I get a lot of questions about property tax assessment valuations. The King County Official Property Value Notices start coming out in April and you have only 2 months from the date of receipt to appeal your taxes, so let me give you an idea of how that works.
Here's how property valuation is calculated:
King County establishes a land value, which the state requires them to value as if it is vacant.
Then they use different methods (Market (comparable sales), Cost (reproduction or replacement cost, less depreciation) or Income (income or capitalization of economic rents) to analyze total market value by selected areas.
From there they subtract the amount for land to come up with the building value.
In addition to this statistical analysis to determine value, all properties are physically inspected once in every six year cycle.
And then your property valuation is calculated like this:
To determine your property tax rate, officials divide the total amount of money needed for your district by the total value of property in your district. Then, they add up all the levy rates of the various taxing districts in which your property is located. The 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.
It is possible that your property taxes can increase even if your appraised value decreases. This is because half of your property tax is based on your neighborhood approved tax levies for services such as schools, parks and more.
So, should you appeal your property taxes?
Are properties similar to your home in your neighborhood selling for less than your King County appraised value?
You will need evidence to support your appeal which is three comparable properties in your neighborhood with lower taxes. An appraiser or Realtor can help you with that.
Then you fill out a Petition Form for Real Property and file no than later than July 1 of the Assessment year or within 60 days from the mailing date on the front of the Official Property Value Notice, whichever is later.
Get the Tax Assessors Office involved by phoning them on 206-296-7300.
You'll first, receive an acknowledgement letter and then a formal response from the Assessor in two to six months. 20-25% of the petitions filed each year are granted from this first response without an additional hearing.
If you have a hearing this is what to expect:
It is an informal review you attend with the Assessor's representative. You have the opportunity to show your previously submitted arguments and evidence.
Each party will have the opportunity to question the other party's evidence.
One or two Board Members typically preside over the hearing.
It lasts about 40 minutes.
Another 25-30% get their appeals granted this way.
The answer is mailed within two weeks of the hearing.
Convincing evidence is the key.
I'm happy to set you up with some good neighborhood comparable information!