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Frequently Asked Questions
about Property Taxes

Note: The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and Washington Administrative Code (WAC) may be referenced by their acronyms in the answers below.

» Payment Information
» General Information
» Exemption Information
» Assessed-Value Information


Payment Information

  1. Where can I pay property taxes in person?
  2. What are the payment deadlines and late payment penalties?
  3. Do I need a tax statement to make my payment?
  4. I want to protest the tax I owe. How can I do so?
  5. Why haven't I received my statement?
  6. May I use my credit card to pay my taxes, or may I pay taxes on the Internet?
  7. I won't be able to pay my first half tax by April 30. What will happen then?
  8. I have had some hardships lately. Can an extension be granted for more time to pay taxes?
  9. What are omit (omitted) taxes?
  10. My mortgage company should pay my taxes. What shall I do?
  11. My mortgage company receives my tax information. How do I get a copy of my tax statement?
  12. Where can I mail my property-tax payment?
  13. May I pay my 2005 property taxes in 2004?

General Information

  1. How do I find my parcel/account number?
  2. How do I change my mailing address or name on my statement?
  3. When does foreclosure begin, and what does it involve?
  4. What are personal property taxes?
  5. I just bought this property, but you have sent me a tax statement that includes several years past due taxes. Isn't the previous owner responsible for the delinquent taxes?
  6. I've sold this property. What should I do with the statement?
  7. Why are you just notifying me now that my taxes have been delinquent for several years?
  8. What is a fire benefit charge (FBC)?
  9. What is noxious weed control?
  10. What is a drainage district?
  11. How do I find out about the surface water management fee?
  12. This is a worthless piece of land and I do not want it. Will my credit suffer if I just let it go to foreclosure sale?
  13. Links to other sites.
  14. Where can I telephone for more information?
  15. Who do I contact if I receive an error message on Tax Information Page?

Exemption Information

  1. Can senior and disabled property owners receive a property-tax deductions?
  2. I plan to make home improvements: Can I get an exemption from taxes on the value of the improvements?
  3. I applied for a senior citizens/disabled persons exemption but it is not reflected on my tax statement. What happened?
  4. This is the first time I have ever received a senior citizens/disabled persons exemption. Why did I receive two statements?

Assessed-Value Information

  1. My property has been damaged: Can I get a reduction in assessed-value and taxes?
  2. What can I do if I disagree with my assessed value?
  3. How do I find out information about my assessed value? How was my assessed-value determined?

Question: HOW DO I FIND MY PARCEL/ACCOUNT NUMBER?

Answer: Your tax account or parcel number is located on your Property Tax Statement or Assessor's Valuation Change Notice. You can also access it by calling the Department of Assessment's public information section at (206) 296-7300. You may also go to the County iMap site at http://www.metrokc.gov/gis/mapportal/PViewer_main.htm. After obtaining the number, enter it on the Property Tax Information site at http://webapp.metrokc.gov/KCTaxinfo/.

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Question: WHERE CAN I MAIL MY PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT?

Answer: To make a payment by mail, detach remittance stub and mail to:

King County Treasury
500 Fourth Avenue, Room 600
Seattle, WA 98104
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QUESTION: MAY I PAY MY 2005 PROPERTY TAXES IN 2004?

Answer: Washington State law (RCW 84.56.010) specifies the collection dates for property taxes and does not allow county treasurers to collect 2005 property taxes until February 15, 2005. Thus, you may not pay the 2005 taxes prior to February 15, 2005.

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Question: WHERE CAN I PAY PROPERTY TAXES IN PERSON?

Answer: Payments by check and in cash may be made in person at:

  • King County Treasury Operations, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Payments by check only may be made in person at the following locations (click on the link for location and hours):

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Question: WHERE CAN I TELEPHONE FOR MORE INFORMATION?

Answer: The following telephone numbers will lead you to further information.

Toll Free (800) 325-6165
Automated Tax Information System (206) 296-0923
Personal Property Tax Information (206) 296-4290
Property Tax Information (206) 296-3850
King County Surface Water Charge (206) 296-6519
Noxious Weed and Conservation District Charge (206) 296-0290 and
(206) 764-3410
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Question: WHO DO I CONTACT IF I RECEIVE AN ERROR MESSAGE ON TAX INFORMATION PAGE?

Answer: If you encounter a technical problem while using this site, please click the “Comments” link below and include the property tax parcel/account number, browser type, date and time of error, and the text of the error message. This information will assist the technology staff assigned to resolve these errors.

