Spokane County
1116 W. Broadway Ave
Spokane, WA 99260
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Print this page 
Email this page to a friend 

Assessor FAQs

The following FAQs are listed by Assessor.




Are there maps online?

Yes. You can find maps on our website at http://maps.spokanecounty.org/.


Didn’t Initiative 747 limit my property tax to a 1% annual increase?

No. Individual tax bills and assessed values are not limited to a 1 percent increase or any other limitation. Taxing districts have a series of budget limitations, the 1 percent budget increase limit being one of them; however, these limitations are complicated with special levies, banked levy capacity, annexations, and type of taxing district.


Do I qualify for a senior citizen exemption?

If you are 62 or older, own your home, and have a total household income of less than $35,000, you may be eligible for a reduction in your property taxes! An application is available on the Assessor Exemption Application Forms page or you can call 477-5754 to have one mailed to you.


Exemptions for Misc Property?

RCW 84.36.010 allows exemption of taxes to all publicly-owner property, such as that of the federal, state, county or city governments.

Additionally, other property  is exempt through application made to the State Department of Revenue.

RCW 84.36.030 - 84.36.350 allows tax exemptions for property used in character building, benevolent, protective or rehabilitative social services, camp facilities, veterans and relief organizations; libraries, orphanages; day care centers, nursing homes and hospitals; schools and colleges; art, scientific and historical collections, fire companies, humane societies, musical and artistic associations, public assembly halls, certain public authorities and sheltered workshops for the disabled.

RCW 84.36.020 allows exemption of church owned property used for church purposes.

RCW 84.36.015 All parcels of real and personal property parcels that individually have an assessed value of less than $500 are exempt from property taxation.


Exemptions for Private Property?

SENIOR / DISABLED (RCW 84.36.381)

For property owners who are either 62 in the tax year or Disabled, a property tax exemption is available on your residence if the combined family income (including social security) is less then $35,000.

The exemption benefit is determined on qualifying income within three brackets under this threshold-but all qualified applications are exempted from excess levies.

Click on the following link to see the DOR brochure on senior/disabled exemptions: 

http://dor.wa.gov/Docs/Pubs/Prop_Tax/SeniorExempt.pdf

For more information or an application please call 477-5754.

If your income is under $40,000, you may qualify for a tax "deferral".  Click on the following link to see the DOR brochure on property tax deferrals for seniors/disabled tax payers:

http://dor.wa.gov/Docs/Pubs/Prop_Tax/SeniorDefs.pdf

For more information or an application please call 477-3698.

HISTORICAL PROPERTY (RCW 84.26.030)

The actual cost of substantial improvement to eligible historic property (25% or greater of the assessed value prior to rehabilitation) may be excluded from assessed value for a period of ten years. Applications are furnished by the Assessor.  Approval is made by the local Historical Preservation Board within each jurisdiction.  Helpful forms, brochures, and an overall picture of the program can be found at: http://www.historicspokane.org/

PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT to Single Family Dwelling (RCW 84.36.400)

Exempts from taxation any physical improvement to a detached single family dwelling for three assessment years subsequent to completion of the improvement, up to 30% of the value of the original structure. This home improvement exemption may be claimed only once in a 5-year period. Normal maintenance work does not qualify. Notice to claim the exemption must be filed with the Assessor PRIOR to completion of the improvement.

MULTIPLE-UNIT EXEMPTION for Urban Centers (RCW 84.14)

Either new or rehabilitated structures having 4 or more dwelling units within a defined urban center may receive exemption on the improvement value for a period of ten years.

For more information go to:http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/smc/?Chapter=08.15

City of Spokane Ordinance C-32575


How are property taxes levied?

Two things determine your property taxes:

  • Your assessed value and
  • The budgets of the tax districts in which you live.

Throughout the year, my appraisal staff assesses all residential and commercial property at fair market value. In November, each of the 56 Spokane County tax districts establishes a budget and sends their budget resolution to me. In January, I use the budget resolutions to calculate levy rates to fund those budgets. Then in February, the Treasurer uses my levy rates and assessed values to determine individual property taxes.  Washington State has a budget based property tax system where only the proportionate amount of the budget is collected from the property owners according to their assessed value.  Click here for the Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes


How does the assessor value commercial property?

Washington law allows the assessor to value property using the three recognized approaches to value: Replacement Cost, Market, and Income. The method of valuation is determined by the type of property and the data available for each methodology.


I didn’t receive an Official Assessment Notice in the mail, why not?

