King County Assessor Lloyd Hara would like to remind Renton property owners that today, Feb. 14 is not only Valentine’s Day — It’s also ‘Tax Day.’
By now, all King County residents should have their 2012 property tax bill in hand.
The total aggregate property tax collection in King County is up 1.71 percent in 2012 over 2011, but Renton property owners will see a drop in their property tax bill due to a drop in property valuation, Hara said.
In Renton, the 2010 median assessed value totaled $261,000, according to the Assessor’s Office, but fell 8.8 percent in 2011 to $238,000.
“The assessed values dropped significantly in Renton,” Hara said. Although the tax rate increased 8.4 percent from $12.21 to $13.23 per $1,000 from 2012 to 2012, Renton property owners can expect an average decrease in taxes to the tune of 1.2 percent. In other words, a property owner of a median-assessed parcel will save an average of $38 this year on their property taxes in comparison to last year.
King County property values continued to decline in 2012, but the drop was not as harsh as the previous year.
“Bank foreclosures and other distressed sales continue to be a drag on property values overall in King County,” Hara said. “This is driving property values down through most of King County, and is resulting in property tax reductions for some.”
For the first time since 1997, the statutory property tax limit was exceeded in several areas of King County, reductions in tax collections for a number of taxing districts. Factors that affected Renton residents include:
- Valley General Hospital District #1 lost almost ten cents of its levy, a loss of $3.3 million in tax collections.
- King County Flood Control Zone District protected up to $.25 of its levy, thereby receiving the full amount for 2012.
Washington State operates under a “budget-based” property tax system in which taxing districts, such as fire, library and school districts, submit their annual adopted budgets to the assessor who has the responsibility to determine the taxing rate that is necessary to meet the adopted budgets, he said.
In King County, Treasury Operations collect the property taxes, then distributes the revenue to the correct agencies.
Where do property taxes go:
- About 53 goes to support schools,
- 27 percent goes to cities and other local governments, such as fire districts and hospital districts,
- 18 percent is put toward King County government,
- 2 percent is left for the Port of Seattle.
County-wide, the total assessed property value was down 3.32 percent in 2011, down 3.38 percent in 2010 and down 11.61 percent in 2009, according to the Assessor’s Office.
How are properties assessed (From the Assessor’s Office):
Residential and commercial property in King County is assessed each year at its fair market value. For residential parcels, fair market value is determined by analyzing recent sales of comparable properties in the same area.
Each year, the King County Assessor sends every King County property owner an official Property Value Notice showing the total assessed property values for the current year and the previous year, with separate values shown for land and improvements. Your property tax bill will also include special county-wide fees that are not part of your assessed property value and taxes. These include fees for surface water management, noxious weeds, the King Conservation District and others.
How can I pay my property taxes:
Homeowners who do not pay their property taxes through a mortgage lender can pay quickly and easily online at www.kingcounty.gov/propertytax. Residents can also pay using check, cash, or by credit card in person at King County Treasury Operations, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle.
Payments by check only may be made in person at a convenient Community Service Center location:
- Blackriver Community Service Center
- Cottage Lake Community Service Center
- Covington Community Service Center
- Northshore Community Service Center
- Sammamish Community Service Center
- Vashon Maury Island Community Service Center
Hours and details for Community Service Centers can be found online at www.kingcounty.gov/csc.
To avoid interest and penalties, first half taxes must be paid or postmarked by Monday, April 30. Second half taxes must be paid or postmarked by Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Property tax relief programs are available:
- Senior Citizens. Call 206-296-3920.
- Disabled Persons. Call 206-296-3920.
- Current use reduction for Farm and Agriculture or Forest land. Call 206-296-3969.
- Current use reduction for Open Space or Timber. Call 206-205-5170.
- Remodeling/home improvement exemption. Call 206-205-0656.
- Destroyed property reduction. Call 206-205-9212.
- Deferral of Taxes. Call 206-296-3920.
- King County Assessor: 206-296-7300.
- King County Tax Advisor(assistance with tax matters): 206-263-9700.
- Treasury Operations (questions about your property tax billing statement): 206-296-0923.