The Great Philly Tax Hike of 2019: Part II

Many people are seeing 40%, 50%, or even 100% increases in their property tax assessments this year. In fact, the City's property database reveals that some properties' assessed values in Point Breeze have almost tripled. These assessment increases will translate directly into tax increases that, as I have set forth in another post, are neither reviewed nor approved by our Councilmembers and legally prohibited in all other counties in this Commonwealth.  

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson recently introduced a bill to extend protections for longtime Philadelphia homeowner occupants against abrupt tax hikes due to reassessments, which Philadelphia City Council passed. That is just the start, though, because young families who recently became Philadelphia homeowners are not protected in any way. The lack of tax stability may make them even more likely to flee to the suburbs, even as the Philadelphia School District has opined that these same young people are the key to public education revitalization

The City also confirmed during recent litigation that it isn't even allowing taxpayers to pay their property taxes based on their prior year's tax bill while a challenge to their assessment is pending, as many taxpayers did for dramatic AVI increases in 2014. Thus, all property owners will have to pay their bills in full, even if an assessment appeal is pending and ultimately successful.

Many small business owners get hit twice when subject to tax hikes via property reassessments: first, by increases to their U&O tax bills in July, and, second, by increase to their property tax bills in February or March of the following year, along with residential property owners. Although a bill is pending in City Council that will delay increases to business owners' U&O tax bills until January 1 of the year following notification of an assessment increase, that bill won't be provide any relief until next year. That is, unless individual business owners successfully challenge the use of assessed values for U&O bills that haven't, by law, become valid (which I wrote about here).

If you have seen dramatic increases, perhaps it's time to contact your Councilmember to demand they take action to provide some relief.


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