All of the counties in Washington state operate on an annual cycle for assigning an assessed value to your home and then applying an annual tax rate to that assessed value. If you live in King County, you probably just received an Official Property Value Notice for your home in the mail, listing what last year’s value was, the new assessed value, and the value after any exemption. (Low income seniors and recent remodel projects may qualify for exemptions.)
You will notice the dates that the county uses for their value assessment. This year’s notice is what the county thinks was the fair market value of your home as of January 1, 2011 (July 31, 2011 for remodels and new structures.) The value is calculated based on the sales of comparable properties. The value they determined in January 2011 will be used to calculate your property taxes that you pay during 2012, but the actual tax rates are to be determined.
Depending on the age, configuration and additions to your home over time, the county assessed value may be highly accurate or wildly inaccurate. I don’t know many people who would want to appeal a low assessment, as that would effectively raise their property taxes. However, if you believe that your home was assessed for too high of a value, you must take action now to file an appeal.
Your appeal is due to the King County Board of Equalization by July 1, 2011 or 60 days after the mailing date on your Property Value Notice. I received mine on August 4, so mine is due by Sept 23. If you miss the appeal deadline, you must wait another year for the next cycle, so take action now.
In developing your appeal, you can tap the expertise of a local real estate agent to help you develop evidence of comparable sales prices. We do this all of the time for clients who have bought a home with us to help them through the process.
Here are links for counties in the Puget Sound area to help you with this process: