Delaware County to Conduct Countywide Review of All Tax-Exempt Properties

The Delaware County Courthouse in Media
Image via Delaware County.

Delaware County is reviewing all tax-exempt property designations after several for-profit entities were identified as receiving tax abatement status.

An abatement reduces or eliminates an entities property tax.

The tax exempt list includes the for-profit Ridley Marina, the Springfield Country Club, and the Solid Waste Authority in Marple Township.

The review was announced by Delaware County Council.  

According to a county press release, the county is challenging the exemptions given to each of these organizations.

Had the for-profit businesses been properly assessed, local school districts would have received hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the release.

“One of the reasons the courts ordered the County to reassess every property is because it was clear that over the two decades since the previous assessment, some properties were being incorrectly assessed, leaving others to pick up more than their fair share of the taxes that were due,” said Delaware County Councilwoman Christine Reuther.

“Examples like these — where for-profit companies are being awarded exemptions they don’t qualify for — only increases the burden on middle-class homeowners at the same time it deprives school districts of needed funds for education.”

The County has asked the Assessor’s Office to conduct a community-wide review of all exempt properties in the County over the next two years following confirmation that certain properties were paying significantly lower taxes than they should be, given that some or all of the property is being used in a way that no longer qualifies for exemption.

The Pennsylvania Constitution allows properties to be exempt if it is owned by a “purely public charity” and used for charitable purposes.

Publicly-owned land can also be exempt for the portion that is actually being used by the public.  It is not exempt if the public property is used to operate a for-profit business.

Read the entire county press release here.

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