By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are extending the deadline for homeowners to apply for the new homestead exemption, and they’re trying to get the application into more homes.
Mayor Nutter and city council members have agreed to extend the Homestead Exemption application deadline from July 31st until September 13th. They’re concerned because only about two-thirds of those eligible have applied, and they’re hoping that all those eligible would take part.
Anna Wallace Adams, Chief of Staff to the Finance Director, told a council committee that the Office of Property Assessment is expanding its outreach efforts by including the brochure in water bills… and perhaps even report cards:
“We’re working in partnership with the School District to find ways that we can actually include the same flyers in the report cards for all children in the district. We’re trying to work out the logistics to see if we can print it and get it out in time to go in the report cards.”
Adams said OPA also plans a more direct message:
“The feedback that we’re getting is that even the word ‘Homestead Exemption’ is a complicated term. So we’re changing the language on the form to say, ‘Do you want a discount on your real estate tax? This will save you money.”
The Homestead program would exempt up to $30,000 of property value from the tax, though Council and the mayor have yet to settle on a precise exemption. The elected officials view the Homestead program as a key form of relief for those who may be hit hard by the shift to the assessment system, the Actual Value Initiative.
Owners who live in their property are eligible, and officials put that number at about 340,000. More info at 215-686-9200, or at www.phila.gov/opa