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Property tax bills coming: increases will fund education, fire protection, and veteran and senior services

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

King County Treasury will begin sending out the annual property tax bills in mid February. King County collects property taxes on behalf of the state, the county, cities, and taxing districts (such as school and fire districts), and distributes the revenue to these local governments.

Voters have approved several property-tax increases that will make much-needed investments in veterans and senior citizen services and fire protection. In some parts of King County, as much as 50 percent of the property tax bill is the result of voter-approved measures.

New levies approved in 2017 for collection this year include:

· Fire protection levies in Maple Valley, Vashon, and Skyway.

· School bonds for Shoreline and Federal Way.

· Renewal of the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services levy in King County.

In addition to approved local measures, the Washington State legislature passed an additional property tax to increase funding of education. Previously, the State Supreme Court ruled that the state must make new investments into public education; as a result the legislature added $1.01 per thousand dollars of assessed value, in King County, to their portion of property tax collection in order to fund the mandate (this is known as the McCleary Plan).
“Communities in our region are thankful to voters for approving new funding for essential services, but we know that property taxes can be especially tough for those on fixed incomes,” said King County Assessor John Wilson. “That’s why we’ve been aggressively reaching out to seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners with the property tax exemption program. Additionally, I’ve been working with Executive Constantine to create more tools for transparency around property taxes,” Wilson continued.

Low-income seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for a property-tax exemption offered by King County. Information on how to apply for an exemption, along with other property-assessment-related information, can be found at kingcounty.gov/assessor. Property taxes vary depending upon location, the assessed value of the property, and the number of jurisdictions levying taxes (such as state, city, county, school district, port, fire district, etc).

With  property taxes going up 16.92 percent on average, that means countywide property tax billings will be $5.6 billion in 2018, up from $ 4.8 billion last year. Aggregate property values in King County increased by 13.41 percent, going from $471.5 billion in 2017 to $534.7 billion in 2018.

“Without doubt voters are going to see a property tax increase due to the funding model the legislature has passed to fund education. So at a local level we are building more tools and supporting more legislation to increase transparency and fairness around the property tax. It is a work in progress and we will continue working on behalf of King County taxpayers,” said Wilson.

To avoid interest and penalties, the first half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by April 30, 2018. The second half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by Oct. 31, 2018.

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