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Question: WHAT ARE THE PAYMENT DEADLINES AND LATE PAYMENT PENALTIES?

Answer: First half taxes must be paid or postmarked (U.S. postal Service postmark) by April 30 or the full year tax becomes delinquent on May 1. Interest is 1 percent per month on the full amount due (from month of delinquency to month of payment). Penalty is 3 percent (current year tax only) on amount unpaid on June 1, and 8 percent (current year tax only) on amount unpaid on Dec. 1. Second half taxes must be paid or postmarked (U.S. postal Service postmark) by Oct. 31 or they become delinquent on Nov. 1.
(RCW 84.56.020)

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Question: DO I NEED A TAX STATEMENT TO MAKE MY PAYMENT?

Answer: If you know the correct amount to pay, it is not necessary to have a tax statement accompany your payment. Make the check payable to the King County Treasury and mail it to 500 4th Avenue, Room 600, Seattle WA 98104. Write your tax account/parcel number on the check and make sure it is postmarked by the due date.

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Question: CAN SENIOR AND DISABLED PROPERTY OWNERS RECEIVE A PROPERTY-TAX DEDUCTION?

Answer: If your annual income does not exceed $35,000 and you own and reside in your home, including mobile homes, you may be entitled to a property tax reduction. You must be at least 61 years of age or, if under 61 years, retired because of a disability and unable to work. Property taxes may be deferred under certain conditions. For details, see this, or call the Department of Assessments at (206) 296-3920.

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Question: WHEN DOES FORECLOSURE BEGIN, AND WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?

Answer: Real property with a tax that is three or more years delinquent is subject to foreclosure after April 30. To redeem the property after foreclosure proceedings begin, all years’ taxes, interest, penalties and administrative costs must be paid. For further information, please call (206) 296-4184. Senior citizen and disabled property owners may qualify for deferral from foreclosure.
(RCW 84.64)

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Question: WHAT ARE PERSONAL PROPERTY TAXES?

Answer: Personal property taxes are a lien upon all business assets assessed from Jan. 1 of the prior year until they are paid. First half personal property tax payments are due on or before April 30. If not paid by April 30, the property becomes subject to Distraint (seizure) as provided by RCW 84.56.070. Personal property tax payments made after April 30 require payment of the full current year amount plus interest and penalty. For details, see this.

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Question: MY PROPERTY HAS BEEN DAMAGED: CAN I GET A REDUCTION IN ASSESSED-VALUE AND TAXES?

Answer: If your property is damaged or destroyed, you may be eligible for a reduction in your assessed-value and taxes. For details, see this, or call the Department of Assessments at (206) 296-5151.

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Question: I PLAN TO MAKE HOME IMPROVEMENTS: CAN I GET AN EXEMPTION FROM TAXES ON THE VALUE OF THE IMPROVEMENTS?

Answer: If you improve your single family residence by adding new rooms, decks, patios or other improvements, you may apply for a three-year exemption from taxes on the value of the physical improvement. You must apply for the exemption before construction is complete. For details, please call the Department of Assessments at (206) 296-7300 or see this.

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Question: I WANT TO PROTEST THE TAX I OWE. HOW CAN I DO SO?

Answer: If you believe this tax is unlawful or excessive and wish to preserve your right to seek a refund in court, you must, at the time you pay the tax, provide a separate written statement (1) saying that you are paying the tax or a portion thereof under protest, and (2) stating all of the reasons why you believe the tax paid under protest is unlawful or excessive. RCW 84.68.020

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Question: WHY HAVEN'T I RECEIVED MY STATEMENT?

Answer: If a mortgage company pays your taxes, the payment information is forwarded to the company per its request. If a mortgage company does not pay your taxes and you have not received a statement by March 1, a copy may be obtained by calling the Treasury Operations, Property Tax Office at (206) 296-0923 or requesting the statement from the Property-Tax Information System website. It is also advisable to confirm your mailing address in the event you find it necessary to request a statement.

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Question: I'VE SOLD THIS PROPERTY. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE STATEMENT?

Answer: The tax statement may either be forwarded to the purchaser or returned to the Treasury Operations. If you choose to return the statement please note the purchaser's name and address for our records.

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Question: MAY I USE MY CREDIT CARD TO PAY MY TAXES, OR MAY I PAY TAXES ON THE INTERNET?

Answer: At this time we only accept Discover Card. There is a fee associated with using Discover Card and you must come into the County Administration Building office and pay in person. An Internet payment process is not available.

