all of the necessary documents together, mail to:
Office of Property Assessment
P.O. Box 52817
Philadelphia, PA 19115
It is your responsibility to complete the required steps to put the title of the property into your name. Assuming you are otherwise eligible, you will conditionally receive the Homestead Exemption for no more than three (3) years from the date of your application. At the end of those three years, the Homestead Exemption will be revoked if you have not had the title transferred into your name and you will not be able to reapply until you are the owner listed on the deed.
I tried to apply for the Homestead Exemption online, but it still has the old owner listed. How can I apply?
The online Homestead Exemption application may lag in updating ownership records. Please submit a paper application
How will I know that I have been enrolled in the Homestead Exemption Program?
If you have been approved, you can look-up
your property information or call 215-686-9200 to check on the status.
Or you can visit the AVI Calculator
to check on the status of your Homestead application and to estimate your Real Estate Taxes.
Why isn't the City focusing on people who are already not paying their taxes, rather than running these programs and asking people to pay more?
The City is stepping up its enforcements of collecting delinquent taxes, but now the City also has the opportunity to create a better, fairer system for all Philadelphia taxpayers/property owners, and that's what we're trying to do.
What if there is a change to my property and I want to remove the Homestead Exemption from my property?
How do I check my Homestead status online?
Use the property search feature
to look-up your property address. If you have been approved for the Homestead, under 'Homestead Exemption' will be the amount of the Exemption that has been granted.
If the Homestead value is $0 and you submitted an application, contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
However, if you applied after the Sept. 13, 2013 deadline, then your application status has not yet been reflected online.
I had previously been approved for the Homestead, but now it is no longer showing for my property. Why?
If the deed to your property changed for any reason (this includes, but is not limited to a change to your name or the addition of another name to the deed), the Homestead Exemption will be removed from your property and you must simply reapply. Re-apply by September 13, 2014 for Homestead Exemption applied to your 2015 assessment.
What if I missed the Sept. 13, 2013 Homestead Exemption deadline?
If you did not apply for the Homestead Exemption in Tax Year 2014, apply for Tax Year 2015--the deadline is September 13, 2014
. Find out how to apply
How can I apply for the Homestead Exemption?
There are three ways to apply for the Homestead Exemption:
The deadline to apply for Tax Year 2015 is September 13, 2014.
Once you have been approved for the Homestead Exemption, it will remain on your property and there is no need to reapply each year. The only time the Homestead will be removed is if you sell the property or the deed to the property changes for ANY reason. At that point, you must reapply.
My Homestead application was denied. Why?
If you applied by the Sept. 13, 2013 deadline and received a denial letter, the reason for denial will be listed in the letter.
The reasons why a Homestead application could not be approved are as follows—
- Reason A: INCOMPLETE – One of the required questions on the application was not answered. If your application was incomplete, you may reapply for Tax Year 2015 by submitting a new Homestead application by September 13, 2014.
- Reason B: OWNER MISMATCH – The name of the property owner in the OPA records for the property did not match the name listed on your application. In the event that you claim ownership of a property that is your primary residence, pay utility bills for that property, etc., but the deed has another name listed as the owner (perhaps a relative who owned the property, but is now deceased), this is referred to as a 'Tangled Title'. For people in this situation, OPA will grant a conditional Homestead Exemption for three (3) years while you work to get the title into your name. You will need to reapply by submitting a new Homestead application, submit copies of your ID and other documents, and submit the Homestead Affidavit. If the mismatch is due to a name change, contact 215‐686‐9200 to update the records and then reapply for the Homestead Exemption.
- Reason C: NOT PRIMARY RESIDENCE – You have indicated that the property is not your primary residence and/or the property is used for something other than residential purposes. If you claim another property as your primary residence—and because no one can have more than one primary residence at a time—the Homestead Exemption cannot be granted. Additionally, if the property is used as a rental that is not owner-occupied or is used 100% for non-residential purposes, the Homestead Exemption cannot be granted. However, if this property IS your primary residence, you can reapply for Tax Year 2015 by submitting a new Homestead application by September 13, 2014.
- Reason D: OTHER PRIMARY RESIDENCE – You have indicated that you have more than one primary residence. Because no one can have more than one primary residence at a time, the Homestead Exemption cannot be granted. However, if this property is your ONLY primary residence, you can reapply for Tax Year 2015 by submitting a new Homestead application by September 13, 2014.
- Reason E: LOCAL ADDRESS MISMATCH – The OPA did not have a record for the address or account number listed on the application, or there was conflicting information provided on the application. A new Homestead application should be submitted with correct information by September 13, 2014.
For additional questions regarding the Homestead, please contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
FALSE OR FRAUDULENT APPLICATIONS
The OPA may select, randomly or otherwise, applications to review for false or fraudulent information. Any person who files an application that contains false information, or who does not notify the OPA of a change in use which no longer qualifies as a Homestead property, will:
- Be required to pay the taxes which would have been due but for the false application, plus interest.
- Be required to pay a penalty equal to 10% of the unpaid taxes.
- If convicted of filing a false application, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree and be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $2,500.
What if I disagree with the reason my Homestead Exemption was denied?
If you do not agree with the determination by the Office of Property Assessment, you may file a formal appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) within 30 days of the date of your denial notice. Contact the BRT directly at 215-686-4343 or 215-686-9283.
For additional questions regarding the Homestead, please contact the Homestead Hotline at 215‐686‐9200.
I applied for the 2014 Homestead Exemption as a new homebuyer. How do I know if I was approved?
Homestead approvals are posted with a property’s valuation data on the OPA’s website. You can search
for a property by its address or OPA account number. However, new homebuyer approvals have not yet been updated. If you submitted an application and want to check the status, please call the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
I was approved for the 2014 Homestead Exemption as a new homebuyer. Will I receive a reimbursement?
New homebuyers approved for the Homestead Exemption will receive reimbursement from the Department of Revenue.
Why is my Homestead Exemption amount less than $30,000?
If you have a Homestead amount of less than $30,000, this is because you indicated on your application that a portion of the property was used for something other than a primary residence. If the percentage of your property used for something else changes, then you must complete a Homestead Change/Removal Form
For a property to receive the Homestead Exemption, the property must be used as the primary residence of an owner who is a natural person, and not a corporation. What is a “natural person”?
A natural person is a living, breathing human being. It is not a corporation, partnership, trust, etc.
If I was approved for the Homestead Exemption, do I have to apply every year?
Once you have been approved for the Homestead Exemption it will remain on your property and there is no need to reapply each year. However the Homestead will be removed if you sell the property or the deed to the property changes for ANY reason. At that point, you must reapply.