Thursday is the deadline for Philly’s Homestead Exemption

The Homestead Exemption program enables homeowners to reduce their property tax bill by reducing the taxable portion of their property’s value.

The skyline in Philadelphia is pictured along the Schuylkill River

File photo: This photo shows the skyline in Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The clock is ticking for Philadelphia homeowners to take advantage of the city’s revamped Homestead Exemption program.

The state-set deadline to apply is Thursday. Applications can be submitted online, by phone, or by mail. The application must be postmarked by Dec. 1.

“There is no income or age requirement for this program. Anyone who owns their home qualifies anywhere in the city,” said Rebecca Lopez Kriss, deputy commissioner for policy and outreach at the Philadelphia Department of Revenue.

Homeowners already enrolled in the program do not need to reapply to receive the popular benefit, which now enables residents to deduct $80,000 from their property value before paying their property taxes.

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It’s expected to lower their annual bill by about $1,119.

“For some folks, that could completely eliminate their real estate tax bill,” said Lopez Kriss.

For years, the homestead exemption sat at $45,000, which saved homeowners about $629 annually. The value dramatically increased during budget negotiations between the City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration this summer, with the agreement figuring prominently in the final deal. 

Proposals to raise the homestead exemption followed the city’s latest round of property assessments, which saw residential values increase by an average of 31% following a three-year pause in the process.

About 60,000-70,000 homeowners are currently eligible for the program, but are not enrolled, said Lopez Kriss. The city estimates that about 250,000 homeowners are already participants.

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“It is the easiest program to get into in Philadelphia,” said Montgomery Wilson, a supervising attorney at Community Legal Services.

On Thursday, the city will also post individual property tax bills online. Officials will start mailing paper copies the same day.

The deadline for homeowners to submit an application requesting the city reconsider their property assessment is Friday. So far, Philadelphia has received 16,949 First-Level Review requests, roughly 3% of the properties eligible to file, according to city data.

The deadline has passed to file a formal appeal with the city’s Board of Revision of Taxes.

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