How will AVI affect Philadelphia neighborhoods?

Thanks to the property tax overhaul, up-and-coming neighborhoods will likely see higher tax bills because their properties have been undervalued by the city for years. That applies to places such as Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Graduate Hospital and areas right around Center City.

Other lower- and middle-income neighborhoods around the city are expected to get lower tax bills because their properties have long been overvalued.  

But tax changes could also vary significantly within neighborhoods. Currently, thanks to flaws in current assessments, similar properties in the same area often get wildly different bills. The property tax overhaul, known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), is intended to fix that.  

Say, for instance, you own a two-story row home just like neighbor’s. If your house has been overvalued by the city in the past, then you could see your taxes go down during the overhaul. Conversely, if your neighbor’s house has been undervalued, she could see her taxes go up.  

Because the administration just finished compiling data on the new assessments, it is not entirely clear yet how specific neighborhoods will be affected. WHYY/NewsWorks will be studying this issue closely, though, so check later for more information.  

In the meantime, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, a critic of the overhaul, has released his analysis on how the change will impact neighborhoods. You can read it below. Keep in mind that it shows the average tax bills for various ZIP codes, as opposed to median bills. Critics of his analysis say that averages can be distorted by just a few properties.  

The study also doesn’t take possible tax relief measures being discussed by City Council into account, and it is based on a tax rate that hasn’t been finalized.

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