Mayor Kenney signs property tax relief measures into law | Department of Revenue

Collaboration between administration, council member Kenyatta Johnson and city council brings new changes to existing tax relief programs

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney will sign into law bills today that provide significant relief to homeowners impacted by recent tax assessments by expanding the city’s senior tax freeze program (Bill No. 220499) and the Longtime Homeownership Program (Bill No. 220497). These changes dramatically increase access and eligibility for thousands of vulnerable Philadelphia homeowners and increase the value of the benefit for many households.

Last month, Kenney also signed into law Bill 200012, which increases the city’s property exemption from $45,000 to $80,000, effective in tax year 2023. That means 80 $000 of a property’s assessed value will be exempt from property taxes. According to 2023 data from the Office of Property Assessment (OPA), $194,200 is the median value of owner-occupied homes in Philadelphia. This change will be reflected in property tax bills for 2023.

For a Philadelphia homeowner, increasing the Homestead exemption to $80,000 means most homeowners will have an annual savings of about $1,119 in next year’s property taxes, up from $629 this year. Once the City of Philadelphia accepts an application for a homestead exemption, that person never has to reapply for an exemption unless their deed changes. The person receives property tax savings each year, as long as they continue to own and live in the property.

“The rising property values ​​are a good reflection of Philadelphia being a great location and an opportunity to build wealth for some, and they reflect significant economic growth in Philadelphia, but we also know that many residents are being impacted by these assessments,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “These bills, negotiated with our City Council partners, will help us deliver on our promise to provide substantial relief to homeowners who have been affected by the long-term boom in the housing market. These measures will protect our seniors and long-time homeowners, especially low- and middle-income households, while benefiting the entire city for generations to come. »

“I want to thank Mayor Jim Kenney and the entire administration for their support of my Save Our Homes tax relief plan,” said Council Member Kenyatta Johnson (Second Council District)who led a seven-point game save our homes tax relief package in May. “The city’s Office of Property Assessment (OPA) announced in May that residential property assessments for the 2023 tax year are increasing an average of 31% across the city. In some neighborhoods, assessments have doubled Increases are highest in low-income black and brown neighborhoods Mass displacement is a real threat But it doesn’t have to be. save our homes The Property Tax Relief Plan is a set of solutions that will benefit Philadelphia landlords and renters in the short and long term.

In addition to the unanimous support of the tax plan across council, changes to these popular tax relief programs are backed by Community Legal Services (CLS), which helps clients when they are threatened with losing their homes. , their income, their health care and even their families.

“The expansion of the long-time homeowner program, the ‘freeze’ program for seniors and the increase in the property exemption will provide crucial relief to homeowners who would otherwise face property tax bills. significantly higher in 2023,” said Montgomery Wilson, Supervising Lawyer, Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit, Community Legal Services. “These programs will help save homes. It’s important to remember that the most affordable and effective housing program is simply to help people stay in the homes they already own. As we emerge from the pandemic, with families and seniors already struggling to pay their mortgages and other bills, we are grateful to Mayor Kenney, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and City Council members who support this legislation to prevent homelessness and preserve intergenerational wealth. Our work is not done, but expanding these programs is a huge step forward in ensuring Philadelphia homeowners get the help they need.

The Seniors Property Tax Freeze Program allows low-income seniors, age 65 or older, to permanently freeze their property assessments. To qualify at this time, a person’s income must be $33,500 per year or less for a single person or $41,500 per year or less for a married couple. With these latest changes, eligible seniors will have the option to retroactively register for the senior tax freeze. This means that if someone is 70, but new to the program and qualified at 65, they can freeze the value of their property at the amount they had at 65. Therefore, these seniors will only pay tax on their assessment. from the year they first became eligible, going all the way back to 2018.

The LOOP (Longtime Owner Occupants Program) is a program for long-term low-to-middle income homeowners whose property assessments increase by 50% or more in just one year. With changes agreed to by City Council and administration, eligibility for LOOP will be significantly expanded. Bill No. 220497 also allows an alternate route to LOOP for homeowners who do not meet the 50% threshold, but have experienced assessment increases of 75% or more over a five-year period.

Moreover, the save our homes plan, which forms part of the basis of the agreement between the administration and the city council, also: expands rental assistance by allocating $30 million over two years; expands community reach by allocating more than $4 million to outreach and taxpayer assistance programs; and allocating $1 million for anti-displacement legal services for low-income Philadelphians involved in landlord-tenant disputes and other issues exacerbated by rising assessments.

Penny D. Jackson