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New Assessment Chief Promises More Checks Of Tax-Exempt Properties

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Richie McKeithen (right) and staff address Philadelphia City Council in April, 2011. (Credit: Steve Tawa)

Richie McKeithen (right) and staff address Philadelphia City Council in April, 2011. (Credit: Steve Tawa)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Hall’s new top property assessor tells City Council members that his evaluators will make sure tax-exempt properties are checked more frequently, to make sure they are what they advertise.

Chief Assessment Officer Richie McKeithen (pictured, right) of the Office of Property Assessment says of the nearly 588,000 parcels of property in Philadelphia, nearly 25,000 are fully tax exempt, including charitable, educational, hospital and religious properties.

Another 16,000 properties are partially exempt. The total market value of exempt property is more than $17-billion. Council President Anna Verna shook her head and said, “We do have an awful lot of properties that are exempt.”

She wants to drill deeper.

McKeithen said that will happen, “Our goal is to audit all of them at least once every three years.”

Councilman Curtis Jones also wants to make sure that some aren’t unfairly using a non-profit cover to shield themselves.

“There are some institutions that will go nameless at this point that have a non-profit shell, and everything inside of them operates in a for profit manner. We’re losing revenue,” Jones said.

The total market value of taxable property in Philadelphia is about $38-billion.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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