For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2021
Treasurer applauds passage of legislation to significantly reduce delinquent property tax penalty & interest.
Spokane County, WA – Treasurer of Spokane County Michael Baumgartner applauded the passage of ESHB 1410 which significantly reduces the amount of penalty and interest paid on delinquent property taxes. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Volz, who also serves as Chief Deputy Treasurer, passed the State House of Representatives unanimously today and with the Governor’s signature will take effect January 1, 2022.
Under current state law, a delinquent property tax bill is charged an annual 23% penalty and interest fee with 1% interest assessed monthly and a 3% and 8% penalty charged in June and December respectively. ESHB 1410 as it passed the legislature over a phased adoption will reduce the amount of penalty and interest charged to most homeowners from 23% to 9% by 2023.
“Chief Deputy Treasurer Mike Volz deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his advocacy to protect homeowners from tax foreclosure.” Said Treasurer Michael Baumgartner “For too long, county government has balanced budgets based on taxpayers doing the wrong thing and falling behind on their taxes. This legislation is a step towards reducing the tax burden on the most vulnerable taxpayers.”
State usury law allows an exception for delinquent property tax payments. Collected penalty and interest fees are retained by the county general fund. In recent years, the amount of delinquent property tax penalty collected in Spokane County has been between $1.2 million to $1.6 million.
“I have continued to bring this bill forward in the legislature due to the extreme impact it has on the most vulnerable. I am pleased to have received bi-partisan support this session and now have the bill pass the legislature and be headed to the Governor for signature.” said Chief Deputy Treasurer Mike Volz.
Citizens and advocacy groups shared stories with the legislature about taxpayers falling behind due to medical issues, job loss, family deaths, amongst other tragedies. The penalty and interest added on past due taxes was cited as putting taxpayers at risk of tax foreclosure and homelessness.
“This law will have an immediate impact on struggling homeowners next year and will go a long way in helping keep citizens out of tax foreclosure.” Added Volz.