Every February, right around Valentine’s Day, Thurston County homeowners will receive in the mail a small postcard from the Assessor’s office with your new property tax assessment for the year.
Most homeowners have their mortgage set up where the mortgage company collects property taxes in each monthly payment and then makes the twice-annual tax payments to Thurston County. The postcard you receive in the mail this month is NOT a bill. If you do not have a mortgage or you have a mortgage where you pay the property taxes on your own, then you will receive a bill.
How are my property taxes calculated?
To learn more about how your property taxes are calculated, click here for a post I wrote about the assessment process. This also answers the question of why your property taxes go up and even can go down.
What are the requirements to apply for a property tax exemption?
To apply for a property tax exemption, there are three requirements that must be met:
- You must be 61 years or older, or Disabled and unable to get employment (no age requirement), or a Veteran with an 80% or greater service-connected disability rating, and
- Be the owner of and occupy the property more than 9 months of the year, and
- Have a total household income of $48,566 or less.
What is new in 2020 for Thurston County property taxes?
Legislative changes that were made in 2019 to expand the senior and disabled persons property tax exemption will take effect this year.
In summary, the new 2020 changes:
- Increase the household income from $40,000 to $48,566 or less.
- Reduce the veteran disability rating from 100 percent to 80 percent.
- Increase the occupancy of the home from 6 months to 9 months each year.
The purpose of property tax exemptions is to help homeowners stay in their homes by reducing their tax burden.
The are other programs available to qualified homeowners that may lower property taxes:
- Vacant land classifications for commercial agriculture, open space, and timber.
- Damaged or destroyed property.
- Residential remodeling 3-year exemption.
- Non-profit properties such as charities, churches and low-income housing.
- Historical designated properties with substantial improvements.
- New or rehabilitated urban multi-family housing in designated areas.
Visit the Assessor’s office for more details either online at www.co.thurston.wa.us/assessor or in person at Building 1, Room 127, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia WA 98502 (360-867-2200).