Northeast Times

Property owners report incorrect taxes

Mar­vin Lewis was one of the lucky ones, or, so he thought. The Fair­field Street res­id­ent in Novem­ber was in­formed that the as­sess­ment on his home would be knocked down al­most $14,000.

Mul­tiply that fig­ure by the city’s 1.34 per­cent real es­tate tax rate and you see that Lewis ex­pec­ted his 2014 tax bill to be more than 180 bucks lower than it might have been had he not asked the Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ment to de­crease his home’s mar­ket value.

Lewis is among more than 6,000 own­ers whose prop­erty val­ues were re­vised by the OPA, which re­fused to do the same for more than 39,000 oth­ers.

But then Lewis got his 2014 tax bill on Dec. 19. The bill was based on the value OPA put on his home last spring, not the new fig­ure he heard about in Novem­ber. When it seemed his good for­tune was short-lived, Lewis star­ted mak­ing in­quir­ies. In a Dec. 20 phone in­ter­view, he said a city em­ploy­ee told him that cor­rec­ted bills would be sent out in a mass mail­ing at the end of this month.

Mike Piper, the OPA’s deputy chief as­sessor, told the North­east Times that what Lewis de­scribed is not un­com­mon.

“A tax­pay­er was suc­cess­ful in get­ting the OPA to agree to a re­vised as­sess­ment,” Piper wrote in a Dec. 20 email, “but the re­vised as­sess­ment was not re­cer­ti­fied in time for the tax billing in­form­a­tion to be ac­cur­ately re­flec­ted on the ac­tu­al bill.”

More than a few in­ac­cur­ate bills will be sent out, Piper said.

The Rev­en­ue De­part­ment has been ad­vised that re­vised bills might have to be sent out for about 3,000 prop­er­ties, May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter’s spokes­man Mark Mc­Don­ald stated in a Dec. 27 email to the North­east Times.

“As­sess­ments and re­vi­sions will con­tin­ue for a peri­od of time, and the De­part­ment of Rev­en­ue will con­tin­ue to send out re­vised bills,” he wrote.

Bills were mailed in Decem­ber based on as­sess­ments that were re­por­ted by Novem­ber, Mc­Don­ald con­tin­ued. “Those who have an ad­just­ment from the Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ment or are un­der ap­peal with the Board of Re­vi­sion of Taxes will re­ceive a re­vised bill in Janu­ary,” he stated.

“If ad­just­ments are made after Janu­ary, then re­vised bills will be sent out at a later date,” Mc­Don­ald said.

Those who over­pay their prop­erty taxes will re­ceive re­funds, he said. Real es­tate bills are due March 31. Those who pay by Feb. 28 will re­ceive 1 per­cent dis­counts, Mc­Don­ald said. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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