Last year, Philadelphia released new “assessments” of property values, which are used to calculate property tax bills. If your assessed value went up, your property taxes will, too. Based on the current tax rate, for every $10,000 in increased value, your yearly tax bill will go up by $140.
If you think your home assessment is too high, you should appeal right away. You can do that by requesting a “First Level Review” with the Office of Property Assessment by September 8, 2023 and filing an appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes by October 2, 2023. Learn more at the Philadelphia Office of Property Assessments.
Most Philadelphia homeowners qualify for at least one tax relief program.
First, all homeowners should enroll in the Homestead Exemption Program. This program is available for every Philadelphia homeowner, including people who have tangled titles, except for people who are enrolled in LOOP. The Homestead Exemption saves Philadelphia homeowners $1,119 on their yearly tax bill.
Next, you should enroll in the Senior Freeze, if you are 65 or older (or 50+ and the widow(er) of someone who was 65 or older when they died) AND you are low-income (less than $33,500 for a household of 1 or $41,500 for a household of 2). You can be enrolled in the Senior Freeze and the Homestead Exemption Program at the same time, so be sure to apply for both.
Third, if you do not qualify for the Senior Freeze, see if you qualify for Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP). LOOP is for homeowners who have lived in their home for at least 10 years, and have seen their home’s assessed value increase by at least 50% this year OR by at least 75% over the past five years. Most homeowners do not qualify for LOOP, but if you do, you should apply because it may lower your taxes more than the Homestead Exemption Program will and protect against future increases in your assessed value. To see if you qualify for LOOP, visit the City’s website.
Fourth, you should apply for the Senior Tax Rebate. This Pennsylvania program benefits homeowners age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 annually for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. Homeowners can receive a rebate of up to $975, depending on their income. You can apply for the Senior Tax Rebate here.
Finally, you should enroll in an Owner-Occupied Payment Agreement (OOPA) if you have a tax delinquency or you can’t afford to pay your taxes.
There are additional tax relief programs offering specific help to veterans or to others.
If you are already enrolled in any of these programs, you do not need to re-apply each year.
“Ownership” for all tax relief programs includes people with tangled titles. This means that your name does not need to be on the deed to enroll. For example, if you inherited your home from a family member or if you have a rent-to-own agreement, you are eligible for these programs. That said, homeowners with tangled titles should apply with the help of a housing counselor or lawyer.
If you have not yet spoken with a free non-profit housing counselor, you can be connected with a housing counseling agency in your neighborhood by calling the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-223-HOME or visiting saveyourhomephilly.org. We encourage people to start with a housing counselor, because many problems can be resolved with their help.
Want to know more about the various property tax programs? Check out our Philadelphia Property Tax Handbook, available here.