How is the market value developed for my property?
State Assessment Law mandates that the Office of Property Assessment consider three approaches in developing market values:
- sales comparison,
- income, and
For residential properties, the sales comparison approach is most frequently used. This method compares recently sold, reasonably similar properties within a short distance of a specific property or block. Adjustments to values are then made for known differences, resulting in a fair market value.
Isn't ‘market value’ what I paid for my property?
Not always. Market Value has been defined by the State Supreme Court as "the price in a competitive market a purchaser, willing but not obligated to buy, would pay an owner, willing but not obligated to sell, taking into consideration all legal uses to which the property can be adapted and might reasonably be applied." The price refers to the current value of the property as it stands today, which may be significantly different than what was paid for the property at another point in time or in different condition or use.
Depending on the circumstances involved in a sale, some people may have overpaid for a property. Yet others may have purchased their property at a bargain price. What was paid for a property years ago may not reflect what a property is worth in the current market. The property itself may also have changed in some significant way, such as building an addition or a total rehabilitation. Market value is always defined as of the date of the appraisal.
What is 'Millage' and how is it determined?
Millage is another term for tax rate, expressed as tax dollars per thousand dollars of Assessed value. City Council sets the tax rates for the City and School District, which are then applied to the assessment to determine the taxes due. In cases where the entire assessment is not taxable, such as properties with abatements or exemptions, the tax rate is applied only to the taxable portion of the assessment.
What is the difference between assessed value and taxes?
The assessed value is the basis used by the City and the School District to determine your Real Estate Taxes.
- The Real Estate Tax is determined by using the following formula:
MARKET VALUE (MV)
= ASSESSED VALUE (AV)
x TAX RATE (TR)
= REAL ESTATE TAX (RET)
Example: $50,000 (MV)
= 50,000 (AV)
x .0134 (TR)
= $ 670.00 (RET)
The Evaluator does not set the tax rate. The Evaluator analyzes the market and utilizes the Office of Property Assessment’s valuation systems to determine the market value of your property.
*The Tax Rate for Tax Year 2015 is 1.34%. The Tax Rate for 2016 has not yet been determined. The Mayor and City Council will work on setting the 2016 rate.
What is meant by the term ‘Catastrophic Loss’?
‘Catastrophic Loss’ means any loss due to fire, flood or other natural disaster which affects the physical state of the real property and which exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the market value of the improvements on the real property prior to the catastrophic loss.
What do I do if I have a fire or other catastrophic loss?
- You must file a Catastrophic Loss Application in order to report that there has been a catastrophic loss.
- You must also file the application so that the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) can determine the new market value for the property. The OPA is mandated by Act No. 1984-175, to re-value a property in the following manner: " The value of the property before the catastrophic loss, based on the percentage of the taxable year for which the property stood at its former value, shall be added to the value of the property after the catastrophic loss, based on the percentage of the taxable year for which the property stood at its reduced value."
- Example: A property has a fire in May 2012 and the fire affects 60% of the market value of $100,000.This means 33% (4 months divided by 12 months) of the taxable year is equal to a market value of $33,000 ($100,000 x 33%) prior to the fire. Sixty percent (60%) (fire damage) of $100,000 is equal to $40,000 market value after the fire. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the taxable year (8 months divided by 12 months) is equal to a market value of $26,800 ($40,000 x 67%). The new market value is $73,000 ($33,000 + $40,000).
- Any adjustment in the assessment under this Act shall be reflected in the form of a credit for the succeeding tax year.
- Applications for a reduction in the certified real property market value under this Act must be filed with the OPA, "WITHIN THE REMAINDER OF THE COUNTY FISCAL YEAR* IN WHICH THE CATASTROPHIC LOSS OCCURRED, OR WITHIN SIX MONTHS OF THE DATE ON WHICH THE CATASTROPHIC LOSS OCCURRED, WHICHEVER TIME PERIOD IS LONGER."
*“The fiscal year for the City of Philadelphia...beginning July 1 and ending June 30." Ordinance #2789, December 14, 1967.
