Timely seasonal reminders from County Assessor Lloyd Hara

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

County Assessor Lloyd Hara
From King County Assessor Lloyd Hara

The first half of your 2013 tax payment is due 4/30.
Businesses must file Personal Property lists by 4/30 (see detail below).

We start mailing real property valuation notices in May, and continue (area by area) thru October. 

See my office website for a recap of 2013 market conditions and tax outlook.

Taxpayers appealed less than 5,000 of our 700,000+ property valuations last year - down from more than 13,000 in 2009. Why? The housing bubble shock is fading. Community outreach really works! And we keep improving the nuts and bolts of our craft, making assessed values measurably more consistent.

We'll introduce an online tool in May ("eAppeals"), making it easier to file an appeal - and easier to judge whether you have a winning case before you do file one.

I've kept up the usual pace (usual for me, anyway) of 200 onsite visits per year with realtors, service clubs, seniors, CPAs, and industry groups like the Building Owners and Managers Association, Rental Housing Association, and Master Builders. At the International Association fo Assessing Officers (IAAO) big fall event in Kansas City, I spoke on "How Sustained Outreach Can Improve Your Standing in the Community".

We are a national leader in online tools and mobile apps:

  • Our appraisers now hit the field with the best mobile tool in the trade, an iPad app called iRealProperty we developed with local business partner Mobise.
  • Our public information tool eRealProperty draws four million page views a month.
  • Our property search tool eSales is building a strong following among real estate pro's.
  • eListing helps business accounts comply with Personal Property filing requirements.  
  • 32 of the County's 40 permitting jurisdictions now keep property data up to date thru our ePermitting links.  
  • We demo'd our leading-edge apps at WASACA (WA State Association of County Assessors)  ... IAAO's national board meeting ... statewide IAAO workshops ... our own office open house events ... and presented the closing plenary session of IAAO's 17th annual Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal conference in Albuquerque. 

Our Property Base System is a longstanding renewal priority. PBS is a COBOL-era cornerstone of our business, with a rat's nest of indispensable links to other agencies. This year we'll migrate PBS off the mainframe to a modern database platform - setting the stage for bolder functional upgrades.

Renew the Crew, Too 
Boomers - the mainstay of our experienced workforce - are reaching retirement. Staff renewal is a constant concern. This is an ideal time to pick up proven young talent from public agency lay-off lists and a still-depressed private sector.

We revived the college intern program. Grad students gain priceless experience, and we benefit from fresh perspectives and energetic legwork in research and analysis chores.

We also take advantage of the County HEROES program - paid internships and mentoring support for recent veterans making the transition to civilian work.

We've revamped our HR approach to emphasize job-related interviewing practices and a workforce that looks like King County. And we held an "all hands" staff retreat to re-assess our team mission, shared vision and guiding principles.

Even in these tough times, our team is 3-for-3 in layoff-free budget cycles. Cost reductions, service upgrades, a track record of running with cutting-edge ideas and bringing new dollars to the General Fund keeps us on good terms with the budget barons.  

Personal Property Tax 
You never filed a PP return? Don't panic. In our state, "personal" property tax applies to business accounts - not households.

We discovered that too many businesses were unaware of the tax (and its self-reporting requirement). Thru educational outreach and an amnesty period for delinquent accounts, we picked up 2,000 new accounts and $1 million in new revenue in 2012. 

PP is slated for renewed focus in 2013. See the office website (eListing, under Online Services) for Personal Property Tax information and online filing tools.


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