Monday, Oct. 1, is the last day to file your property tax appeal to the city.
For most homeowners, their property is their biggest investment. So when the latest sky-high reassessment letters came from the City of Philadelphia, tempers flared. So here's how to appeal online, in person, or by mail.
We wrote about Councilman David Oh's attempt to stop crazy reassessments on Philadelphia property owners and limit annual increases to a multiple of inflation, but City Council wouldn't hold hearings. So, instead, seniors, longtime city residents, and other homeowners are having to appeal the 100 percent, 200 percent, and even 300 percent increases individually.
If the Office of Property Assessment wants a flood of individual homeowner appeals, let's send them in.
First, find out how much your reassessment is using the Inquirer and Daily News database of proposed property reassessments: data.philly.com/philly/property/tax.
You'll need your address and lot number to file your appeal. You can find information about your property at https://property.phila.gov/.
Second, download the appeal form at http://bit.ly/PhilaAppeal.
Third, file your appeal by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, it helps to get an independent appraisal as part of your appeal, said Craig Silverman, an appraiser based in Newtown. He said any property over $1 million requires an appraisal on appeal.
"It lends credibility to have an appraisal" when you finally have a hearing on your appeal, said Silverman, who said he's never been busier since the recent reassessment. You don't need to have an appraisal done by Monday, he added, just have one done in time for your hearing with the OPA.
For more information, read our guide to appeal your 2019 reassessment: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/appeal-philly-property-assessment-guide-20180521.html.
Some Philadelphia homeowners, like Michael Tareila in Mount Airy, filed an appeal in person at the Board of Revision of Taxes in the Curtis Center in Center City.
Tareila says he received an out-of-nowhere OPA reassessment that added square footage to his house — the same house he's lived in for decades.
"They've said my house is three stories. It's 2½" and has been the entire time he's lived there.
Flaws in the methodology? Definitely. No surprise, he's appealing.
Other property owners filed what's known as a "first-level review" months ago on the reassessments — but haven't heard back yet from OPA. So, they're filing appeals as well. One who lives in Councilman Mark Squilla's First District said he wrote his representative asking for clarification.
"We do think there are flaws in the OPA assessment process. I would recommend you file the appeal by Oct. 1 to be safe," Squilla wrote back to this homeowner, adding that Council hopes to have the findings of the audit of OPA at the end of this month.
This homeowner didn't want his name used — for fear OPA would frown on his appeal.
Unfortunately, due to the large number of first-level review applications received by OPA, many of the applications are still under review. Most will not have final decisions before the filing deadline.
So, OPA recommends a formal appeal to preserve future appeal rights.
By the way, the head of OPA is Michael Piper, chief assessment officer, Office of Property Assessment, The Curtis Center, 601 Walnut St., Suite 300 West, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106. His email: Michael.email@example.com, and phone: 215-686-9272.
Finally, contact your Council representative to let them know you want to stop these insane reassessments. We don't mind paying more to fund our schools, but not shock increases year over year.