What is a property reassessment?
A property reassessment is a reevaluation of real property in Philadelphia with a goal of ensuring that all property values are in compliance with state statutes, applicable laws, and industry standards.
Who can I contact for more information about property assessments?
Contact the Office of Property Assessment’s Customer Service Center at (215) 686-4334.
Who do I contact if I need to discuss the Market Value of my property?
an inquiry or contact the OPA’s Customer Service Center at (215) 686-4334.
What is the ultimate goal of the new assessments?
- A reassessment is the reevaluation of all real property in Philadelphia with a goal of making sure that all values are fair and in compliance with state statutes, laws, and industry standards.
- The goal is to make sure that properties of the same value are being assessed -- and taxed -- at the same rate.
I received a “Notice of Proposed Valuation for 2016.” Why did I receive this?
You are receiving this Notice because there is a new proposed value for your property for Tax Year 2016. This is not a tax bill, but this is important information that will impact your tax bill.
Why did the values of certain properties change?
The new values are a result OPA’s ongoing efforts to keep up with changes in the real estate market, as well as to reflect demolitions, new construction, etc. Some properties will see an increase and some will see decreases. It is also important to note that the tax rate for 2016 has not yet been determined, so it will not be possible to estimate taxes at this point. The Mayor and City Council will be working over the next few months to set the tax rate.
I do not agree with the value listed on my Notice of Proposed Valuation—how do I challenge it?
If you think the new value is incorrect, you can request a First Level Review (FLR) if you are able to prove at least one of three things:
- The estimated market value of your home is too high or too low.
- The estimated market value of your property is accurate, but inequitable.
- The characteristics of your property that affect its value are substantially incorrect.
- Including a missing or incorrect abatement/exemption.
Your ability to pay may not be used as a reason for appealing your assessment.
You may request a review of this proposed valuation by completing the FLR form that was sent with your Notice by May 26, 2015.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the FLR and choose to file a formal appeal, the application must be submitted to the Board of Revision of Taxes on or before the first Monday in October (October 5, 2015).
Get more information about the FLR and appeals processes
What is the “Pre Determined Ratio” and why is it 100%?
The pre-determined ratio is applied to determine the ratio of market value to assessed value (assessed value being the portion subject to taxation).
Since Tax Year 2014, properties are now assessed at 100% of their market value. In other words, the market value equals the assessed value.
Why does the Homestead Exemption line on my notice say YES (or NO)?
If you have been approved for the Homestead Exemption, then “YES” will appear. The value of your Homestead Exemption will be shown in the “Exemptions/Abatements” line further below.
If you are not enrolled in the Homestead Exemption, then “NO” will appear. The Homestead Exemption offers Real Estate Tax savings to all Philadelphia homeowners by reducing the taxable portion of a property’s assessment by $30,000. To be eligible, you must simply own and occupy your property as your primary residence. To apply (in any language), call 215-686-9200 or visit www.phila.gov/opa
. However, if you have already been approved for the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) or an abatement, then you cannot also receive the Homestead Exemption.
To learn more, please view this four-step guide to the Notice of Proposed Valuation:
I have been approved for the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) or a Tax Abatement. Does this appear on my notice?
Yes. If you have been approved for LOOP or an abatement, the exempt value will appear on the Abatement/Exemptions line.
If there is no exempt amount, it’s possible the application was not processed in time to be reflected on the Notice.
I did not receive a First Level Review Form with my Notice of Proposed Valuation.
Please contact the Office of Property Assessment at (215) 686-9200 to request one. The deadline for filing a First Level Review is May 26, 2015.
I did not receive a Notice of Proposed Valuation. Why?
If you did not receive a notice of proposed valuation, it means there is no change in your property’s value from last year.
I did not receive a Notice of Proposed Valuation. Can I still challenge the value of my property?
Because your value did not change, you will not be able to file a First Level Review. You may be able to file a Non Pro Tunc appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT). For more information on Non Pro Tunc appeals, please visit the BRT's website
What is the tax rate for 2016?
