Philly City Council considers tax abatement transfer

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 Philadelphia City Council members hear testimony on a proposal to extend a homeowners tax break to  children who live in, and then inherit, the family home. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Council members hear testimony on a proposal to extend a homeowners tax break to children who live in, and then inherit, the family home. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia has a property tax break for longtime homeowners. Now City Council is working to transfer that break to children who live in, and then inherit, the family home.

Although Elaine Cooley lived with her mother, her name wasn’t on the home’s title. After her mother died and Cooley inherited the house, she said her property taxes quadrupled because she didn’t qualify for the break given to longtime owner occupants.

“I love where I live … I’m a part of the community, I’m active in the community,” she said. “And I think it is very unfair for a lot of people to be forced out because of the tax issues.”

Councilman William Greenlee said he’s seen the issue play out in his neighborhood.

“Where people have lived in the house for a long time, where the parent died sometime maybe a year or two ago but have been paying the bills for a long time,” he said. “The property might not be in their name.”

It’s a big problem in gentrifying neighborhoods, Greenlee said.

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