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Philadelphia Appeal Backlog Intensifies

by Tom Branham, Washington D.C., February 2014


Officials say it could take years for all the appeals to be settled following Philadelphia's revaluation last year.


More than 50,000 taxpayers appealed to the Office of Property Assessment (OPA), about 5,000 filed "non-oral" appeals, and 19,000 requested a formal hearing before the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT). The BRT is considering ways to speed up appeals, such as breaking up the seven-member board into smaller panels to hear cases.


The workload won't likely diminish any time soon. Philadelphia law now allows for annual property revaluations and the OPA is currently in the process of reassessing properties once again, which will likely result in even more appeals. Commercial property appeals for the 2014 tax year will not be heard until September 2014 and may take many months to complete.


On a positive note, property owners who appealed their 2014 assessment can pay the same amount in taxes as they paid in 2013 until their appeal is settled under legislation recently passed by the Philadelphia City Council. Once an appeal decision is handed down, owners have 30 days to pay any difference that may be owed before penalties and interest accrue.