Recent increases in property taxes have caused quite a bit of confusion (and downright shock) for homeowners. A Seattle Times article highlighted some changes that local homeowners will be subject to starting this year. The coverage includes why taxes are increasing, where the money will go, if you qualify for exemption and more.
Property taxes have been a source of stress for homeowners alike across the country. The recent hike in the taxes in King County have been a source of worry to many which is why Seattle Times chose to address the situation.
The first question addressed in the piece surrounded the question of how much taxes are going up. On average, property taxes are increasing 17 percent across King County. This “will add about $800 to the tax bill on a median-valued ($509,000) home in the county” which is the biggest increase for one-year recorded.
So, why is the increase so much larger than in years past? The most significant factor is an increase on public school spending. The added spending is a result of a Supreme Court case in 2012, which ruled that Washington hadn’t fulfilled its constitutional duty to fund education. To resolve this case lawmakers decided to increase property taxes through a fixed-rate increase, “meaning the tax rises directly with every property’s assessed value.” It is no secret that home values across the region have been on the rise which translates directly into a higher percentage of tax being deemed necessary to fund public schools. Other portions of property taxes will be divided between cities, county government, Sound Transit, fire districts and libraries.
Another question that the article sought to address regarded solutions to reduce taxes owed in 2018. While appealing property taxes cannot be done, some are seeking to appeal the value of their home set forth by the assessor’s valuation which can in turn decrease the cost of taxes. There is also a program for tax exemption that applies to senior citizens, disabled persons and widows or widowers. King County also offers a tax relief program for those undergoing hardships, which can be found here.