AVI alters Philadelphia property tax rates

February 21, 2013 5:58:40 AM PST
The hot topic in Philadelphia during these cold winter months is property reassessments and how they will affect property taxes.

There will be winners and there will be losers, and the suspense is about to end as the new property assessments are in the mail.

Some homeowners have already gotten them - others are still waiting. Predictions, however, say taxes could end up doubling for some.

It is called the Actual Value Initiative or AVI. The city has recalculated the value of all its taxable land.

Chief Assessment Officer Richie McKeithen headed that effort. He explains, "We're trying to have a system that's fair to everyone, an assessment that is closer to market value."

Until AVI, Philadelphia had a confusing system of assessments where similar properties had wildly different values. Under AVI, McKeithen says, assessments will more accurately reflect real values.

But fairness could prove unpopular.

Under the old system, commercial properties, like Center City Towers, paid more than their fair share.

A tech group has produced an online calculator and map. Using a standard tax rate, it figures giant Liberty Place could see a whopping 48-percent tax cut. At the same time, traditionally under assessed row homes along a South Philadelphia block could see taxes triple.

Businesswoman Maggie Dang told Action News that her shop could see a 175-percent hike in taxes.

Dang expressed her frustration, saying, "I think that's very unfair and is ridiculous. No, nobody can [afford this]."

AVI Calculator http://avicalculator.phila.gov/

AVI Map: