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Philadelphia Named Most Tax Delinquent City

August 22nd

Philadelphia has officially been declared the most tax delinquent big city in the nation, with more than $471 million in unpaid principal taxes, penalties and interest owed to the city and school district. In Philadelphia one in five property owners are also behind on their property taxes.

There are currently an estimated 110,000 delinquent properties in the city, with an average debt of $4,249. The average tax delinquency period at present is 6.5 years. These properties are not even confined to one area of the city, but rather can be found all over Philadelphia. However, the greatest concentrations can be found in impoverished neighborhoods such as north and southwest Philadelphia.

Tax delinquent properties include everything from mansions on Philadelphia’s pricey Delancey Street and hotels to thousands of vacant lots and homes in the city’s lowest income neighborhoods.

No other big city in the United States even comes close to these numbers.

A Decades-old Problem Grows Worse

The problem of tax debt delinquency in Philadelphia is not a new one. In fact, it is a decades-old issue that has only grown worse in recent years. Though there are 26,330 properties that have been tax delinquent for ten or more years, the past three years have seen the overall number and the total amount owed rise by 10 percent.

Tax sales, generally considered to be the final option for tax enforcement, have slowed to almost none in recent years. Last year there were just 583 tax sales, compared to 1,440 three years ago.


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