The Real Estate Tax rate has not yet been determined for 2016. The Mayor and City Council will be working to set the rate in May 2015.
How can I better understand my Notice of Proposed Valuation?
I was enrolled in the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP), but my Market Value has been decreased in Tax Year 2016. Will I continue to be enrolled in a tax relief program?
Approval for LOOP in Tax Years 2014 and 2015 resulted in your taxable value being reduced to three times your 2013 market value. However, if your market value in Tax Year 2016 was further reduced as a result OPA’s ongoing efforts to keep up with changes in the real estate market, you will no longer be eligible for LOOP. If you had previously applied and been approved for the Homestead Exemption, it will be reinstated. If you never applied for the Homestead Exemption, apply NOW to ensure that you receive it for Tax Year 2016. The deadline is September 13, 2015.
For more information, please contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200. Calls can be conducted in any language.
What is the Homestead Exemption?
It’s a program that will help Philadelphia homeowners reduce the taxable assessed value 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 and were approved, the approval will be reflected as 'Yes' under "Homestead" with the amount listed in the 'Exempt' column, if you search your property via the OPA's Property Search
In the event that your application was denied, you will receive a denial letter with information about how you can reapply (in most cases).
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.
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, it will say 'Yes' under 'Homestead Exemption' and the amount of the Exemption will be reflected in the 'Exempt' column.
If the Homestead value is $0 and you submitted an application, contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
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, 2015 for Homestead Exemption applied to your 2016 Real Estate Tax bill.
What if I missed the Homestead Exemption deadline?
If you have not yet applied for the Homestead Exemption, apply NOW
for Year 2016. The deadline is September 13, 2015. Find out how to apply
Or if you previously applied and are not sure of the status of your application, call the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
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 2016 is September 13, 2015.
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 for the Homestead Exemption and received a denial letter, the reason for denial will be listed in the letter as well as information about how you can reapply (in most cases).
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. You should reapply for Tax Year 2015 immediately. Call 215-686-9200 to apply over the phone (in any language), apply online or submit a paper application.
- 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 paper application, submit copies of your ID and other documents, and complete the Homestead Affidavit.
- 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 should reapply immediately. Call 215-686-9200 to apply over the phone (in any language), apply online or submit a paper application.
- 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 should reapply immediately. Call 215-686-9200 to apply over the phone (in any language), apply online or submit a paper application.
- Reason E: RENTAL/MIXED-USE – City records indicate that your property is used for rental purposes and not as your primary residence. However, the Homestead Exemption can be granted for mixed-use residential properties; for example, if a portion of your home is used for business or rental purposes. Therefore, you can receive a partial Homestead Exemption for the percentage of your property that is your primary residence and you must indicate this on question #11 on the application. Call 215-686-9200 to apply over the phone (in any language), apply online or submit a paper application.
- Reason F: OWNERSHIP – In order to qualify and receive the Homestead Exemption, the property must be owned by a natural person (a human being). A property owned by a corporation, S-Corp, partnership, LLC, association, or non-profit entity is NOT eligible to receive the Homestead Exemption.
- Reason G: ABATEMENT – Recent state legislation says that any taxpayer with a residential 10-year abatement is ineligible for the Homestead Exemption, effective for Tax Year 2015 and beyond. After the abatement has expired, you may reapply for the Homestead Exemption, if the property meets the eligibility requirements of the Homestead program. Or you can choose to remove the abatement and keep the Homestead. For questions, please call 215-686-9200.
- Reason H: PROPERTY INELIGIBLE – The records of the Office of Property Assessment reflect that the property is commercial, industrial or vacant land, all of which are ineligible to receive the Homestead Exemption.
If your application has been denied (for a reason other than being incomplete or due to an error that can be resolved by submitting an amended application) and you have cause to believe it should have been approved, you may appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) by mailing a copy of your denial letter and a written statement asking for an appeal to 601 Walnut St, Suite 325 East, Phila., PA, 19106. Requests for appeal must be filed with the BRT within 30 days of the date of your denial letter to be considered. However, to find out if you are eligible to simply reapply for the Homestead Exemption, rather than submitting an appeal, call the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200
What if I disagree with the reason my Homestead Exemption application was denied?
