The new assessment notices will be mailed out to property owners in Philadelphia beginning, today. This will, no doubt, send many property owners into a state of shock when they see the new assessment value that has been place on their property by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
My advice would be, don’t get upset just yet. The reason being that despite the change in assessed value, no one is exactly sure how it will affect your taxes. That’s because the new tax rate has not been established, yet. So, when the new rates are voted on and set in place some property owners will see their taxes increase, while others may get out of this whole process relatively unscathed.
From what I was told in conversations I’ve had with folks at the OPA, is that property owners will have the opportunity to contest or disagree with their new assessments.
First, the property owner will have to submit a signed form to the OPA explaining why they feel their assessment is incorrect. This will initiate a First Level Review, in which the OPA will look into the matter. They will also send a letter of receipt to the property owner stating that a case has been opened. Then, the property owner will be contacted by the OPA either with a phone call or a letter. When their investigation is completed the OPA will notify the property owner of their findings/decision by mail. Keep in mind that this is the first time this process will be used in Philadelphia. So, you should be prepared for delays and lots of Philly-style red-tape. The deadline for filing a First Level Review is March 31, 2013.
If the First Level Review is unfavorable for the property owner, the property owner can then file an appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT). This can be a very long process and will likely involve a hearing in front of the BRT. If a property owner gets to this level, they should be prepared and have their documentation in order (appraisals, photos, floor plans, etc) and may even want to retain an attorney experienced with representing appeals in front of the BRT.
For more information on filing a Tax Assessment Appeal in Philadelphia or having an appraisal of your home completed to support your appeal please contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org