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Philadelphia City Council is weighing legislation that would retroactively extend the deadline for a program that provides property tax relief for homeowners with low-to-moderate incomes.
The deadline for the Longtime Owner Occupants Program, commonly known as LOOP, is Saturday. If the measure passes, homeowners would have until January 31, 2024, to apply for tax year 2023.
“I introduced this bill so we could learn more about the program, inform the community, and extend the deadline to make sure as many people can sign up for this tax relief program as possible,” said City Councilmember Quetcy Lozada in a statement after Thursday’s session.
LOOP is designed to prevent displacement in swiftly gentrifying neighborhoods by permanently locking in property values for qualifying homeowners.
Under the program, a homeowner’s reassessment value can be capped at 150% of the previous year’s value. For example, if a home was assessed at $100,000 in 2022, the property value in 2023 could not exceed $150,000.
Homeowners can also opt to have their property value permanently frozen at 175% of the lowest assessment issued during the previous five years. Council approved the new lookback provision last year. It applies to property assessments for tax year 2023 and beyond.
To qualify for LOOP, applicants must:
- Have lived in your home for at least 10 years
- Be a homeowner whose primary residence’s assessment increased by 50% from last year or 75% over the last five years
- Be current with your property taxes or have a payment plan
- Have an income that falls below the program’s limits. For a family of four, that limit is $137,250.
The program is capped at $35 million.
Homeowners cannot sign up for LOOP if they are enrolled in the Homestead Exemption program and vice-versa.
The homestead program now enables residents to deduct $80,000 from their property value before property taxes are calculated, which could lower their bill by about $1,119 each year. The exemption was previously valued at $45,000, which saved homeowners about $629 annually.