There are two reasons why you may not have received an assessment notice; first, we may not have your correct owner mailing address or second, your valuation may not have changed. We post the valuation notice on our website and you can check your owner mailing address and see valuation changes there. Go to http://www.spokanecounty.org/pubpadal and enter your parcel number or address, select “events,” then select “Click here to view the property assessment notice.”

If your owner mailing address is incorrect, please go to http://www.spokanecounty.org/pubpadal/MailingAddressChange.aspx fill in the form, print, sign, and mail to the assessor address indicated or email this information to assessor@spokanecounty.org


Is assessed value different than market value?

Yes. The assessor’s office values or assesses property for the purposes of determining property taxes as of January 1st of any given year. Market value is what a willing buyer and seller determine to be the value on an ongoing basis throughout the year.


Is it possible to find the owner of an address?

Yes. If you know the address or the parcel number you can find the owner on our webpage at http://www.spokanecounty.org/pubpadal Select, “I Agree.” Then enter either the parcel number or the street number.  Then click search.


Is my senior citizen/disabled person exemption application processed?

We process applications in the order received. When your application has been processed, you or your mortgage company will receive a corrected tax statement from the treasurer’s office. If you’d like to check the status of your application, please call 477-3698.


My property was revalued last year; why did my assessed value go up?

Assessed values are driven by the real estate market. The assessor's office values property based on sales information. The real estate market tends to be cyclical in nature with highs and lows. When real estate sales in your area indicate little or no appreciation in value, your assessed value will reflect that change also.


Open Space Act?

The Open Space Taxation Act, enacted in 1970, allows property owners to have their open space, farm & agricultural and timberlands valued at their current use rather than their highest and best use. The Act states that it is in the best interest of the State to maintain, preserve, conserve and otherwise continue in existence adequate open space lands for the production of food, fiber and forest crops and to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty for the economic and social well being of the State and it's citizens.

Spokane County has property enrolled in all three current use classifications:

  • Timber
  • Open Space
  • Farm & Agricultural

Property owners desiring to participate in these programs must first make application to the granting authority.  Apply for the Current Use Timber, Current Use Farm and Agricultural Conservation, and Open Space through the Spokane County Planning Department, 477-7200.  Apply for Current Use Farmand Agriculture and Designated Forest through the Spokane County Assessor, 477-5945.

Click here to view the DOR Brochure on the Open Space Taxation Act


Property Valuation Cycle?

  • All real property is revalued annually with a physical inspection completed at least once every six years.
  • New construction is appraised annually.
  • Personal property is recalculated each year based on current listings.
  • Property owners are notified when assessed values change.

State law mandates that all property must be valued at 100% true and fair market value, which is the amount the property would most likely sell for on the open market.

A single sale does not necessarily establish market value.

  • Comparable sales
  • Depreciated replacement cost, and
  • Income approaches

are used to determine the assessed value for residential, commercial and industrial property. The assessor uses mass appraisal methods to appraise approximately 212,000 real property parcels in Spokane County.

Property owners can appeal their assessed values to the Spokane County Board of Equalization. The appeal must be filed by July 1 of the assessment year.

The property tax for any parcel is the levy rate for the tax code area multiplied by the value of the parcel for the preceding year.

Weed, fire patrol and other items considered outside of the regular property tax calculation are not determined by the Assessor.


Tax Districts and Levy Limitations?

Tax Districts

Spokane County has 58 taxing districts that create 121 unique tax code areas defined by their overlapping boundaries.

A levy must be uniform throughout a district, even when the district extends into a neighboring county.

The County, Conservation Futures and the State School levy are uniformly assessed at the same rate in each of the 121 tax code areas.

Two properties, identical in assessment may pay very different taxes as levied by the taxing districts they support.

Spokane County has 13 Cities/Towns, 11 Fire, 6 Cemetery, 19 Schools plus Library, Park, Sewer, Transportation & Water Districts that each have their own boundaries. These districts are governed by locally elected boards who set their budgets through public hearings.

In 2003 the first TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District in the State of Washington, TCA 2050 between Spokane & Airway Heights was created.  Spokane County now has five TIFs.

Levy Limitations

By statute, each district type has defined levy authorizations and restrictions.

Regular levies are restricted:

  • To the lesser of the budget request,
  • The statutory rate,
  • 1% over the highest lawful amount since 1985 (or the Implicit Price Deflator if the population is over 10,000.)

