Every property owner who received a new assessment in the mail last week also got an explanation of how the number was calculated 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 decreased.
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 to the Northeast Times.
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? Here’s where to find help
Information on the OPA’s Web site about first-level reviews is found at ph.ly/appeals
A video explaining the appeal process is at ph.ly/opa
The video is on the Web site, Channel 64 and is 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.
City Council members who serve the Northeast and their staffs are available to help constituents with questions about AVI, assessment appeals, homestead exemptions and tax abatements.
• Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.) has staff at his district office at 6730 Torresdale Ave., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 215-683-9220 or e-mail Lisa@bobbyhenon.com to make an appointment. After hours, weekend and phone appointments are available by request.
• Maria Quinones Sanchez (D-7th dist.) said constituents can call her office at City Hall Room 592, 215-686-3449 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
• Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) has staff available to help on the second floor of the municipal building at Bustleton Avenue and Bowler Street, 215-685-0432 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays or in City Hall Room 562, 215-686-3422.
• Mark Squilla (D-1st dist.) has offices in City Hall Room 332. Phone 215-686-3458 during business hours.
• Dennis O’Brie
n (R-at large) has offices in City Hall Room 582. Phone 215-686-3440, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. weekdays. ••