Longtime residents who this year saw their homes’ assessments more than triple are being invited to participate in a program that could cut their 2014 taxes by hundreds of dollars. Last week, the city began mailing information about the Longtime Owner Occupants Program, or LOOP, to about 80,000 homeowners, said Mark McDonald, Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman. If they’re eligible, homeowners could see tax savings from a few dollars to thousands of dollars, McDonald said. Those tax decreases should average out at about $700, he added.
However, not all 80,000 will be eligible, he said. Those who haven’t lived in their homes for 10 or more years (since July 1, 2003) won’t qualify, and neither will those whose household incomes are higher than the fairly liberal levels the city has set.
For example, a single-person household can have an income of $83,200, and a four-person household can have an income of $118,800. There are a few other qualifiers:
• Your home is either a single-family property or one that has no more than three residential units and one commercial unit.
• Your property has not received a tax abatement.
• Your real estate taxes are paid in full, you are current with a payment plan or have an application for a payment plan pending.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 15, said City Councilman Mark Squilla (D-1st dist.), but he added council wants to extend that to Feb. 15.
Most Northeast residents aren’t going to see this city mailing. Few saw the market values of their homes go up more than three times their 2013 assessments. The program, McDonald said, will have most of its impact in Kensington, Fishtown, South Philly, University City, Fairmount and Brewerytown. Those are the neighborhoods that got hit hardest by the citywide property reassessment completed this year.
Squilla, whose district runs from South Philly to Port Richmond, includes many of the properties whose assessments more than tripled this year.
“I believe this is a necessary safeguard,” he said of LOOP. The program will mitigate the effects of the high assessments, he said. Also, seniors whose incomes made them ineligible for other tax-relief programs will be able to take advantage of LOOP.
For more information, call 215-686-9200 or visit www.phila.gov/loop. ••