Recent developments in Philadelphia County present a potential opportunity for property owners in the county to reduce their real property tax burden through the filing of a real estate assessment tax appeal.
This opportunity arises from a significant decrease in Philadelphia's common level ratio. The common level ratio essentially represents the average difference between assessments and sales prices for properties that sold in the county in the preceding year. Under its assessment laws, Pennsylvania derives current fair market value by dividing the assessed value by the common level ratio.
Each year, the Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board ("STEB") calculates and publishes the common level ratio for each county in Pennsylvania. For decades, STEB set the common level ratio for Philadelphia County a few percentage points below the county's stated ratio of 32 percent. In fact, Philadelphia's ratio has never been below 27.3 percent. This year, however, STEB set Philadelphia's common level ratio at 18.1 percent.
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