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Philadelphia Assessments Create Confusion

by Tom Branham, Washington D.C., February 2013


On February 15, the City of Philadelphia begins issuing new property value assessments from the first citywide reassessment in over a decade. Value increases of as much 150% are being reported across all classes of property (see table below). Therefore, officials are bracing for a flood of appeals.


Confusion and Panic


The new value notice for Fiscal Year 2014 is not a tax bill. The 2014 tax rate will be set as part of the budget process. Meanwhile, you will receive a tax bill for Fiscal Year 2013. This is just one factor leading to taxpayer confusion.


"People will take their new assessment, go get their old bill and multiply the new number by the old tax rate, and have a heart attack," city comptroller Alan Butkovitz said.


"When you have missing information, you have to fill in the blanks. People are assuming higher rates."


Two Levels of Appeal


The new values for taxes payable in 2014 are based on the market value of the property. If you believe the value is incorrect, you can have an informal review by the Office of Property Assessment, which initially assigned the value. You will have an opportunity to provide additional information to the Evaluator, who can adjust the value if appropriate.


If you are still not satisfied, you will still have the option to make a formal appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes.


City of Philadelphia Fiscal Year 2013 Values Versus
Fiscal Year 2014 Values



FY 2013

FY 2014










Hotels and Apartments*



Stores with Dwellings



Vacant Land







* About 15,000 properties with four or fewer apartments were shifted from hotels and apartments to residential.


** Total Taxable Market Value does not include 16,605 of the 579,000 parcels because the Office of Property Assessment is still finalizing values for those properties.