The Office of Property Tax Assessment (OPA) received 14,123 calls and 1,650 website inquiries from Feb. 15-24. The OPA has acquired an outside call center to manage the call volume since mailing the new property value assessments on Feb. 15.
The top three inquiries the OPA has received are regarding the homestead exemption, property value assessment and to report an property information error, such as a misspelling.
Homeowners who don't agree with their property value assessment may appeal it. "I would encourage people not to act on emotion but to put some thought into a first level review," said Richie McKeithen, OPA chief assessment officer.
The first level review must be filed in writing and is due March 31. McKeithen said all homeowners received the first level review form with the mailed property tax assessment paperwork.
If for some reason a homeowner misses the March 31 OPA first level review deadline, they may file an appeal directly with the Board of Revision of Taxation by Oct. 7.
McKeithen said the first level appeal process was created to make it easier for the homeowner so they would not have to attend a formal hearing in front of the board.
For the first time, in 2014, Philadelphia homeowners are eligible for a $30,000 homestead exemption. "The homestead exemption reduces the taxable assessed value of a property," says Marisa Waxman, OPA assistant administrator. It applies to all Philadelphia homeowners who "own a home and live in it as a primary residence."
Waxman said 182,000 homestead exemptions have been approved so far. "There are still folks who are out there and they should file," she said.
The tax rate will be set by City Council when the budget is passed this spring. The Department of Revenue, not the OPA, provides tax payer assistant programs.
Property value assessment questions can be directed to the OPA at 216-686-9200 or check the OPA's frequently asked questions here.