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Time is Running Out for Philadelphia Appeals

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


An important appeal deadline is fast approaching for property owners in the City of Philadelphia. Owners who disagree with their assessment following this year's citywide revaluation have until October 7th to file a formal appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT).


Nearly 50,000 first-level appeals were filed to Philadelphia's Office of Property Assessment (OPA). However, only half of the cases have been resolved so far. City officials are advising owners to go ahead and file a formal appeal and not wait for a decision from the OPA.


Owners who did not seek a first-level appeal can file directly to the BRT on or before October 7th.


Why the Delay?


The Office of Property Assessment has been unable to keep up with the huge influx of first-level appeals due to a lack of manpower. The OPA's deputy chief assessment officer said the office has struggled to hire more employees and has been unable to find qualified workers.


Formal Appeal Deadline Can't be Extended


The city mailed letters to the owners of about 25,000 properties telling them their first level reviews are unlikely to be finished on time. The letter warns that the October 7th formal appeal deadline is set by state law and cannot be extended because of a pending first-level review.


If owners do not challenge an incorrect assessment by October 7th, they must accept the value established during the recent reval. Under the city's new Actual Value Initiative (AVI), a tax rate of 1.34% will be applied to 100% of the assessed valuation.


Annual Revaluations


Philadelphia law now allows for annual property revaluations. The OPA is currently in the process of reassessing properties once again. Notices will be mailed in April 2014 for taxes payable 2015.