Calling it one of the most important property tax relief measures for older homeowners in decades, King County Assessor John Wilson today applauded passage of ESSB 5160, sponsored by Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45th LD). The bill significantly expands the number of people eligible for the existing property tax exemption and deferral programs for low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.
ESSB 5160 expands the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs for low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and veterans, beginning with taxes levied for collection in 2020. It also lowers the disability rating necessary to qualify as a disabled veteran for exemption program from a 100 percent rating to an 80 percent rating.
Rather than being based on set income amounts, the income requirements to qualify for the exemption program will now be based on a percentage of each county’s median household income. The previous income requirement to qualify of $40,000, or less, in annual income will now be replaced with an income level equal to 65% of the county median income.
The Assessor’s office estimates that this will effectively raise the income threshold from $40,000 to approximately $55,000 in King County. However, under bill requirements, the official income thresholds will be published by the Department of Revenue beginning August 1, 2019. Further details on how citizens can apply for these programs will also be announced as soon as possible.