BRT sets deadline to apply for real estate assessment appeals

Anyone who is appealing a real estate assessment with the Board of Revision of Taxes should keep an eye on the mail.

The BRT began notifying some taxpayers that they won’t get their hearings before the body unless they confirm in writing that they want those hearings — by July 31.

Carla Pagan, the BRT’s executive director, said the agency began mailing the notices to a few hundred taxpayers on July 1. They were sent to people who got Homestead Exemptions on their properties and were appealing the new assessments they received in spring 2013.

The Homestead Exemption allows owners who live in their homes to shave $30,000 off their assessments for tax purposes. If a house is assessed at $130,000 and the owner has the exemption, the owner will pay city real estate taxes on just $100,000. The savings amount to about $400.

A Northeast Times reader supplied the paper with a copy of the BRT letter he received. He said it was dated June 30, but mailed on July 16. He received it this week.

In the letter, taxpayers who are appealing their assessments are asked if they knew their 2014 taxes are going down, and that, in light of that, do they still want to have oral hearings before the BRT. The letter further states that, if the taxpayers don’t confirm they still want their hearings in writing, their cases will be handled administratively by the agency. Taxpayers are told they can appeal any BRT decisions they don’t like in court.

In an email to the paper, Pagan characterized the response as “quiet.”

Anyone who has any concerns should call BRT at 215–686–9283, according to Pagan. “We answer our phones and care about property owners’ needs being met,” she wrote.

Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said today that he thought the letter was one way the BRT is trying to handle its backlog of appeals. He said he didn’t think BRT would give anyone trouble about getting a hearing if the deadline were missed.

“I think they’ll be generous,” he said. ••