The City of Philadelphia is offering a new tax relief program for homeowners called the Homestead Exemption, which will reduce the taxable assessed value used for calculation of homeowners’ Real Estate Tax bills by $30,000 (exemption amount may be subject to change) starting in Tax Year 2014. A person must simply own their home and live in it as their primary residence.
All Philadelphia homeowners will receive a Homestead application (pre-printed with their Office of Property Assessment account information) in the mail by September 1, 2012. Or an application can be completed and submitted online. If you have already submitted an application, it has been collected and will be processed — there is no need to submit a second application.
All homeowners are encouraged to submit their applications by November 15, 2012, to have the Exemption reflected on the Tax Year 2014 Assessment Change Notice that will be mailed in February 2013. Once a Homestead application has been approved, there is no need to reapply each year, unless the deed to the property changes. Applications received after Nov. 15th will continue to be processed, but may not be shown on the Tax Year 2014 Assessment Change Notices.
Who is Eligible?
The primary residences of all Philadelphia homeowners are eligible for the Homestead Exemption regardless of age or income. If a homeowner’s property is mixed-use, with a portion of the property used for commercial or rental space, homeowners are still eligible to receive the Homestead Exemption for the portion of the property that is their primary residence; condo and co-op residents are also eligible to apply. Homeowners that have a mortgage or a ten-year abatement on their property are eligible. Vacation homes, non-owner occupied rental properties, and properties that are used solely for commercial purposes are not eligible.
Before starting the online application process, you should gather any necessary documentation since you cannot save a half-completed application and return to it at a later time. The application must be completed by an owner that uses the property as his or her primary residence.
You will need:
• Your Office of Property Assessment (OPA) Account Number; if you don’t know your OPA Account Number, it is the 9-digit number that is located at the top of your Real Estate Tax bill. Or you can look it up here by searching under your address.
• The property address and mailing address, if the mailing address differs.
• The property owner name(s); only one name is required but you can enter two.
• A contact phone number and/or email address; although providing this information is optional, the phone number should be in a 10-digit format: ‘XXX-XXX-XXXX’ and the email should be in the ‘email@example.com’ format.
• If your property is used for something in addition to your primary residence, like a business or rental property, what the percentage of the square footage of the other use is.
Once you are satisfied that the information entered is correct, you can select ‘Submit’ to electronically send your application in for processing. If you need to change any information, select ‘Revise’ to go back, make any edits and then submit. Once you have submitted your application, you can print out a confirmation summary to keep for your records. You do not need to send anything by US Mail.
Letter From the Mayor
Print a Blank Paper Application
Application – Chinese
Application – Spanish
Homestead Mayor’s Letter Chinese
Homestead Mayor’s Letter Spanish
Homestead Brochure Chinese
Homestead Brochure Spanish
Open the door to tax savings! Apply now for the Homestead Exemption. Still Have Questions? Call the Homestead Hotline at 215-686-9200 (TTY – 215-525-5010)
In addition to the Homestead Exemption, the City will continue to offer installment payment programs for low-income Philadelphians and the tax freeze program for low-income seniors. The Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program for eligible seniors and the disabled also remains available.
Real Estate Tax Update – August 2012 The City of Philadelphia will be moving to property assessments based on Actual Values for Tax Year 2014. This change will help to provide fair, accurate, and understandable tax assessments and bills. Tax Year 2013 For the upcoming Tax Year 2013, based on recently passed local legislation, the City will be using values certified for tax year 2011 to calculate tax bills, with adjustments for subsequent improvements, demolition and destruction.
- Most properties in Philadelphia will have no change in assessed value from last year.
- Approximately 25,000 properties will have a change in value and will receive a notice in late September with the new value. Properties with no change in value will not receive a notice.
- Tax bills based on the 2011 Values will be mailed as usual in December and are due March 31, 2013 (with a 1% discount if you pay by February 28th).
- Tax bills will be calculated based on the following formula:
- Certified Market Value x 32% (pre-determined ratio) x 9.771% (tax rate).
- The tax rate has increased by 3.6% compared to last year to provide additional funding to the Philadelphia School District. This increase is not related to a change in assessed values.
Tax Year 2014 To prepare for using Actual Values for tax assessments for Tax Year 2014 and beyond, the City will mail property owners notices of assessment change in February 2013 to alert them to the new values.
- These values will be based on the market value of the property, which means the value that your property would sell for on the open market.
If you think that the new value is incorrect, you can have an informal review by the Office of Property Assessment Evaluator who initially assigned the value. You will have an opportunity to provide additional information to the evaluator for consideration. The evaluator will adjust the value if appropriate. If you believe that the assessed value is too high after the informal review, you will still have the option to make a formal appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes.
- With Actual Value, the formula for calculating your tax bill will be simplified to Certified Market Value multiplied by the Tax Rate, removing the fractional basis for calculations.
- The Real Estate Tax rate for Tax Year 2014 will be determined by May 31, 2013, and the Administration plans to propose a substantial tax rate reduction once the new values are determined. Do not multiply the 2013 tax rate by your 2014 value to estimate your tax bill – it will be incorrect.
The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) is conducting a full reassessment of all real property in Philadelphia as part of its work to maintain accurate, fair and equitable property assessments. The reassessment includes a field inspection of all real property.
To learn more:
Field Inspections FAQ