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By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Want to lower your real estate taxes? Who doesn’t! Well if you live in Philadelphia, now’s your chance. As 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan explains all you have to do is fill out a form.

For the first time ever Philadelphia is offering what’s known as a homestead exemption. The city will knock $30,000 off of what they think your home is worth.

Which in the end will lower your tax bill. But you have to act in order for that to happen.

The Homestead Exemption offered by Philadelphia allows residential property owners to shave $30,000 off the value of a primary residence.

“It’s the property that the person actually lives in that is the property you apply for an exemption form,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.

For example if the city values your home at $100,000 and you qualify for the $30,000 homestead exemption, then the amount used to calculate your property tax bill will drop down to $70,000.

“There are no age limitations, there are no income limitations so with that everyone should really apply,” said Mayor Nutter.

That goes for owners of homes, condo’s, co-ops, even those with tax abatements.

Well over 300,000 properties qualify for the homestead exemption, yet only around 210,000 applications have been received so far!

The easiest way to apply is online. All you have to do is supply the owners name, address and the property’s tax account number , otherwise known as OPA number, which can be also be found online.

As long as property owners apply by tomorrow the $30,000 will appear on tax notices that go out in February.

While the paperwork is needed now so the city can process the forms. The actual tax savings don’t kick in until 2014. But you don’t want to put this off.
If for some reason you delay, as long as it is in by July you may still qualify. But it won’t show up on the February tax notices. It’s best to do that now so in
February, you will have confirmation that it went through.

For more information, visit http://www.phila.gov

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