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Council Wants To Give A Break To Homeowners Appealing Tax Assessments

(Philadelphia City Hall.  File photo by Tony Hanson)

(Philadelphia City Hall. File photo by Tony Hanson)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Despite the objections of the mayor, City Council committee has given initial approval to a bill that staves off next year’s property tax bill for those who are still in the process of appealing the new assessment.

The tax bills resulting from the citywide reassessment are due next February, but some of the expected appeals may not have been resolved by that point. Councilman Mark Squilla’s bill would allow those owners to pay the past year’s bill rather than the new one, until their appeal is resolved.

“I would believe that we would want to make sure that we protect our residents from inflated bills that aren’t accurate.”

But the Nutter Administration opposes the idea. Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart argued that it will lead to frivolous appeals filed to avoid paying a potentially higher bill:

“It would encourage people who otherwise would not appeal, who don’t feel that they would win, to appeal — because it (amounts to) an interest free loan.”

Council members like Curtis Jones argued that few if any are likely to abuse the provision:

“Councilman Squilla’s bill allows us to err on the side of the taxpayer, to give them the benefit of the doubt.”

Final approval by council is expected next month, setting the stage for a potential veto by the mayor.

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