Northeast Times

More than 220K approved for Homestead Exemption

More than 220,000 Phil­adelphia homeown­ers will get real es­tate tax breaks next year be­cause they have been ap­proved for the $30,000 Homestead Ex­emp­tion.

A prop­erty own­er who has the ex­emp­tion will see his 2014 city prop­erty taxes re­duced by about $400.

More than 300,000 own­ers who live in their own homes were thought to be eli­gible, but not all ap­plied for the ex­emp­tion by the Sept. 13 dead­line des­pite ef­forts by coun­cil mem­bers and city of­fi­cials to get them signed up.

Coun­cil mem­bers like Bri­an O’Neill, Bobby Hen­on and Maria Quinones Sanc­hez and their staffs took out ads, knocked on doors, sent out mail­ings and called homeown­ers. The city sent out rep­res­ent­at­ives to talk up the ex­emp­tion with neigh­bor­hood groups.

Still, as the mid-Septem­ber dead­line ap­proached, there were people who had blank looks on their faces when told they had a tax break com­ing, said O’Neill (R-10th dist.). Those who learned about the ex­emp­tion too late, he said last month, can still ap­ply for it next year.

The ex­emp­tion works simply enough: Sub­tract $30,000 from a prop­erty’s as­sessed value be­fore mul­tiply­ing the as­sess­ment by the tax rate, which is roughly 1.32 per­cent. The ex­emp­tion doesn’t af­fect a home’s mar­ket value. It’s used only for tax­a­tion com­pu­ta­tions.

As of Sept. 27, 224,448 homeown­ers were ap­proved for the ex­emp­tion, said May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter’s spokes­man, Mark Mc­Don­ald.

The city denied 24,000 ap­plic­a­tions, he said, and there were 82,147 du­plic­ate ap­plic­a­tions. Sev­enty-two people with­drew their ap­plic­a­tions, he ad­ded.

Mc­Don­ald said the Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ment be­lieves the fi­nal num­ber of ex­emp­tion ap­provals could sur­pass 230,000. Also, al­though the dead­line to ap­ply for the ex­emp­tion was Sept. 13, people who buy a home after Sept. 14 can still ap­ply for the ex­emp­tion for their 2014 taxes.

“This wrinkle ends Dec. 1,” Mc­Don­ald stated in an Oct. 9 email to the North­east Times. “After that, any­one who buys will have to wait un­til tax year 2015 to have a homestead ex­emp­tion ap­plied to their as­sess­ment.” ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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