Philadelphia Decoded

Accessible, User - Friendly Law for All People

§ 2-305 Office of Property Assessment; Chief Assessment Officer; Powers and Duties.

(1) Beginning with assessments made in calendar year 2011 and thereafter, the Office of Property Assessment shall make and supervise the making of all assessments and valuations of all subjects of real property taxation.

(2) Except as Council may ordain from time to time, the Chief Assessment Officer shall: 13.1 Amended, Bill No. 130443-A (approved September 6, 2013).13.1

(a) Make or supervise the making of all assessments and valuations of all subjects of taxation in accordance with law, ordinance, and industry standards.

(b) Ensure the annual revisions and equalization of all such assessments and valuations.

(c) Certify all assessments after their revision and equalization.

(d) Promulgate and make available on the Citys official website Assessment Standards and Practices Regulations that with respect to assessments made in calendar year 2011 and thereafter:

(i) Set forth a methodology for the valuation of properties for taxation purposes. The methodology employed shall be made available to the public, including an explanation of the extent to which the methodology employed conforms to nationally recognized assessment standards such as those approved by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) for mass appraisals of real property. The Government of the District of Columbias documentAppraisers Reference Materials,” attached as Appendix1,” shall serve as a point of reference. 13.2 Note: Exhibits to Bill No. 130443-A are on file in the Office of the Chief Clerk.13.2

(ii) Set standards for property assessments that shall include, at a minimum, an acceptable limit on the deviation of the Common Level Ratio from the Predetermined Ratio, an acceptable limit on the Coefficient of Dispersion, and an acceptable range for the Price-Related Differential. The measurements against the standards shall be calculated following nationally recognized practices.

(iii) Require an annual reassessment through a professionally developed and maintained Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system.

(iv) Require that the annual reassessment be applied to all properties, including tax exempt properties, public utility property, and residential trailers.

(v) Establish standards for recommending tax exemption for properties.

(vi) Establish procedures for changing values on an administrative basis (for example, in the event of catastrophic loss or errors in data).

(e) Publish annually on the Citys official website the results of assessment-sales ratio studies for different types of real property for the entire City, and for different types of real property within each of the geographic areas utilized in making assessments. This report shall be in a format substantially similar to the document issued by the Government of the District of Columbia entitledAssessment Ratio Report,” attached as Appendix2.” A copy of this publication shall be delivered to the Mayor, President and Chief Clerk of Council by May 1st. 13.3 Note: Exhibits to Bill No. 130443-A are on file in the Office of the Chief Clerk.13.3

(f) Ensure access to public records regarding assessments in accordance with applicable law, and see to it that such records are made available on the Citys official website.

(g) Ensure that notices of changes in assessments shall be sent to the Revenue Department upon their certification.

(h) Serve as the Citys contact for information and complaints, other than appeals, about assessment policies and practices.

(i) Ensure that annual revisions and equalizations are done in accordance with law, ordinance, and industry standards.

(j) Be responsible for the numbering of all buildings, houses, condominiums, or other structures located within the City, in accordance with applicable law or ordinance.

(k) Ensure the establishment and maintenance of records of an adequate description of properties to assist in the determination of the value of those properties, and to permit inspection thereof by the public at all times during office hours.

(l) Consider and determine applications for tax abatement and tax exemption. 13.4 Amended, Bill No. 130123 (approved June 25, 2013).13.4

(.1) The Chief Assessment Officer shall only grant an exemption for a purely public charity or otherwise under Section 204 of the General County Assessment Law, Act of 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204, with respect to real property:

(A) In which the exempt entity has legal or equitable title;

(B) From which the exempt entity derives no income other than from the recipients of the bounty of the exempt entity; and

(C) That is occupied, and actually and regularly used, for the purpose or purposes which entitled the exempt entity to such exemption, and only with respect to such portion of the real property that is used for such purposes.

(.2) To the extent inconsistent with the foregoing, the provisions of Section 204(a)(11), (13) of the General County Assessment Law, Act of 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204 (relating to libraries and fire and rescue stations), shall control.

(.3) An exempt entity shall annually file with the Office of Property Assessment a sworn statement, in form satisfactory to the Chief Assessment Officer and accompanied by such documentation as may be necessary, certifying:

(A) Its continued status as a purely public charity.

(B) With respect to all property for which exemption is claimed, the uses to which the property is put and how those uses further the purpose or purposes which entitle the entity to the exemption.

(C) The portion of exempt property used for such purposes.

(.4) Any claim of additional property or additional portion of property subject to exemption shall require an additional application to the Chief Assessment Officer.

(m) Ensure the defense of assessed values.

(n) Maintain a register which shall show the present valuation and assessment of all real property and, from time to time as the same are made, all additions thereto and changes thereof, together with the name of all persons responsible for any changes in the assessment or valuation of any such property and reason for such changes.

(o) Receive from the Department of Records a report of every deed or conveyance of land entered in the office for recording, which record shall set forth the following information: the recording date of the deed or conveyance; the names of the grantor and grantee in the deed; the consideration paid; the location of the property; and such additional information about the propertys condition and characteristics as the Office of Property Assessment shall require in order to support its data collection requirements for accurate property valuation. It shall be the further duty of the Department of Records at intervals to file such reports in the Office of Property Assessment together with a certificate appended thereto that such record is correct.

(p) Maintain an on-line database which includes, at a minimum, the following information about each property within the City: the characteristics of the property; ownership information; certified values for the last five (5) years, showing the baseline assessment of the property as well as the effect of any changes based on an exemption or abatement; tax information, including the propertys real estate tax and tax balances; zoning designation; and the existence of special conditions or certifications regarding the property, including whether the property is subject to any historical designations.

(q) Perform such other duties as may be assigned or delegated by the Mayor.

(r) Have all powers and duties of the former Board of Revision of Taxes not assigned by this Chapter to the Board of Property Assessment Appeals.

(s) At least once every three years, beginning with the year 2014, undergo an audit by an independent firm in which the firm will complete a statistical analysis of the performance of the appraisers and the accuracy of the property assessment in order to ensure a uniform and accurate system of property taxation. The Council shall, by separate ordinance, name the firm to be engaged for this purpose, which shall be selected pursuant to the procedure set forth in Chapter 17-1400 for the awarding of non-competitively bid contracts. The individuals supervising or conducting the audit must collectively possess the following qualifications: certification in real estate appraisal valuation by an organization belonging to The Appraisal Foundation or comparable organization; a current Certified General Appraiser License; at least three years of recent experience performing mass appraisal work for a jurisdiction where assessments are performed at least once every ten years; and at least three years of recent experience performing assessment-sales ratio studies, using standards approved by the IAOO. The final audit, including responses by the Office of Property Assessment, if any, shall be submitted to the Mayor, President and Chief Clerk of Council.

(t) Publish annually all policies and procedures provided by the Department of Records to the Office of Property Assessment for maintaining and allowing public inspection and use of records that are necessary for the current exercise of the powers and the current performance of the duties of the Office of Property Assessment as required by Section 5-1101(b) of the Charter.

(u) Make underlying supporting data, documentation, methodology and any other information used to certify each property assessment publicly available by May 1.

Comments