OPA is wrapping up assessment reviews

Here’s the mail: A let­ter from the city to a loc­al homeown­er.

The Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ment by Dec. 9 had mailed out 46,304 an­swers to own­ers who asked the agency to re­view the new mar­ket val­ues as­signed to their prop­er­ties this year. The agency re­fused to change those num­bers for 39,483, said Mi­chael Piper, OPA’s deputy chief as­sess­ment of­ficer.

More than 6,800 re­ceived bet­ter news, he said in a Dec. 10 phone in­ter­view, and got all or part of what they wanted from OPA.

Not all of them wanted their total as­sess­ments lowered, he said. Some don’t care what the total is; it’s the parts of the sum that con­cern them. 

For those who have abate­ments, he said, the value as­signed to land is what they pay taxes on, so they wanted that fig­ure lowered.

There still are about 4,500 own­ers who had asked the OPA to re­view their as­sess­ments who haven’t got­ten re­sponses yet.

These “first-level re­views” usu­ally aren’t done, but, as Piper said, there’s noth­ing usu­al about 2013. The first city­wide prop­erty re­as­sess­ment that just about any­body can re­call was com­pleted this year. The pur­pose of the Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive was to put the val­ues of the city’s more than half-mil­lion prop­er­ties at 100 per­cent of what they would sell for. Own­ers will be taxed based on those new val­ues in 2014.

It was ex­pec­ted that some prop­erty own­ers wouldn’t be happy about the new fig­ures, so they were giv­en the op­por­tun­ity to ask OPA to re­view them. More than 50,000 filed re­view re­quests.

The or­din­ary route for ap­peals is to ask the Board of Re­vi­sion of Taxes to change as­sess­ments, and or­din­ar­ily, the BRT gets 1,000 to 2,000 such re­quests. 

Own­ers could take their cases dir­ectly to the BRT or ap­peal to that agency if they didn’t like what they heard from OPA.

Al­most 23,000 are ap­peal­ing to the BRT to lower their as­sess­ments, ac­cord­ing to Carla Pa­gan, BRT’s ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or. OPA will have rep­res­ent­at­ives at BRT hear­ings, Piper said. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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