A few weeks ago, a large number of homeowners throughout the City of Philadelphia received notices from the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) that their properties have been reassessed. In many cases, the reassessed values increased substantially. Since property taxes are based on OPA's assessment valuations, it follows that many homeowners are likely to see an increase in their property taxes in 2019.
Because many people in Center City have questions about the reassessment process and want to know how to appeal, CCRA held a public meeting last week at Tenth Presbyterian Church. A panel consisting of Michael Piper (Chief Assessment Officer for the OPA), Salima Cunningham (Communication Coordinator for the OPA), and attorney Stewart Weintraub fielded questions from a packed audience. For information about that public meeting, check out this article from Philly.com reporter Erin Arvedlund.
Here are some of the takeaways:
- Property owners who want to challenge their reassessments can file for First Level Review (FLR) with the OPA. FLR is not an appeal, but rather is an informal process where property owners can provide information to OPA suggesting that their assessments may be incorrect, and if the OPA agrees, it can change the assessment. Requests for FLR are due no later than May 25, 2018. If you need a FLR form, either reach out to CCRA or call the OPA at (215) 686-4334.
- The deadline for taking a formal appeal is in October of 2018.
- In requesting FLR, property owners are permitted to be represented by attorneys. However, representation is not necessary.
- While there are several factors that the OPA will consider in making a decision to change an assessment on FLR, one thing that the OPA unfortunately will not entertain is the property owner's ability or inability to pay his or her taxes.
- In reviewing an assessment on FLR, OPA will consider the valuation of comparable properties. However, there is no simple definition of what constitutes a "comparable" property.
- If you did not receive a reassessment notice in the mail and you are unsure if your property has been reassessed, call the OPA at (215) 686-9272.