Owners of tax-exempt properties in Philadelphia have begun receiving requests from the Office of Property Assessment (the OPA), required by City Council Ordinance 130123, to submit information to allow the OPA to verify that each exempt property in the City should remain exempt from real estate taxes. The deadline for every property owner to respond is March 31, 2015.

The OPA advised that although the form indicates that tax exemptions beginning in 2015 will be affected by the response, the form is wrong: It applies to exemptions for the tax year beginning January 1, 2016. A form must be submitted for each exempt tax parcel and requires submission of:

  • An explanation of how the property is used and by whom
  • Owner's articles of incorporation and bylaws, including all amendments
  • Owner's IRS letter of determination that it is exempt from income under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)
  • Owner's most recent income and expense statements
  • Current statement of assets and liabilities/balance sheet
  • Most recent IRS Form 990
  • Statement of fundraising activities conducted
  • A list of rents and copies of any leases for the subject property
  • Recorded deed for the subject property

The OPA has also advised that

  1. if an owner is unable to provide a complete form by March 31, the owner should submit the form along with all available documents, including any documents updated since the property's initial tax exemption application, and advise the OPA that the balance of the documents will be submitted shortly thereafter; and
  2. owners of multiple tax-exempt properties may submit a single set of organizational documents for all of the parcels they own along with the required property-specific items.

Even if you did not receive a notice, you should submit a form and relevant information to the OPA. Please see the attached notice and form. If you need assistance, please contact Philip B. Korb at 215.864.8709 or korb@ballardspahr.com, Wendi L. Kotzen at 215.864.8305 or kotzenw@ballardspahr.com, Christopher Jones at 215.864.8424 or jonesc@ballardspahr.com, or Richard J. Slavin at 215.864.8876 or slavinr@ballardspahr.com.

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This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

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