This page answers frequently asked questions regarding property assessment in Philadelphia.
What do I do if I suspect I am a victim of deed fraud?
If you suspect you are a victim of deed or mortgage fraud, you should report the fraud to the Department of Records.
How can I find my OPA account number?
The OPA Account Number is a unique 9-digit number that identifies a property and is the same as the old BRT account number. If you don’t know your OPA account number, you can look it up using your property address or find it on your Real Estate Tax bill.
Where can I find information about permits and zoning?
Visit the Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I).
Where can I find information on tax payment and lien information?
Visit the Department of Revenue.
Where can I find information about deeds and mortgage records?
Visit the Department of Records.
Where can I find information about properties owned by PHDC and properties available for purchase?
Visit the PHDC.
Where can I find information about property owned by the City of Philadelphia that is currently available for bid?
Learn how to find a City-owned property.
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. The value may be very different than its price at another time or in a different condition or use.
Some people may have overpaid for a property. Others may have purchased their property at a bargain price. The property itself may also have changed in some significant way. Market value is always defined as of the date of the appraisal.
What is the difference between assessed value and taxes?
The City and the school district use the assessed value of your property to determine your real estate taxes.
A property’s real estate tax is found by multiplying its assessed value by the tax rate.
Evaluators do not set the tax rate. The evaluator analyzes the market and uses the OPA’s valuation systems to determine the market value of a property.
What is “millage” and how is it determined?
Millage is the tax rate expressed as tax dollars per thousand dollars of assessed value. City Council sets the tax rates, which are then applied to the assessment to determine the taxes due.
If a property has an abatement or exemption, the tax rate is only applied to the taxable part of the assessment.
What is the “pre-determined ratio” and why is it 100%?
The pre-determined ratio determines the ratio of market value to assessed value. (The assessed value is the part 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.
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 your notice.
How can I better understand my Notice of Proposed Valuation?
OPA provides a guide to the Notice of Proposed Valuation in multiple languages.
What is a co-op/cooperative? How do I know if I live in one?
A housing cooperative is when people own and operate the building they live in, but not the individual units. The cooperative owns the actual building and people pay the right to occupy a unit within the co-op.
How do I remove a deceased spouse or parent from the property record?
In order for OPA to update the property to the surviving party’s name, a new deed must be recorded for the property.
Take the following steps to record a new deed:
- Get a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.
- Go to a local real estate attorney, title insurer, or realtor. Have them draw up a new deed transferring property from the deceased party and the taxpayer, to the taxpayer only.
- Have the new deed recorded with the City’s Department of Records. The surviving spouse does not need to pay a recording fee if they present a copy of the death certificate and the marriage license.
- Once it is recorded with the Department of Records, OPA is legally able to update the record.