Senior citizens can freeze real estate tax increases

Senior citizens who meet income requirements can fend off property tax increases by applying for “the senior freeze” by Oct. 14.

Single senor citizens with incomes of $23,500 or less, or married couples with incomes of $31,500 or less, can keep real estate taxes from going up due to changes in property assessments or tax rates. For information, call 215–686–6442 or e-mail revenue@phila.gov.

Only about 11,000 eligible households have applied for this form of tax relief, City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said during a March 1 phone interview. He said he suspects many more people are eligible.

“A lot of seniors are eligible and probably don’t realize it,” he said.

About 200,000 people already have applied for the Homestead Exemption, which, if approved again this year by City Council, will subtract $30,000 from an owner-occupied property’s assessed value before property taxes are computed.

O’Neill introduced a bill last week that would make a senior freeze application an automatic application for the homestead exemption.

Some of the same information needed in a homestead application is required in the senior freeze form, he said. Fourteen council members co-sponsored O’Neill’s bill, he said.

Homestead applications must be filed by July 31. For information, call 215–686–9200 or visit www.phila.gov/opa. ••