The following commonly asked questions and their answers
provide an overview of the Island County Assessor's responsibilities
and the underlying laws by which they were established.
Important facts about the Assessor's Office-
- The Assessor performs the function of an appraiser in
placing a dollar value on your home or other property.
- The total amount of regular property taxes that are
collected do not increase because total assessed values
- The Assessor does not establish the dollar amount of
taxes that will be collected, but chooses the lowest amount
from a group of state-imposed alternatives.
- The tax rate for each district is either specifically
voted by taxpayers or calculated mathematically by the
Assessor based upon state limitations, budgets submitted
by taxing districts, and the assessed value for the district.
- The Assessor does not bill for or collect property taxes.
The County Treasurer's Office bills and collects taxes.
Mailing address changes:
- Contact our office 9-4 Monday through Thursday and we can assist you with your mailing address correction.
Ownership name changes due to Death or Divorce:
Submit to our office the following documents.
- Copy of the death certificate for the deceased owner from whom the property is being transferred.
- Copy of a will, probate order, or community property agreement identifying the property being transferred and the name of the person to whom the property is being transferred.
Divorce or lawsuit
- Copy of the court order identifying:
- the property being transferred,
- the name of the owner from whom the property is being transferred, and
- the name of the new owner to whom the property is being transferred.
Legal Name change
- Copy of court order changing your name.
- The parcel number(s) of the property you own to which you want the name change applied.
IS REAL PROPERTY APPRAISED?
To uniformly appraise the property in
Island County, the Assessor has hired a trained and experienced
staff of professional
appraisers as provided in Chapter
36.21 RCW. These appraisers specialize in mass
County is an annual county responsible for the appraisal
and apportionment of over 50,000 parcels of real property
each year. Appraisal methods used in Island
County comply with the basic practices and procedures used
in the appraisal profession and rely heavily upon Computer-Assisted
Mass Appraisal (CAMA). Without the aide of reliable
computers and software, the appraisal task would be less
efficient and more costly.
approaches may be used to determine real property value.
- Market Data: The market data (sales
comparison) approach uses sales of comparable (not identical)
properties and adjusts the sales price for time, location,
and other components of the property that differ to estimate
the value of the subject property. This method is
the most reliable for all property when sufficient sales
of comparable properties exist.
- Cost: The reproduction or replacement
cost new (of structures), less accrued depreciation derived from market
analysis is combined with the estimated value of land
based upon sales. Land values may be derived from
sales of similar vacant land or improved land by subtracting
the estimated value of improvements from sales prices.
- Income: The income approach relies
upon the capitalization of economic rents or discounted
cash flow analysis. Income data is collected for
commercial properties to estimate market rents and market
expenses. Sales are used to develop an appropriate
IS PERSONAL PROPERTY APPRAISED?
Most personal property assessments are based on information
provided by the taxpayer on personal property affidavit
forms furnished by the Assessor. The affidavits are mailed
to established accounts by January 1 each year, and must
be returned to the Assessor by April 30. Affidavits for
new business reporting for the first time may be mailed
after January 1. Extensions of filing date are not
granted . A tax penalty of 5% per month will be
applied to affidavits received after April 30. The Assessor
may waive the penalty if the late filing is due to reasonable
cause. A penalty of 25% of the tax due in the following
year will be applied for failure to file an affidavit.
The Assessor uses information provided by the taxpayer to
determine value, taking into consideration the age, cost,
and type of property. When the affidavit is processed and
the property valued and entered on the assessment roll,
a Personal Property Assessment Notice
is mailed to the taxpayer.
THE PROPERTY TAX AMOUNT?
The cost of local government determines how much property
tax will be levied. These costs include operating costs
of schools; city and county government; and other taxing
districts such as county, county roads, library, hospital,
fire and sewer districts. All property taxes fund
taxing districts submit requests to the Assessor
who ensures that the lawful limits
for the levies have not been exceeded. If they are,
the Assessor will select the the appropriate levy amount
by applying the six levy constraints below:
large portion of each property tax dollar goes to pay off
bonds or special levies voted in by citizens for such capital
costs as school buildings and other public projects.
2009, the portion of each tax bill that was "voter
imposed" ranged from 32% to 47% depending
upon the districts in which your property is located.
HOW ARE PROPERTY
TAX LEVIES ESTABLISHED?
The State Constitution, statutory levy limits set by the
legislature, and excess levies approved by the voters are
used to calculate the total property tax levy.
tax rate on your property is determined
by dividing the dollar amount required for the taxing district
by the total taxable value of property within the district,
and then adding up the rates of the various districts in
which your district is located.
assessed value of your property multiplied by the combined
rate produces a tax amount which is your fair share of the
total property tax levy in your area. The Island County
Treasurer issues tax statements and taxes are paid to the
Island County Treasurer's Office.
quick outline of the taxation process, click TAXATION.
