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. ••