Philadelphia, PA - Street teams from the Department of Revenue are knocking on thousands of doors in Philadelphia this summer to share information about City programs that save homeowners money on their Real Estate Taxes.
The street team initiative targets neighborhoods that have experienced increases in property assessments and have lower rates of enrollment in relief programs. The teams will also set-up resource tables in high-traffic areas such as grocery stores.
Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin said, “Real Estate Tax relief programs save homeowners millions of dollars a year, and we know some of our most vulnerable residents are missing out. This a time to reach people, and we expect this project will demonstrate that evidence-based, data-driven outreach efforts increase enrollment.”
The street teams are focused on three programs:
- Senior Tax Freeze – for low-income senior citizens, this program “freezes” Real Estate Tax bills. Property assessment or tax rates can go up, but the tax due stays the same for as long as you stay in your home. The deadline to apply to lock in 2018 rates is September 13, 2018.
- OOPA – if homeowners have property taxes that are past due, the Owner-Occupied Payment Agreement allows them to pay delinquent taxes through affordable, monthly installments. No down payment is required and plans as low as $0 a month are available. There is no deadline to apply.
- Homestead –the Homestead Exemption saves the typical homeowner about $550 every year on their Real Estate Tax. There are no income or age requirements, but applicants must live on the property. Homeowners who already have the exemption don’t need to do anything. New applications are due September 13, 2018.
This pilot is another in a line of outreach methods the Department has tested to improve response rates from taxpayers. This spring and summer, Revenue is testing outreach strategies that include mail, texting, and in-person office hours to engage citizens who are eligible, but not enrolled in a payment plan. The Department of Revenue continues to use techniques including behavioral science and trauma-informed care to reduce poverty and improve housing stability by delivering tax relief to homeowners.