ARE THE LEGAL PROPERTY TAX LIMITS?
Regular levies are on-going levies that are collected to fund general government functions. All taxing districts are limited as to the amount of taxes they may levy by the state constitution, statute, voters, or a combination of the three.
Of the six limits
listed below, the one that yields the lowest property tax
determines how much tax will be collected for each regular levy.
Voters may authorize taxing districts to levy additional amounts over and above some of the statutory and constitutional limits listed below.
Budgets / Certifications:
of each district is their certified levy and will override
any other limitation as long as it is lower. Thus,
a district requested $1,000,000 but budgeted for only
$900,000 would be entitled to collect no more than $900,000
in taxes for that budget year.
a regular district's budget exceeds the resolution, they would
be limited to collecting the amount authorized in the
resolution, even if they would have otherwise been entitled
to collect the higher amount.
a district were to fail to certify their budget or levy
to the county for the upcoming year, they would not entitled
to collect any property taxes that year.
maximum rate for districts:
84.52.043 establishes the maximum levy rate for the types
of taxing districts (the state, counties, cities and towns,
fire districts and the like).
101% levy limit:
1971, RCW Chapter 84.55 established a limitation on the
increase on property taxes for regular taxing districts.
The current limitation each year for most districts
is 101% of the highest, lawful levy since 1985, plus an
additional amount to allow for new construction within
the district. Thus, if a district's maximum
levy were $1,000,000, the 101% limit would allow them
to increase to $1,010,000 the following year.
101% limit applies to the total amount of revenue collected
for a taxing district, not to an individual's property
majority voter approval, districts may increase their
budgets or levies in excess of the 101% limit. If
approved, such a vote would allow the district to exercise
more levy authority for at least one year.
"Lid Lifts" as they are called, may be temporary
(by default) or permanent. The 1% constitutional
limit and the statutory maximum rates may not be exceeded,
regardless of voter approval, unless the district has
been specifically excluded by statute.
Resolutions and Ordinances:
regular taxing district is required to make a resolution each year if
they plan to apply the rules for an increase under the
101% levy limit.
is limited to the lower of 101% of the previous highest
lawful levy or 1+ the Implicit
Price Deflator for Personal Consumption Expenditures (IPD),
as of July of the year preceding the tax year. If
were .8%, then the resolution could be no more than 100.8%
instead of the 101% that would have otherwise been authorized.
with populations under 10,000 may elect to apply the maximum
101% factor even if the IPD is under 1%. However,
districts with populations over 10,000 would hold to have
a public hearing and pass a second resolution by a super
majority (60%) stating a substantial need existed to exceed
the IPD limit.
If the amount of the resolution is less than the maximum
levy calculated using these limits, they would only be
entitled to collect the lower amount.
$5.90 aggregate limit for regular levies:
In addition, the statute
establishes a maximum aggregate rate of $5.90 per $1,000
of assessed value for regular districts such as counties, cities, fire districts,
library districts and certain other junior taxing districts.
The state levy for support of common schools is a regular levy but is not subject
to the $5.90 limit, although it is subject to the constitutional
$10 per $1000 limit (1% constitutional limit). EMS districts, Park and Recreation districts, Conservation Futures levies, and Port districts are also exempt form the $5.90 calculation.
1% constitutional limit for regular levies:
primary limitation on property taxes was established by a 1972
amendment to Article 7, Section 2 of the Washington State Constitution. This provision was codified as RCW 84.52.050 and limits the total regular property tax levy to a
maximum of $10.00 per $1,000 of the market value of property (1%).
Excluded from this limit are levies for ports and public
utility districts as well as voted special levies which are not regular levies.
I APPEAL MY ASSESSED VALUE?
Appraisal is an Opinion of Value
the market value of your property is a process of evaluating
evidence to reach an opinion of value. Since the final
determination is an opinion, it is subject to dispute.
free to contact our office if you disagree with the value
that the Assessor placed upon your property. The appraisal
staff is interested in any new information about your property
that may not have been available to them at the time the
appraisal was made. Annually, the appraisers make
adjustments to account for the new information that you
provide and reduce more assessments as a result than does
the board of equalization or board of tax appeals.
