Back To Reality

It’s back to school and back to blogging.  Since May:

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Philadelphia Soda Tax (though there is still a possibility that the sweetened beverage industry could repeal the tax through legislation in the General Assembly);

  • The proposed Construction Tax, which would imposed a 1% tax on construction costs in Philadelphia (paid on application for a permit), passed City Council by a narrow margin but still may not become law, as Mayor Kenney has taken the summer to determine whether he will veto it;

  • Council did not raise the Real Estate Tax rate, which will stay at 1.3998% (opting instead to pass the Construction Tax), because, after city-wide property assessment increases, a further Real Estate Tax increase was incredibly unpopular;

  • Homeowners will get additional Real Estate Tax relief due to Council’s decision to raise the amount of the Homestead Exemption to $40,000 (albeit, instead of the previously-advertised $45,000);

  • Council did, however, increase the Realty Transfer Tax from 3.1% to 3.278%; and

  • Philadelphia tax revenues are up: total tax revenues have increased 11%, which includes an 8.3% increase in Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) revenues and an eye-opening 37.2% jump in Realty Transfer Tax revenues. 

 As Fall approaches, it’s time to think about filing appeals with the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) for tax year 2019.  Most people have yet to hear back from the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) with a decision on their First Level Review applications, which means that those people will want to decide very soon if they want to file a formal BRT appeal by the deadline this year, which is October 1st.  Applications, which can be mailed, emailed, or submitted in person, can be found here.