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Old City District Assessments

OCD funds its operations primarily through assessments on taxable commercial properties within the district. Under this Plan, as authorized by the Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act of 1945, 53 Pa. C.S.§ 5601 et seq., OCD will collect assessments from commercial property owners on an annual basis. OCD bases its assessments of real estate on the assessed value for real estate tax purposes without reduction for any tax abatements, homestead exclusions, or similar reductions to assessed value. 

What is the Old City Special Services District Assessment? 

Old City District (OCD) was established by ordinance of Philadelphia City Council in 1998, with the support of the commercial property owners within its boundaries, and in accordance with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Municipality Authorities Act of 1945, 53 Pa. C.S. § 5601 et seq. In November 2018, the City of Philadelphia authorized a 20-year extension, through the year 2038. 

Why is my property charged an assessment? 

Every property owner with a taxable property assessment within our District boundaries receives an assessment bill on an annual basis. This assessment is due annually for all commercial properties within OCD’s boundaries and is used to fund OCD programs. OCD supplements, rather than replaces, the services of the municipal government -- helping businesses be successful, visitors to enjoy their experience here and residents to maintain a high quality of life. 

Who must pay the Old City Special Services District Assessment? 

The Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act, the District’s enabling law, allows the District to impose an annual assessment on each commercial property within the service area. As an owner of property within the District, you are obligated to pay this charge. A commercial property is defined as any property that is not used by the record owner (as identified on the deed) exclusively as his or her primary legal residence or domicile. 

I’m a residential property owner, do I still have to pay? 

Only owner-occupied residential properties that have submitted a Residential Property Exemption Notification to the District may be exempt from the assessment. To see if your property is eligible for this exemption or a copy of the application, please email [email protected]


  • An “owner-occupant” is defined as an owner of a single-family home or residential condominium unit separately assessed for real estate tax purposes, used by the owner exclusively as his or her legal residence or domicile, or the resident of a cooperative unit that is used exclusively as his or her legal residence or domicile. 
    • An “owner-occupant” must be the record owner of the property as listed on the recorded deed. 
    • A “condominium” is real estate that is in the condominium form of ownership pursuant to the Pennsylvania Unit Property Act (Act of July 3, 1963, P.L. 196) or the Uniform Condominium act (Act of July 2, 1980, P.L. 286) as amended. 
    • A “cooperative” is a property owned by a non-profit corporation (a “cooperative corporation”) whose shareholders (“cooperative shareholders”) are entitled, by reason of their ownership interests in the cooperative corporation, to lease and occupy the unit to which the shares of stock have been allocated. 
    • “Legal residence” means a person’s domicile. A person may have only one legal residence. It is generally where his/her family actually resides. 
    • “Domicile” means the place where a person has his/her true, fixed and permanent home and principal establishment, and to which whenever that person is absent he/she has the intention of returning. 

When is my assessment charge due? 

The 2024 assessments are due March 31, 2024. 

If this statement is not paid when due, additional interest and penalties will be added thereto at a rate of 1.5% per month, or a fraction of a month, from March 31, until the statement is paid in full. Other legal action may be taken, including filing municipal liens against your property. 

Where can I pay for my assessment? 

We offer three ways to pay: 

  1. You can pay online through our third-party vendor MuniciPAY. Fees are 2.75% for credit card transactions ($3.00 minimum) or $1.50 for an ACH debit. If you owe assessment charges for multiple properties in our District, you can add all properties to your cart and checkout once. 

    NOTE: To pay the $1.50 ACH debit fee, you will need to switch to the “Pay with E-Check” option at checkout. Please enter your bank account number and 9-digit routing number carefully. Any typo will result in a $25 returned deposit fee. 


  2. You can mail your payment to our office at 231 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Make checks payable to “Old City Special Services District”.
    1. Write your property address or parcel ID on the check. 
    2. If you received a paper bill, include the bill’s stub in your mailing. 
    3. If you use our enclosed envelope, be sure to affix first-class postage to the envelope. 
  3.  You can pay in person at our office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. 

How is my assessment calculated? 

Annual assessment charges are computed by multiplying that portion of the district's annual budget attributed to assessments (2024 total = $1,197,369) by a ratio of the assessed value of your property to the total assessed valuation of all the commercial properties in the district (2024 total = $1,504,496,935).

 The assessment for each property is calculated as follows: 

(1) Divide the total assessed value of the property for that tax year by the total assessed value for all commercial properties within the district. 

(2) Multiply the result from (1) by that portion of the annual budget for the district attributed to assessments by OCD. The result from (2) is the property's annual assessment. 

District assessments will be calculated annually using the most recent certified values as provided by the Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment (OPA). 


Is this assessment the same as Philadelphia real estate taxes?

 No. The special assessments charged by municipal authorities are different and separate from your Philadelphia real estate taxes. You will not receive our assessment bills through the Philadelphia Revenue Department, and you will not be able to provide payments to us through them either. 

My assessment is under appeal or has been reduced on appeal; is this reflected in my assessment bill? 

If the certifiable taxable assessed value of your property is reduced on appeal, the District will allow a credit against this property’s next annual charge only if a request for a credit stemming from the certified reduction in the property valuation is received within the calendar year to which it applies. You may send the requests by mail to our office or by email to [email protected].

 I haven’t received my bill. What should I do? 

The 2024 Statement of Charges Assessed for the Old City Special Services District was mailed out at the beginning of January 2024. If you have yet to receive a statement and would like a copy emailed to you directly, you can submit a request at [email protected]

Can I get a receipt for my payment? Upon request, we can provide no-charge receipts to property owners for payment of assessments via email. Please send your request for a receipt to our email [email protected].

Old City District 5 Year Plan 2023-2028