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Slicing $402 Off Next Year's Property Tax Bill is Really Easy

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If you're a Philly homeowner, you've probably heard your councilperson, your block captain, your mayor, and your neighbor talk about the Homestead Exemption by now. But really, if you live in a home you own, you can save $402 in less than ten minutes.

The homestead exemption slices $30,000 off of your property's assessed value, and since the new, simplified property tax formula is just the assessed value multiplied by the tax rate (which, for 2014 is 1.34%), the homestead exemption means an extra $402 in homeowners' pockets.

The city has also made it pretty easy to apply for the exemption. You do need to look up your property's OPA (Office of Property Assessment), account number, but that's not a huge hurdle, especially since the OPA website lets you look the number up by typing in your address,(or the intersection, or the block.) Once you have the OPA account number, it's pretty easy to fill out the Homestead Exemption application. If you know:

· The names of all owners
· The address
· The aforementioned OPA Account Number
· Your mailing address
· Your phone number
· Your email address
· Whether or not your property is part of a co-op, and if so, what percentage of taxes are paid co-operatively
· Whether you use a portion of your home as a business (if you claim part of your house as a home office on your taxes, this portion counts as a business,) and if so, what percentage of your home is a business.

That's it! If your home is part of a co-op, or if you do have a home business, the process is slightly more complicated, but it's pretty easy either way. There's an online application form, printable application forms available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and a phone hotline available (the number is 215-686-9200).