Wondering how to go about working with your Actual Value Initiative figure? Here’s the information you’ll need.
Every property owner who received a new assessment in the mail last week also got an explanation of how the number was derived and how that new assessment can be appealed.
For example, a homeowner who was told his or her property is worth $100,000 when most nearby properties have been selling for much less might want to try to get that $100,000 figure lowered.
Here’s how to do that:
Owners can file a “first-level review request” with the Office of Property Assessment by March 31. These forms were included in the packets of information sent along with the assessment notices. An owner can tell OPA that the market value is incorrect, that it isn’t like similar properties or other information is incorrect. Owners also may suggest what they believe their assessments should be. Mail the review requests to Office of Property Assessment, P.O. Box 51498, Philadelphia, PA. 19115.
An owner who is unsatisfied with the OPA’s review may appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes. That must be done by Oct. 7. Appeal applications must be filed with the BRT at The Curtis Center, 601 Walnut St., Suite 300 West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
Still not satisfied? Hire an attorney and take the case to the Court of Common Pleas.
If you are filing a first-level review, it’s important to use the form that accompanied the assessment notice, said Marisa Waxman, OPA’s director of policy and programs.
“We strongly urge people to use the pre-filled form enclosed with their notice since it is bar-coded and will allow for easier/speedier processing,” she wrote in an e-mail message.
That bar code is near the top right of the review request form.
Anyone who pays property taxes — especially those who do so through mortgage escrow accounts — should keep the review and appeal deadlines in mind, said City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.).
O’Neill said earlier that people who pay their taxes through escrow collected by their mortgage companies don’t see changes in taxes as soon as those who don’t.
That’s because mortgage companies aren’t likely to set updated escrow requirements until a new calendar year and after the deadlines are past.
“And by then, it’s too late,” he said, referring to the March 31 OPA review deadline and the Oct. 7 BRT appeal deadline. “People should take close looks immediately.”
Confused about the review and appeals process?
The OPA’s Web site about first level review is ph.ly/review.
A video explaining the appeal process is at ph.ly.com/opa.
The video is on the website, Channel 64 and is/will be available on Comcast On Demand.
You can find the brochure and a guide to understanding the notice on the OPA Web site, at ph.ly/assess.
Get information about appeals to the Board of Revision of Taxes at: ph.ly/revision.
Call the OPA at 215-686-9200.
Reporter John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.