The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) has simplified the process for owners of tax-exempt real estate in Philadelphia to recertify that their properties are, in fact, tax-exempt. The OPA's original notices to property owners required property owners to submit significant documentation, including the deed for each tax-exempt parcel, organizational documents, recent financial statements, and tax returns.

On March 20, 2015, the OPA changed the recertification requirements, preempting City Council, where legislation had been introduced to make the process easier.  First, the deadline for submission to the OPA has been extended from March 31, 2015, to June 1, 2015. Second, an owner of tax-exempt property need only submit a copy of the OPA form with answers to the questions on the front and a copy of its IRS Determination Letter confirming the organization's status as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Organizations can ignore the lengthy list of documents requested on the back of the form (other than the IRS Determination Letter).

The OPA's new procedure will dramatically reduce the burden on most nonprofit organizations. However, each owner still is required to describe how it uses each of its properties and to disclose whether it receives any income from each of its properties.

If your organization owns tax-exempt property in Philadelphia, you should complete the form for each individual tax parcel owned as described above. Even if you did not receive a notice, you should submit a form and relevant information to the OPA. If you need assistance, please contact Philip B. Korb at 215.864.8709 or, Wendi L. Kotzen at 215.864.8305 or, or Richard J. Slavin at 215.864.8876 or 

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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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