Updated Feb. 10

The amount of property tax you owe could actually be lower next year.

The confusion around what you might have to pay is compounded by the way Philly does assessments, which local business leaders have called haphazard as the city tries to catch up with decades of undervalued properties.

Philly’s Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation has been slowly and surely upgrading the city’s web presence, turning a formerly clunky site into one that’s mobile friendly and doesn’t slow browsers to a crawl.

This week, the city rolled out a streamlined widget on its “Property” page that allows you to calculate your estimated real estate owed for 2019.

The new web app is surprisingly nimble for a municipal product — and also extremely timely and useful. Homeowners are looking at no fewer three potential factors that could make their amount owed different from the previous year.

  • New assessments (new valuations for many properties were mailed out last month — use this map to check how your neighbors assessments changed)
  • Increased tax rate (Mayor Kenney’s proposed FY2019 budget would up the base tax rate 4.1 percent, boosting it from 1.3998 percent to 1.4572 percent)
  • Increased homestead exemption (Kenney’s proposed budget also increases the allowed exemption from $30,000 to $45,000)

The widget can take all of those factors into account, and spit out raw numbers that let you directly see how they’ll affect your wallet.

In certain cases, it turns out, taxes owed might even go down despite the higher rate or new assessed value, because of the bigger exemption.

Per the city’s math, the owner of an $128,000 home (approximately the median for Philly) who received an assessment that increased the value less than $11,200, would end up paying less.

Some reddit commenters also ran math, and determined the “break even” point. If your home value is is $410, 801 or lower, and you claim the homestead exemption, you’ll pay less in taxes next year.

That’s assuming all of the mayor’s proposed changes are enacted. City Council is currently holding hearings on the budget, which will apply to the fiscal year starting July 1.

Meanwhile, local business leaders are . Uncertainty surrounding when a property will be revalued is spooking developers and investors, business leaders told PlanPhilly, and softening an already-tenuous office leasing market.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...