Turns out that the old adage about death and taxes being the only sure things might be true – but with caveats.  Property tax payments are due soon, so let’s shed a bit of light on this burden.

Property tax makes up about 30% of our state and local taxes and is the revenue that pays for schools, fire protections, libraries, and parks.  Our property taxes are determined by the assessor.  The assessor is required to appraise property at 100% of its true and fair market value according to the highest and best use of the property.  They determine this by using the market or sales comparison approach, the cost approach (what it costs to replace a structure) and/or the income approach.

Property values are re-evaluated each year and a physical inspections is required every 6th year.  If there is a change, you’ll get a change of value notice.  If you disagree with the assessed value, you can contact your local county assessor’s office.  You may obtain a full list at https://dor.wa.gov/taxes-rates/property-tax/county-assessor-and-treasurer-websites.  Disagreements are often resolved at this level, but if not you may file an appeal with the board of equalization at https://dor.wa.gov/get-form-or-publication/forms-subject/property-tax-forms#Make sure to be up to date on deadlines for appeal.  If you don’t agree with this determination, you can take it to the State Board of Tax Appeals.  For a successful appeal, among other things, you must provide market evidence that the assess value does not reflect true and fair market value.

The county treasurer mails your tax bill in February of each year.  In order to avoid penalties and interest, it is important to pay the first half payment by April 30th and the balance by October 31st.  Be sure to include the tax parcel number on your payment and include the payment stub.  If your lender pays the tax for you, the statement is sent directly to the lending company.  Of course, you can call your local county treasurer’s office should you have any questions regarding payment of your property taxes.

Sometimes you can get a little relief.  If your property has been destroyed, or reduced in value by more than 20%, you may be eligible for a reduction.  If you improve your single family residence, you may qualify for a three year exemption on the value of improvements.  Further, some disabled person and senior citizens may also qualify for tax deferral.

If you need more information or details, you may visit https://dor.wa.gov/ or call 360-534-1400.  You may also contact Penny at (206) 618-5123 or email me at Penny@TheOriginalPenny.com.

Serving:  Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Kingston, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Port Ludlow and Ocean Shores.

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