AVI property assessment appeals deadline is Oct. 7

Re­altor Chris Ar­tur is ap­peal­ing the new val­ues the city this year put on prop­er­ties he owns on Levick Street and Frank­ford Av­en­ue. 

If you want to join him in ap­peal­ing your prop­erty’s new Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive as­sess­ment, you have less than a week to file your pa­pers with the Board of Re­vi­sion of Taxes. The dead­line is Monday, Oct. 7.

If you’ve been wait­ing to hear the res­ult of your first-level re­view re­quest from the Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ment, stop wait­ing. About half the al­most 50,000 re­view re­quests filed with the OPA won’t be de­cided or even in the mail to prop­erty own­ers be­fore Oct. 7.

And that Oct. 7 dead­line is not go­ing to be moved, so, if you sus­pect your as­sess­ment is not go­ing to be re­vised down and you really be­lieve it should be, file your BRT ap­peal ap­plic­a­tion be­fore it’s too late. If you even­tu­ally get good news from the OPA, then you can al­ways with­draw your BRT ap­peal, said the OPA’s Mike Piper.

So far, about 3,900 of the more than 25,000 re­views com­pleted by the OPA are good news for prop­erty own­ers. The new as­sess­ments they re­ceived from the city in Feb­ru­ary have been lowered. 

The first-level ap­peals were new this year to ac­com­mod­ate prop­erty own­ers who might get some stick­er shock when they see the res­ults of the first city­wide real es­tate re­as­sess­ment in dec­ades. Own­ers dis­sat­is­fied with the new val­ues were in­vited to ask OPA to re­con­sider the num­bers.

The bur­den, however, was on the tax­pay­ers to prove their as­sess­ments were too high, something very few were able to do, Piper said last week. In fact, many of the re­view re­quests were re­mark­ably easy to deny, he said. And that means very few re­view ap­plic­ants got good news, Piper said.

Ar­tur, who has not been shy about his con­tempt for AVI, is one of those who re­ceived bad news, even though he be­lieves his re­quests to lower as­sess­ments on two of his prop­er­ties were lo­gic­al and backed up by what he called the eas­ily veri­fi­able con­di­tions of the prop­er­ties and com­par­able re­cent sales val­ues of nearby build­ings. 

“I find it real in­ter­est­ing that they didn’t change it a single bit,” he said of his as­sess­ments in a Sept. 27 phone in­ter­view. 

Any­one who wants to ap­peal a prop­erty’s as­sess­ment should go to the BRT’s web­site for an ap­plic­a­tion: www.phila.gov/brt/PD­FAp­peal­Form­and­In­struc­tions.pdf

Fol­low the in­struc­tions and get ap­plic­a­tions to The Board of Re­vi­sion of Taxes, The Curtis Cen­ter, 601 Wal­nut St., Suite 325 East, Phil­adelphia, PA 19106.

The BRT is open Monday through Fri­day, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The phone num­ber is 215-686-4343.

Only own­ers of re­cord or equit­able own­ers may file ap­peals with BRT as can some ten­ants who are re­spons­ible for all or part of a prop­erty’s real es­tate taxes, ten­ants re­spons­ible for all or part of use and oc­cu­pancy taxes or mort­gage lenders who take pos­ses­sion of mort­gaged prop­er­ties.

As of Sept. 17, the BRT had re­ceived about 1,500 ap­peals, ac­cord­ing to Carla Pa­gan, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or. Most years, the agency gets 1,000 to 2,000 ap­peals.

Pa­gan said the BRT, too, puts the onus of prov­ing an as­sess­ment is too high on the tax­pay­ers. Pennsylvania law re­quires tax­pay­ers to pro­duce com­pet­ent, cred­ible and rel­ev­ant evid­ence to over­come as­sess­ments. 

A tax­pay­er’s in­come is not a val­id ar­gu­ment for re­duc­tion of a prop­erty’s value, she said. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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