PHILADELPHIA AVI INFORMATION

 

On or about February 15, 2013 the City of Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment as part of its Actual Value Initiative (AVI) issued new full fair market value real estate tax assessments of  over 500,000 + real estate parcels in the City of Philadelphia including your parcel above captioned.  Until this year, the City of Philadelphia has been (theoretically) assessing your property at a “Predetermined Ratio” of assessment of Thirty Two Percent (32%).  (This has been contested most recently in 2011 and 2012 with the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) at one point determining that the ratio should be Eighteen Point One Percent (18.1%) and then Twenty Five Point Two Percent (25.2%) for 2012 and with most practitioners concentrating in real estate tax assessment appeals (which is what we do) sadly concluding that there is almost no uniformity of relationship of assessment to market value in the City of Philadelphia. 

 

            On December 1, 2012 the City of Philadelphia stated that while prior to the forthcoming February 15, 2013 Notice, the values of the real estate parcels of the City of Philadelphia were Thirty Eight Plus Billion Dollars ($38,000,000,000+) they would now be raised to Ninety Six Billion Five Hundred Million Dollars ($96,500,000,000). Normally this means that they would have to lower the tax rate proportionally (and presumably the Use and Occupancy tax on non residential property which is based upon the City assessment and has been half again the real tax rate) but unfortunately Pennsylvania law as it applied to First Class Counties such as Philadelphia County is, unlike that which applies to the other counties in Pennsylvania, not particularly clear as to procedures for the City of Philadelphia must follow.  The reality is that in all likelihood the present assessment of your property, as with most of the other hundreds of thousands of assessments in the City of Philadelphia, had no relationship to Fair Market Value and if it did it was a happenstance. (Common complaint: “Why isn’t my property as under-assessed as my competitor’s!”) Now however with “theoretically” all taxable parcels in the City of Philadelphia being brought up to One Hundred Percent (100%) of Fair Market Value it is particularly important that you have your new assessment reviewed by a lawyer with experience in tax assessment appeals to be certain that you do not pay more than your fair share. 

 

            KAO Law Associates (formerly Kassab, Archbold and O’Brien LLC), my law firm and PA Real Estate Tax Appeals LLC have concentrated our practice of law in real estate tax assessment appeals throughout Pennsylvania's counties for the last Twenty Five (25) years.  We have been involved in assessment appeals of numerous and varied real properties: industrial warehouse property above and below of One Million (1,000,000) square feet; retail space above and below One Million (1,000,000) square feet; major offices, commercial sites and multiple unit retirement and residential properties of various sizes.  Our residential division has also handled many executive residential properties.  Our firm can work with your appraiser or can provide you with appraisers. If you already have attorney responsible for these matters you should contact that person.  I should remind you that only a lawyer can represent a taxpayer before the Board of Revision of Taxes and it is important that you be certain that anyone offering representation is in fact an attorney.

 

            The Philadelphia * appeal filing date is still the first Monday of October 2013 for the 2014 year, i.e. October 7, 2013. The OPA is offering a preliminary review of the proposed assessment if requested by March 31, 2013, but REGARDLESS OF WHETHER REQUESTED THE ANNUAL APPEAL DATE REMAINS.  Our firm’s experience in recent and not so recent reassessments- there is often a twenty five (25 +/-) year plus or minus lag between countywide reassessments) including Lehigh County, Cumberland County, Delaware County, Berks County, Chester County and Montgomery County would indicate that it is important to act on this as soon as possible because of the number of properties involved and the scarcity of top appraisers. 

 

* Most annual appeal dated for other counties are from August 1st to September 1st of the year prior to appeal