If your Homestead Exemption application has been denied (for a reason other than being incomplete or due to an error that can be resolved by submitting an amended application) and you have cause to believe it should have been approved, you may appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) by mailing a copy of your denial letter and a written statement asking for an appeal to 601 Walnut St, Suite 325 East, Phila., PA, 19106. Requests for appeal must be filed with the BRT within 30 days of the date of your denial letter to be considered.
However, to find out if you are eligible to simply reapply for the Homestead Exemption, rather than submitting an appeal, call the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
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. What is a “natural person”?
A 'natural person' is a living, breathing human being. It is not a corporation, partnership, 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.
Why are properties with residential 10-year tax abatements no longer eligible for the Homestead Exemption?
As a result of recent legislation passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and signed by the Governor (House Bill 391), any taxpayer with a 10-year residential tax abatement under Phila. Code §19-1303(2) and/or §19-1303(4) (Ordinance 961 or Ordinance 1456-A) is now ineligible for the Homestead Exemption.
When will the Homestead Exemption be removed from my 10-year-tax-abated property?
The removal of Homestead Exemptions from residential properties with 10-year tax abatements will start with Tax Year 2015 and does not affect Homestead Exemptions granted for Tax Year 2014.
In other words, the Homestead Exemption will not be reflected in the calculation of real estate tax bills for 2015 and beyond.
Can I apply for the Homestead Exemption when my 10-year tax abatement expires?
Yes. After the abatement has expired you may apply for the Homestead Exemption, providing the property meets the eligibility requirements of the Homestead program.
Can I remove the residential abatement and keep the Homestead Exemption?
Property owners who wish to keep the Homestead Exemption and remove their abatement must complete the Abatement Cancellation & Removal form
. In order to remove the abatement, all owners of the property must sign the form
--if there are more than two owners, they can sign/submit additional forms. Once an abatement is removed, it cannot be put back on the property.
For questions about the Homestead Exemption, please call 215-686-9200.
I was recently approved for the Homestead Exemption, but approval is not shown on my Real Estate Tax Bill. Why?
If you were approved for the Homestead Exemption after bills were generated, the approval will not be reflected on the bill.
As a result, you will have to pay your Real Estate Tax bill in full and the Homestead Exemption will be placed on your account as a credit by the Department of Revenue. You may then request a refund for the Homestead amount by filing a refund petition. Visit the Department of Revenue
for more information about refunds.
For more information, please contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200.
Why does the property search show an amount under ‘Homestead’ and in the Exempt column?
The OPA is in the process of revising how Homestead approval is reflected on the property search. While changes to the website are being made, the approved Homestead amount will temporarily
show under ‘Homestead’ and in the ‘Exempt’ column. However, these amounts reflect the same
When the changes are finalized, if a property has been approved for Homestead, it will reflect a ‘Yes’ under ‘Homestead’ and the approved amount will be reflected solely in the Exempt column.
Please note that effective Tax Year 2015 and beyond, properties are only entitled to an abatement, or the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP), or the Homestead Exemption.
How do I check my Homestead Exemption status on the Property Search website?
The OPA’s Property Search
has been modified to better display a property’s Homestead Exemption status. If a property has been approved for the Homestead, then ‘Yes’ will be displayed under “Homestead,” and the approved amount reflected in the “Exempt” column. Please note that effective Tax Year 2015 and beyond, properties are entitled to only ONE of the following: the Homestead Exemption, the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP), or an abatement.
However, due to ongoing changes to the website, when a Homestead is removed from a property (due to a deed change or at the owner’s request), the Homestead amount may still be reflected in the “Exempt” column, even if it says ‘No’ under “Homestead.” The OPA is working to correct this.
In the meantime, for questions, concerns or to apply for the Homestead Exemption, please contact the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200. Calls can be conducted in any language.