What is the real estate tax abatement program in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia City Council and the Mayor have passed several Ordinances that provide economic incentives to encourage development and redevelopment of real estate in the City. These incentives are in the form of tax abatements or deferrals of the City real estate taxes on properties. They are mostly intended to encourage development of residential properties, either new or rehabilitated, although some programs exist for other types of properties. If a property and owner qualify for such a program, the real estate taxes applicable to the increased value attributed to the improvements are abated for a period of up to 10 years. Taxes must still be paid on the value of the land and the original unimproved property. While this is a great benefit, it is not automatic. An application for such abatement programs must be timely filed, and certain requirements must be met initially and annually. Interested developers or property owners should get legal advice about these complex programs.