Northeast Times

Property owners can appeal valuations

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. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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