King County assessor mails property tax bills to residents

February 20, 2012

By Staff

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NEW —9 a.m. Feb. 20, 2012

King County residents started to receive property tax bills in recent days and, although property tax collection in the county up 1.71 percent from last year, property owners should see a drop in bills and a decline in property valuation.

The total value of property in the county continued to decline for the 2012 tax roll, but the drop is slightly less than 2011. Officials said property values declined in almost every area in King County last year.

The median assessed value in rural Southeast King County, for instance, declined from $304,000 for the 2011 tax roll to $259,000 for 2012 — or a decrease in the tax bill of $470.

“Bank foreclosures and other distressed sales continue to be a drag on property values overall in King County,” King County Assessor Lloyd Hara said in a statement. “This is driving property values down through most of King County, and is resulting in property tax reductions for some.”

Washington operates under a budget-based property tax system, meaning local taxing districts — including fire, library and school districts — submit annual adopted budgets to the county assessor. The county assessor then has the responsibility to determine the necessary taxing route to meet the adopted budgets.

Hara and other county assessors statewide establish property values.

County Treasury Operations collects the property taxes on behalf of the state, cities and taxing districts, and then distributes the revenue to the correct agencies. So, residents only need to make property tax payments to a single location.

The county uses assessed property valuations established during the previous year to determine property taxes.

April 30 is the deadline for King County homeowners to pay property tax bills.

Taxpayers can send bills by mail. The payment must be postmarked by April 30. Taxpayers should include the tax statement and write the property tax account number on a check or money order. Cash should not be sent through the mail.

Homeowners can pay property taxes online or by check, cash or credit card in person at King County Treasury Operations, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle. Or use the secure payment system at to pay bills.

Taxpayers can make payments by check at a Community Service Center. Sammamish City Hall, 801 228th Ave. S.E., hosts a center.

The statement is sent to the lender if a property owner relies on a mortgage company to pay the bill. However, the taxpayer is responsible for the bill to be paid in a timely manner.

The county also offers property tax-relief programs, including breaks for seniors. Call the King County Assessor’s Office at 206-296-3920.

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