More Seniors and disabled homeowners get tax breaks in King county

Saturday, February 24, 2024

A graph from the King County Assessor's website shows the relative allocation of how property taxes will be spent in 2024

By Oliver Moffat

More senior and disabled homeowners can qualify for a property tax break this year.

Thanks to a bill signed into law in 2023 that raised the minimum income threshold, more people in Washington State can now qualify for property tax breaks.

To qualify for the exemption, homeowners must now make less than $84,000; previously the income threshold was $58,423. Homeowners must also own and occupy their home and be at least 62 or be disabled. More information on how to apply is available on the King County Assessors website.

Local governments will not see a decline in property tax revenue because other homeowners will pay more taxes to subsidize the exemption for disabled and elderly homeowners. According to demographic information from Shoreline’s draft PROSA plan, the population of seniors over the age of 65 is expected to increase from 10.9% in 2020 to over 20% by 2050.

The King County Treasurer mailed property tax
 bills in mid February. Property tax payments
are due in April and October.
As reported by The Seattle Times, assessed property values in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park have declined significantly in the past year thanks in part to a moderating housing market caused by high interest rates. 

However, average property taxes rates have declined only a small amount. The average Shoreline assessed home value decreased by almost 14% while the average property tax bill only decreased by a little over 2%.

This is because Washington uses a “budget-based” property tax system. “An increase in property value does not represent a dollar-to-dollar increase in property taxes”, according to the King County Assessor

Property taxes provide fixed annual revenue to the government regardless of property values. The assessor totals the assessed value of all taxable property in the area and then property taxes are charged to each homeowner based on the relative value of their home.

In 2022, Shoreline voters approved Prop 1 with 62% of the vote to pay for police, parks, and human services with a property tax increase. According to Shoreline’s 2023 budget report, roughly 16% of property taxes are allocated to the city and the largest single line item in the city’s budget is to pay for Shoreline’s contract with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services.

Property tax payments are due to King County in April and October if you pay your own tax bill. If you have a mortgage, property taxes are usually factored in to your monthly payment.


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