GC Mid-Atlantic

Understanding the Basics of Philadelphia's New Actual Value Initiative

, The Legal Intelligencer


The city of Philadelphia's new property tax program is coming and your assessment is likely going up, but it is not all bad news. Still, commercial property owners and residential property owners alike need to understand the basics of the city's new Actual Value Initiative (AVI) and be prepared to take steps to ensure that they are assessed fairly.

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What's being said


    A fine overview.

    The "formal review" by the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) is actually a statutorily permitted Appeal (Philadelphia is still governed by the Old PA General Assesment Law and the law applicable to First Class Counties -and unaffected by the New Consolidated Assessment Law applicable to all PA counties but Phila. and Allegheny effective January 1, 2011).

    There is a a formal hearing before the BRT, presentation of evidence (usually in the form of an appraisal), cross examination of witnesses, etc.

    The "wlling buyer/willing seller" standard remains notwithstanding methodology used by the OPA to reach value. Commercial properties in particular must have all non business value removed from the FMV conclusion, enviromental damage impact considered, certain manufacturing exemptions reviewed, and the calculation of income to capitalize to value closely scrutinized.

    Finally, the Commonwealth Court has ruled in Westmoreland v.Rodgers and RTA that only an attorney may represent a taxpayer in a tax assessment appeal including before the Board's of Assessment in PA.

  • Roger

    What I have not seen from OPA or City Council etc, is what is acceptable "quantifiable evidence" particularly with rental properties. Are they only looking to comparable sales, a difficult comparison. Do they have some formula applying to net rental income and are they going to publish that? Other criteria?

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