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Changes to property-tax system can be confusing, city wants to help

Major changes to the city's property-tax system are on the way and you probably have tons of questions about the process.

And the city gets that. So, the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) is offering informational sessions on Mayor Nutter's plan to move to a new property tax system based on market values known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI).

Organizations, service clubs, community groups and places of worship can request to have a city representative make a presentation before the respective group on the reassessment process and the Homestead Exemption program which will provide some relief to homeowners under AVI. Go to the this website to find out how to set up an appointment.

"People representing various groups should call and we will try to accommodate as many as we can," said Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald, adding that so far OPA has done 25 presentations.

Mayor Nutter recently released preliminary data that showed the total value of the city's properties is $96 billion and the administration is looking at a 1.3 percent tax rate without a homestead exemption or a 1.4 percent tax rate with a $30,000 homestead exemption. The rate could change if City Council adds on more protections for homeowners.

We're sure you're all wondering how this will impact you, right? Well the city has not yet released detailed data on how the changes will affect various neighborhoods. That information will be available in the coming weeks. But those living in gentrifying areas can expect to see their tax bills increase and those who have been over paying in some neighborhoods will see their tax bills drop.

In the meantime, if you have a calculator handy and an idea of how much your house is worth, you can estimate what your tax bill will be.

If for instance, your home is worth $250,000 with a 1.4 percent tax rate and a $30,000 homestead exemption, your tax bill will be $3,080. Under those same circumstances anyone with homes worth $150,000 and $75,000 will have tax bills of $1,680 and $630.

Without a homestead exemption and at a 1.3 percent tax rate, the owner of a house worth $250,000 will have a tax bill of $3,250. And owners of houses worth $150,000 and $75,000 would get tax bills of $1,950 and $975.

Look out in February for your reassessments which should be arriving in the mail then.