The table below provides guidelines on the statutory levy rate restrictions for districts found in Spokane County.

The County Levy of $1.80 may be increased to $2.475 as long as no other levy is reduced and the sum of the County/Road levy does not exceed $4.05. The County, within the $1.80 levy must fund Veteran's Relief (RCW 73.08.080), Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities (RCW 71.20.110).

Once the individual rate is determined, the districts are further checked on the aggregate amounts known as the $5.90 limit (RCW 84.52.043) and the Constitutional 1% limit (RCW 84.52.050). In 2004, no district in Spokane County was reduced at this level.

The $5.90 limit is the sum of specific regular levies. For example, in 2004, TCA 0010 finds

the County at       1.5104 (Conservation Futures is excluded from this check)
City of Spokane at       3.4222 (EMS is excluded from this check)
a sub-total of       4.9326 below the limit. Had the sum of these exceed $5.90, the rates would have been pro-rated. Notes: The State School levy was removed from this check in 1988.

Excess levies are voter approved. No restrictions exist beyond the approval made by the voters.

Statutory Levy Limits
County $1.80-$2.475
Road $2.25
City/Town $3.375
City annexed to Fire &/or Library $3.60 (less levy made by Fire/Library)
City with Firemen's Pension Fund $3.60
Fire $1.00
Fire with full-time paid employee $1.50
Library $0.50
Cemetery $0.1125
State School $3.60


 


What is personal property?

All property can be divided into two major categories--real property and personal property. Real property is generally immovable and includes land, buildings, and permanent structures. The chief characteristic of personal property is its mobility. Some examples of taxable personal property are: office furniture and equipment, computers, software, store equipment, manufacturing equipment, signs, and farm machinery.


What is Property Tax?

Property tax is a tax that is imposed on persons because of their ownership or possession of property and is measured by the market value of the property. In Washington State, all real and personal property are subject to tax unless specifically exempted by law. Property tax was the first tax levied in the state of Washington. Today, property tax accounts for about 30 percent of total state and local taxes. It continues to be the most important revenue source for public schools, fire protection, libraries, and parks and recreation.


When are property taxes determined?

Property taxes are calculated at the end of the calendar year for the next calendar year’s taxes. Therefore, please note when you receive your Official Assessment Notice in June, the levy rates and taxes will not be calculated until mid-January the following year.


Where do I get information about property ownership and legal descriptions?

The Spokane County Assessor can provide you with information about property ownership, sales, legal descriptions, pending segregation, etc.

Where do I get information about the assessed value of my property?

The Spokane County Assessor can provide you with information about the assessed value of your property.

Where’s my property line?

If you cannot locate your property corners, the safest action is to contact a Private Land Surveyor. You can contact the auditor’s office at 477-2270 to check for a recent survey or to acquire a copy of your plat, but keep in mind any improvements made without proper knowledge of property limits could result in litigation.


Who do I contact to see what my property taxes will be?

The Treasurer's Office can answer tax billing questions and can be reached at 477-4713.


Who must report personal property?

Everyone who owns a business must report all personal property assets to the county assessor. The telephone number for personal property assessment is 477-4787.


Who values your property?

State law requires that county assessors appraise property at 100 percent of its true and fair market value in money, according to the highest and best use of the property. Fair market value or true value is the amount that a willing and unobligated buyer is willing to pay a willing and unobligated seller. The county assessor values real property using one or more of three professional appraisal methods. Further detailed explanations on these methods can be found in our publication, A Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes (pdf).

Real property includes land, improvements to land, structures, and certain equipment affixed to structures. Personal property include furnishings, machinery and equipment, fixtures, supplies, and tools. The primary characteristic of personal property is its mobility. Personal property tax applies to personal property used when conducting business or to other personal property not exempt by law. Most personal property owned by individuals is specifically exempt. However, if these items are used in a business, personal property tax applies.


Why are there two addresses on my Official Assessment Notice?

The first address is the legal owner address and is used by the assessor to address assessment notices. Questions/corrections to owner address can be handled by contacting the assessor’s office at 477-3698.

The second address is the taxpayer address and is used by the treasurer to address tax bills. Questions/corrections to taxpayer address can be handled by contacting the treasurer’s office at 477-4713.

You can create a request to update the owner or taxpayer name or address online using our Parcel Information Change Form.


Why do my property lines not line up with the aerial photo and/or street centerlines?

The data used on the interactive Parcel Viewer comes from various sources and it does not always align perfectly.


Back
to
Top