Homeowners appeal new assessments

More than 18,000 homeown­ers are ap­peal­ing their prop­er­ties’ new as­sess­ments with the Board of Re­vi­sion of Taxes, an agency that typ­ic­ally sees between 1,000 and 2,000 ap­peal ap­plic­a­tions an­nu­ally.

But 2013 is not what any­body would call a nor­mal year, at least, not as far as taxes are con­cerned.

This year, a city­wide real es­tate re­as­sess­ment was com­pleted, and many saw their prop­er­ties’ as­sess­ments bal­loon un­der the Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive. The val­ues now as­signed to prop­er­ties are sup­posed to be what those prop­er­ties would sell for — their mar­ket val­ues. 

Those who dis­agreed with the new num­bers were free to ask the Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ment to re­view the as­sess­ments. Al­most 50,000 prop­erty own­ers did just that. However, the bur­den was on them to per­suade OPA the new val­ues were wrong. Many simply didn’t, or even try to, ac­cord­ing to city of­fi­cials, so they got big “Nos” from OPA.

Their next step is to ap­peal to the BRT. As of Monday, 18,154 had done that, ac­cord­ing to Carla Pa­gan, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or. The dead­line to file an ap­peal was Oct. 7, and so many came in that BRT work­ers still are count­ing.

“We’ll fin­ish up just above 20,000,” Pa­gan said in a Nov. 3 email to the North­east Times.

BRT’s at­ti­tude to­ward the ap­peals is pretty much the same as OPA’s. A tax­pay­er’s abil­ity to pay more taxes on a prop­erty isn’t what the BRT’s people need to hear. They want to know why the as­sess­ment is wrong. A tax­pay­er who can show oth­er nearby prop­er­ties sold for far less than the new as­sess­ment num­ber is likely to do bet­ter with his or her ap­peal than the tax­pay­er who just whines. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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