Alert: Major Decision Favors Taxpayers
In a significant ruling involving a 2012 tax appeal for a center city commercial property filed by Klehr Harrison, the Board of Revision of Taxes of the City of Philadelphia found that the Common Level Ratio established by the State Tax Equalization Board in the amount of 18.1% of Fair Market Value should be used in determining real estate taxes, rather than the 32% established by the City of Philadelphia. In this case, we argued for our client that the County Assessment Law required utilization of the STEB ratio, as it varied by more than 15% from the City’s established predetermined ratio. The finding of the Board will apply to all cases currently pending for tax year 2012 and will result in substantial tax savings for these property owners.
The City has requested reconsideration by the State Tax Equalization Board and a decision is expected over the next several weeks. However, it seems likely that STEB will not dramatically change the Common Level Ratio for Philadelphia County, as it was based on full and complete data regarding real estate sales at the time it was published last summer.
The decision of the Board of Revision of Taxes today, as well as STEB’s prior finding, should provide additional motivation for the City of Philadelphia to move toward full or actual valuation of all properties as soon as possible. If they do move in that direction, it should assist the City in having more uniform and equitable assessments for all property owners.
For questions or follow-up regarding this client alert, please feel free to call Carl Primavera (215-569-1663) or Nicole Faux (215-569-4539).