To appeal your assessment to the Island County Board of Equalization, you must file within 30 days from the date on the front of your notice, unless extenuating circumstances prevented you from filing. In certain limited circumstances, the board can be reconvened. The board of equalization is independent of the Assessor's Office.
you decide to appeal the value of your property to the board
of equalization, please take the time to review the Washington
State Department of Revenue publication, Appealing Your
Property Assessment to the County Board of Equalization,
for details about how the board works and how best to proceed
with your presentation.
appeals of the assessed value of property should first be
directed to the Island
County Board of Equalization. The most
is available on this site. You may also have
a form mailed to you, e-mailed to you, or pick up a form
from either the Assessor's office, the Camano Annex Office,
or the Clerk of the Board of Equalization, Don
Board of Tax Appeals
of the Board of Equalization may be appealed to the State
Board of Tax Appeals (SBTA). Some appeals
may be made directly to the State Board of Tax Appeals.
methods of appeal are available at the SBTA:
- Formal - Both sides are typically
represented by attorneys, the rules of evidence apply,
and the final determination may be appealed to Superior
Court. Only evidence presented to the board may
be used in court.
- Informal - A hearing examiner conducts
the hearing, which is similar to the BOE hearing.
The final decision may be challenged by writing by submitting
a written "Exception" to the decision, which
will be reviewed by the full board. However, there
is no further level of appeal available in an informal
the hearing unprepared. You must have clear, cogent
and convincing evidence to persuade the hearing officials
that your opinion of value is more reasonable.
You are not
required to "prove" anything at a hearing, but
merely convince the hearing examiner(s) that the available
evidence more reasonably reflects the market value of
your property as of the assessment date.
Sales are always
the best evidence that you can present to a board.
The board gives sales greater weight if the sales:
to the date of appraisal
not involve undue influence, such as foreclosure sales,
sales between relatives, gifts of love and affection,
- are in a similar geographic neighborhood
physically similar to the property that is the subject
of the appeal
are also useful to bring to the board's attention, such
- deterioration of structures of which the assessor was
- recent governmental restrictions
- recent detrimental changes in the neighborhood
- material errors on the assessment record, such as measurements
of structures, the size of the site, etc.
sales are historical facts, an appraisal is always an opinion.
Value is not necessarily the same as price, although sales
prices are part of the evidence used to estimate value.
For best results,
try to remain focused on the the market value of your property.
Board members are not generally swayed by emotional outbursts,
recriminations, accusations, or personal attacks.
A calm, respectful, truthful, and assertive approach makes
your case easier to follow and understand for all parties.
DO I APPLY FOR AN EXEMPTION?
MAKES MAPS FOR THE ASSESSOR?
IS REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN COUNTY MAPS
Manner of listing real estate -- Maps.
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assessor shall prepare and possess a complete set of maps
drawn to indicate parcel configuration for lands in the
county. The assessor shall continually update the maps
to reflect transfers, conveyances, acquisitions, or any
other transaction or event that changes the boundaries
of any parcel and shall renumber the parcels or prepare
new map pages for any portion of the maps to show combinations
or divisions of parcels. "
web-page on Assessor's
HOW DOES ISLAND COUNTY'S GENERAL LEVY (COUNTY CURRENT EXPENSE)
COMPARE WITH OTHER COUNTIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE?
Of the 39 counties in the State of Washington, Island County is ranked:
- 10th in total value,
- 14th in total population,
- 19th in total levy,
- 36th in property tax per capita, and
- 39th in tax rate.
The statutory limit for a county tax rate is $1.80 per thousand of assessed value. In 2010, Island County's rate was $0.51376238 per thousand of assessed value.
Seven of the other eight counties with populations between 50,000 an 100,000 have total levies that are from $1,000,000 to $8,000,000 higher than Island County. Five of those seven counties have a smaller population than Island County.
The two counties in the state that are closest in population to Island County, Lewis and Grant, have total levies that exceed Island County's levy by $2,375,000 and $3,882,861 respectively.
|County General Levies with Populations Between 50,000 and 100,000
free to contact the Island County Assessor's Office for
any other questions that you may have. You may e-mail,
write, call, or stop by for a visit between 9:00 AM and
4:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, except holidays.
Our mailing address
Please be patient with us. We have a long phone tree and due to severe budget shortages, can no longer afford to have receptionists to answer phones or greet you when you come to the office.
Our phone numbers
- Our main number is toll-free from Central or North Whidbey
- Toll free from South Whidbey Island (ask for Assessor's
- Toll free from Camano Island (ask for Assessor's Office).
360-240-5565 - Fax
We are located in Room 208 on the
second floor of the Island County Administration Building
located on the corner of 7th and Main in Coupeville.
The address is 1 NE 7th Street.