New City Program: Help for Homeowners Having Trouble Paying Property Taxes

On the heels of Pennsylvania being rated one of the worst states for homeowners in debt, the City of Philadelphia announces some compassionate help for those with past due and delinquent real estate taxes. This isn’t a program to help tax scofflaws who own vacant properties, don’t pay taxes, and leave them to rot and create blight. It’s for people who live in their homes but are financially strapped. It’s called The Owner-Occupied Real Estate Payment Agreement and it allows homeowners to make installment arrangements.

Here’s how the city is breaking it down:

Using a family of four as an example:

Tier 1: Monthly income is $4,622 and up.  These households must pay the full amount of past due real estate taxes, including interest and penalties.  Monthly payment amounts are at the discretion of the Revenue Department.


Tier 2: Monthly income is $3,301 - $4621. These households must pay 10% of their monthly household income. They are entitled to a waiver of 100% of the penalties that have accrued.

Tier 3:  Monthly income is $1,981 - $3,300. These households must pay 8% of their monthly household income.  They are entitled to a waiver of 50% of the interest and 100% of the penalties that have accrued.

Tier 4:  Monthly income is $0 - $1,980. These households must pay 5% of their monthly income but no less than $25 per month. They are entitled to a waiver of 100% of the interest and 100% of the penalties that have accrued on the account.

Department of Revenue Commissioner Clarena Tolson said in a statement: “We understand that there are times when a person needs a fresh start to get their financial obligations in order. This program gives them that help and more importantly, it helps them to remain in their homes.”

That's certainly an improvement over Pennsylvania's F grade of keeping people in debt in their homes.

To apply for the program, residents can visit the Revenue Department’s website at www.phila.gov/revenue for an application or visit the Department of Revenue at Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Blvd., Concourse level. Applicants should bring proof of income to apply.

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