Philadelphia property owners are getting new assessments: What you should know

"On average those tax assessments are going up 31% from this year's assessment," a staff attorney said.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia's new property tax assessments are causing many people to wonder if they can afford to stay in their homes, especially in some areas that have been gentrified.

"I'm OK with development, this is cool, but what about us?" said John Caesar of South Philadelphia.

Caesar says he's been living in his neighborhood his whole life and has seen it change. But as property values go up, so do taxes.

And that's what's happening now with the city's property reassessment.

Kate Dugan, a staff attorney for Community Legal Services, said, "We know that on average those tax assessments are going up 31% from this year's assessment. So that's a big jump. And in some neighborhoods, it's a significantly higher number. Some are 50% to 80% increases."

Mary Harvey and her husband Joe live in her mother's Fairmount house. They have a small pension and social security. But like many people, they are concerned.

"How can you afford it when it keeps going up and up and you're not getting any more money? As soon as we get our things, we are going to oppose it," said Joe Harvey.

The city switched to a new method of assessing properties.

And during the pandemic, the city didn't assess properties, so now the big jump in taxes seems like sticker shock to many.

You will be able to appeal, request a review with the city, or try to use one of the relief programs available.

"If you're a senior in Philadelphia, you may qualify for the senior freeze. There is also a program called LOOP which is similar," said Dugan.

"The Homestead Exemption is going to save you money every year on your tax bill. No matter what happens, you don't have to do anything different," Rebecca Lopez Kriss, the deputy commissioner for policy and outreach at the Philadelphia Department of Revenue said. "Once you have it on your property, it's on the property until your deed changes. Currently, most homeowners save about $629 a year with that program. The mayor has proposed a larger exemption that could save homeowners about $900 a year."

The good news here is that you do have time to either file an appeal or a review or see if there are any relief programs for you. These assessments are for taxes due next spring.
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