PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City Hall’s new top property assessor has told 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 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.

“We do have an awful lot of properties that are exempt.”

She wants to drill deeper. McKeithen says 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.”

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

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio

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