PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia announced today that due to operational concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it will forgo a citywide reassessment of all property values for Tax Year 2022.
The decision means that assessments for most properties will remain unchanged from current levels set for Tax Year 2021. Only properties that had new construction, expiring abatements, renovations, subdivisions, consolidations, or errors in prior year assessments will be reassessed.
This decision does not impact the appeals process; every owner has the right to appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT). Neither does it impact the wide range of tax relief assistance offered by the City.
“We appreciate the hard work of the OPA and the BRT over the past five months to normalize operations affected by the need to work remotely,” said Mayor Kenney. “I’m certain that opting to leave property values at current levels is the prudent action in light of a whole host of factors. It will allow operations that are currently delayed to catch up and will allow the OPA to ready the new CAMA system for a full reassessment next year—by which point I sincerely hope we will be past the effects of COVID-19. We owe it to taxpayers to ensure we are making property assessments as accurate as possible, and this decision will help OPA accomplish that.”
City officials opted to forgo a new assessment for the following reasons:
- The pandemic has led to remote operations for the Office of Property Assessment (OPA). Remote work in turn has led to operational delays in processing current work.
- OPA in February 2020 launched the new Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system. However, training on CAMA, which was scheduled for the spring, has been delayed due to the pandemic.
- OPA’s modeling calibration, necessary for a full citywide reassessment, was scheduled to start in April, but was delayed by pandemic-related restrictions until July. Modeling calibration is the process of refining the models used to calculate how property data translates into values.
- The calibration delay in turn would result in a shortened reassessment process and limited time to analyze results if a full assessment were to proceed.
- “Staying the course” for Tax Year 2022 will allow staff more time to ready the CAMA system fully to produce a reassessment for Tax Year 2023, rather than diverting resources to short-term fixes.
Tax Year 2022 assessments will be certified by OPA by March 31, 2021. Only property owners whose values change will receive notifications. Bills reflecting those assessments will be issued in December of 2021, for taxes due in March of 2022.
The City continues to move forward with implementing the recommendations of its mass appraisal consultant, Robert J. Gloudemans, issued in January 2019.