Did your home’s value triple? City has a tax break for you

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. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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