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Property Tax Exemptions for Senior Citizens and Disabled People

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded
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The property tax exemption is a way to lower your property taxes by exempting (excusing you from) all extra levies, like school construction bonds and other levies passed by voters, and sometimes part of regular levies on your home. Publication #6230EN

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What is a property tax exemption?

It is a way to lower your property taxes by exempting (excusing you from) all extra levies, like school construction bonds and other levies passed by voters, and sometimes part of regular levies on your home. This does not apply to:

  • Property where you do not live most of the time.

  • More than one acre surrounding your home.

Do I have to pay later?

No. This program lowers the property taxes you must pay. Once you sign up and are eligible, you no longer owe those higher taxes. You do not have to pay them back.

Will there be a lien on my property?

No. No one, including the state, will have a lien or other interest in your property.

Am I eligible?

Yes, if you are a homeowner or mobile home owner AND all these are true:

  • The home is your principal residence.  

  • You have a limited income.

  • Either you will be 61 by December 31st in the year you apply OR you are a disabled person of any age who cannot work because of a physical/mental impairment. (You must have a doctor's written statement.) 

The surviving spouse of someone getting an exemption at the time of his/her death shall qualify for an exemption if s/he is both:

  • 57 or older.

  • Otherwise eligible.

What is "limited income"?

To qualify for an exemption, the highest annual household income you can have is $35,000. This includes:

  • Your income.

  • Your spouse's income.

  • Income from anyone living with you who has an ownership interest in the home.

*Deductions for medical expenses may apply.

How long does eligibility last?

It lasts as long as you meet the age or disability and income requirements. The exemption becomes effective for taxes in the year after the year you apply.

If you met the requirements in the past, but did not get the exemption, you may be able to get the exemption going back three years. You could get a refund of taxes you already paid.

What is the exemption amount?

If your household income is between $0 and $30,000, you are exempt from regular property taxes on the first $60,000 or 60% of your home's assessed value, whichever is more.

If your household income is between $30,001 and $35,000, you are exempt from regular property taxes on the greater of $50,000 or 35% of the assessed value, up to $70,000 of your home's assessed value.

If your household income is between $35,001 and $40,000, you are exempt from all "excess" property taxes. "Excess" property taxes (special levies) require voter approval. They provide funds for a specific purpose, such as school bonds or maintenance and operation levies.

What if I cannot pay even the reduced rate?

You may be able to get your property taxes deferred if one of these is true:

  • You are behind in taxes and cannot pay even at the lesser rate.

  • You are in/facing foreclosure due to unpaid back taxes.

A deferral is different from an exemption. A deferral lets you to off (delay) payment.

When you get your property taxes deferred, the taxes owed plus interest become payable when one of these happens:

  • You or your surviving spouse dies.

  • You sell the home.

  • You no longer live permanently in the home.

You must meet eligibility requirements for tax deferral. If you owe money on a home loan or real estate contract, you may need the lender's/contract seller's permission to defer paying taxes.

*We do not explain here the eligibility requirements for the property tax deferral program.

How do I apply?

Call your county assessor or treasurer's office to apply or get more info.

What if they deny my application for an exemption

You may appeal formally or informally to the Board of Tax Appeals. An appeal may be formal or informal. You should file your appeal within 30 days of the date they mailed the denial.

If you lose a formal appeal, you may appeal to a higher court. An informal appeal leads to a final decision. Your county assessor or treasurer's office has more info.

 

6230EN

This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.
This information is current as of June 2017.

© 2017 Northwest Justice Project. 1-888-201-1014.
(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and individuals for non-commercial use only.)

Last Review and Update: Jun 21, 2017
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