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Here in Washington state - property taxes are due twice a year - first installment is due on April 30th and second installment is due on October 31st.  Every time we hear a story of property prices are falling - the same question prevails: What does it mean for my property taxes? The short answer is it does not have any immediate impact on your property tax bill. 

What happen in current year is you or your mortgage company (depending whether you have an impound account or not) will receive the first half of your current property tax bill sometime in February. The first thing to know is that county assessors by law peg your tax bill to your home's value determined from about one year ago since they need the full year to go around figuring out the values of all 715,000 parcels in the county. That means the bill you will receive in February of every year will reflect the assessed value of your house as of Jan 1st of the prior year.  So by the time you receive your first installment notice - the property value of your assessed home is about 16 months old.  

Well - how about the following year? Will the softening market reduce tax bill then? Not necessarily (disappointing isn't it?).  According to the Assessor's Office - changing in home values are the least impactful ingredient in the changes to the stew they use to set property bill.  The actual process of how property tax bill is calculated is a bit confusing. Essentially, the assessor calculates how much money each public agency (from cities to schools to fire districts) gets property-tax revenue is due then the county works backward to charge property owners a certain amount based on their property's value to generate the total taxes that each property owner pays. Since Washington state does not have state income taxes - our property tax rates are generally higher than states that do have state income taxes.  

Here's an example of how it works: Let's say a school district is due $100 in property-tax revenue this year. There are two properties in the district - a green house worth $250,000 and a blue house worth $750,000. The owner of the green house which has one-fourth the district's total value pays $25 and the blue house pays $75. The next year, the district would be allowed to charge 1 percent more or in this case the green house would pay an extra 25 cents and the blue house another 75 cents. Should the value of the green house catches up (though renovation or upgrades) and becomes worth the same amount as the blue house then the $100 bill would be split evenly.  The county's appraisers usually come out and visit/drive-by each home once every six years to "reset" the home's value.  Thus, you may notice an especially large bump once every six years.  The other years the assessor relies mostly on nearby sales and market values to determine the assessed value.  

In general, those districts by law are not allowed to raise the revenue they generate by more than 1 percent each year. However, voters and public officials can override that cap with special taxes. For example, the voter-approved Sound Transit expansion in 2017 was  a big reason taxes went up in 2017.  

Should you feel that your property was overly assessed by the county, you can appeal your property-tax assessment - though only one-third is successful. If homeowners are 61 or better as of Dec. 31 of the previous year who own a home and make less than $40,000 may qualify for an exemption or deferral as do some disabled homeowners.  Please call County Assessor's office at 206-296-3920 to apply. 






Posted by Sam Kader on January 23rd, 2019 12:27 PM

Increasing property values around the state has caused quite a confusion for first-time homeowners when they were notified by their lenders that their mortgage payment will go up. The main culprit is property taxes for their homes have gone up since last time. 

Home values are determined each year by appraisers who analyze up to 1,000 sales in the same area. Properties are physically inspected once every six years assessing any buildings and the value of the land. The Assessor's Office averages sales over the previous three years so values tend to lag behind the market by at least one year. So, property values for  tax valuation on Jan 1 of the current year is generally due for property taxes payable in the following year. Notices are usually mailed out in June through September for homeowners in Snohomish and King counties. You have the right to appeal within 60 days of receiving those notices.  Pleas
e visit King County Snohomish County , Kitsap County, and Pierce County.

The King County Assessor's office recently introduced a new website to let residents search for their value by address (do not use . after abbreviated terms like "Ave" or "S"). They can look at all the information tax assessors used to value their home including the square footage to improvements to comparable homes in the neighborhood. 

Interested in knowing what your
property is worth?   


 

Posted in:Property Taxes and tagged: Property Taxes
Posted by Sam Kader on April 26th, 2011 8:44 AM

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