City residents who live in their own homes have only one month left to file for a Homestead Exemption. What is a big mystery is that tens of thousands of homeowners who are eligible for this significant tax break have failed to apply for it.
The Office of Property Assessment says about 400,000 Philadelphia property owners are eligible for the Homestead Exemption, which cuts $30,000 from a property’s tax assessment. A taxpayer whose house was assessed at $100,000 and had received a Homestead Exemption would pay taxes based only on a house assessed at $70,000.
City Council approved the tax break as the city revolutionized its property tax assessment system, assessing homes at full market value instead of partial value. To ease the pain of this major change, the council adopted the $30,000 exemption that applies only to those who own their homes and live in them. Renters and those who own property but live elsewhere are not eligible.
So far, OPA says 204,000 Homestead Exemptions have been approved. The city has received more than 300,000 applications, but about 70,000 of those were duplicates. With owner-occupied housing estimated at 400,000 properties, that leaves nearly half of those eligible for exemptions going without them.
The deadline for applying for the exemption is Sept. 13.
City officials have spent the summer attending civic association meetings and other events and telling homeowners to apply for the exemptions. They’ve taken out ads, and tried other ways to get the word out.
All it takes to file for the tax break is a phone call to 215-686-9200. So, do yourself a favor, and don’t delay.
With the property assessment set at $1,349 for each $100,000 of assessed valuation, a $30,000 exemption adds up to a significant saving. ••