Council considers more time to file homestead exemption

Clarke
Clarke
Posted: April 19, 2013

WITH JUST A little more than two months left for Philadelphia homeowners to turn in their homestead applications, City Council is concerned that hundreds of thousands of eligible applicants - mostly in the city's poorest neighborhoods - may not make the July 31 deadline.

"The worst thing that could happen is we get to the July 31 deadline and we have a significant number of people who have not applied," said Council President Darrell Clarke. "That could be problematic for people in our districts."

Clarke proposed Thursday extending the deadline to Sept. 30. The homestead exemption would lower a home's taxable value by $30,000 under the city's new Actual Value Initiative, but 48 percent of 347,777 eligible homeowners have not applied. (Nutter has proposed a $15,000 homestead.)

Council members have criticized the Nutter administration's outreach efforts. As the Daily News reported in March, information about the homestead was mailed to homeowners in English with translations in several languages available only online.

Clarke said the city needs to implement a targeted outreach effort that includes one-on-one sit-down sessions. The Nutter administration held a series of AVI outreach sessions that concluded at the end of March. The Office of Property Assessment has said they would begin targeting low participating neighborhoods.

A recent Council analysis of AVI showed that 72 percent of homeowners could see their tax bills drop if every eligible homeowner applied for a homestead exemption.

In other news: City Council's Committee on Rules gave preliminary approval to a bill sponsored by Clarke that would authorize digital ads on city-owned property. Clarke introduced a similar bill in 2012.


On Twitter: @Jan_Ransom

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout

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