There’s breaking news in Philadelphia about a new construction tax that has been proposed. As we wait for more details on this tax, we thought we would educate you on what we know about the tax so far, and about two other important pieces of legislation which impact construction in Philadelphia. Each piece of legislation is closely tied to one another.
Construction Impact Tax
The Construction Impact Tax was announced as a proposed tax today at 2:00 pm. The tax would levy a 1% fee on all projects- commercial office, apartment conversions, retail developments, etc.- that qualify for the city’s 10-year tax abatement. A developer would pay the tax on the cost of construction and it would be paid once a building permit is issued. The money collected from this tax would be funneled into the Housing Trust Fund that both for-profit and not-for-profit developers could use to build affordable and workforce housing. It would also be used for a down payment assistance program that would be formed a later date. The goal of this tax is to strengthen Philadelphia’s middle class as affordable housing has become more of a problem as more neighborhoods become gentrified.
Mixed-Income Housing Bill
The Mixed-Income Housing Bill was proposed last fall by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez. The bill proposed an inclusionary zoning mandate on portions of Center City. Meaning that if a developer builds a project within a certain area, the development would have to incorporate affordable housing or pay a fee that would go into the Housing Trust Fund. This bill was met with opposition and fear that a mandate would have a halting effect on investors and therefore development activity in Philadelphia. This bill will now be amended; the mandate will become optional and developers will receive certain bonuses on projects if they meet mixed-income housing requirements.
10-year Tax Abatement Program
The 10-year tax abatement program states that if an owner makes physical improvements to a piece of real estate in Philadelphia, the owner does not have to pay additional taxes on the value of those improvements for ten years. This program is particularly beneficial for new construction. The owner of a newly built and abated property only pays taxes on the value of the land (and not on the value of the structure) for the first ten years after the property has been developed.