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Question: I WON'T BE ABLE TO PAY MY FIRST HALF TAX BY APRIL 30TH. WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN?

Answer: On May 1, interest at 1 percent per month will be charged against the full year tax owing. In addition to the interest, on June 1, a 3 percent penalty will be charged against the full year tax owing and on Dec. 1, another 8 percent penalty will be charged against the full year tax. Although interest continues to accrue as long as the tax remains delinquent, the penalty is assessed against the current year tax and for that year will not rise above a total of 11 percent (3 percent after May 31 and an additional 8 percent after Nov. 30). (RCW 84.56.020.) These interest and penalty amounts apply to both real and personal property, however the full year personal property amounts plus interest and/or penalties and collection costs must be paid if the first-half payment is not paid/postmarked by April 30. You may still pay the first half payment of a real property tax plus interest and penalties up through the Oct. 31st, second-half tax-payment deadline.

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Question: I HAVE HAD SOME HARDSHIPS LATELY. CAN AN EXTENSION BE GRANTED FOR MORE TIME TO PAY TAXES?

Answer: All counties are governed by the laws of the State of Washington. Extensions cannot be granted due to hardship or any other extenuating circumstance.

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Question: WHAT ARE OMIT (OMITTED) TAXES?

Answer: Omit taxes are for improvements to the property to which value should have been assessed in prior years but wasn’t (for example, a new house). Omitted assessments are applicable for up to three prior years. Taxes are based on the assessed value and levy rate appropriate for each prior year.

If your tax statement has the following information on the payment coupon you have an "omit":

RY

01

OY

99

In this example the omit was billed for the first time in February 2001. Taxpayers are given an extra year to pay the omitted taxes. In this example, you are allowed to pay the first half omitted tax amount by April 30, 2002 and the balance by Oct. 31, 2002. If the payment were made in this manner, there would not be any delinquency charges. If you want to pay earlier you may do so.

Remember this payment delay only applies to the omit year. The regular (non-omitted) taxes must be paid as they become due in April and October of the current year

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Question: MY MORTGAGE COMPANY SHOULD PAY MY TAXES. WHAT SHALL I DO?

Answer: It is always the responsibility of the taxpayer to ensure that taxes are paid in a timely manner. Visit the Property Tax Information System website or dial (206) 296-0923 to be sure the taxes are current. If you have made arrangements with a mortgage company to pay taxes for you and if the mortgage company requests your tax information, we will send it the information.

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Question: MY MORTGAGE COMPANY RECEIVES MY TAX INFORMATION. HOW DO I GET A COPY OF MY TAX STATEMENT?

Answer: An informational statement may be obtained by contacting the Treasury Operations at (206) 296-0923 or requesting the statement from the Property Tax Information System website .

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Question: I JUST BOUGHT THIS PROPERTY, BUT YOU HAVE SENT ME A TAX STATEMENT THAT INCLUDES SEVERAL YEARS PAST DUE TAXES. ISN'T THE PREVIOUS OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DELINQUENT TAXES?

Answer: No, taxes follow the property, not the taxpayer. The county does not foreclose on people, only parcels. It is your responsibility to ascertain the condition of taxes before you purchase the property.

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Question: WHY ARE YOU JUST NOTIFYING ME NOW THAT MY TAXES HAVE BEEN DELINQUENT FOR SEVERAL YEARS?

Answer: The office sends out a tax statement to the last known address of the taxpayer each February. The statement lists current and delinquent taxes owing. If you have not received a tax statement, or simply want to know amount due, call the office at (206) 296-0923 or request one via the Property Tax Information System website. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to provide address change information.

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Question: HOW DO I CHANGE MY MAILING ADDRESS OR NAME ON MY STATEMENT?

Answer: An address change can be accomplished in person at the above listed address or by sending the information to King County Treasury Operations, ATTN: Name & Address Change, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104. Please include the following information in your change request: Tax account/parcel number, previous name and address (if known), and new mailing name and address information. Please sign and date your request. We do not need copies of deeds or other legal documents.

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Question: WHAT IS A FIRE BENEFIT CHARGE (FBC)?

Answer: This is a separate charge from the fire district for fire protection services. FBC is voted on by the taxpayers in the district.

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Question: WHAT IS NOXIOUS WEED CONTROL?

Answer: The noxious weed charge is an assessment to fund the Noxious Weed Control Board. Their function is to educate the public about controlling noxious weeds. It is illegal for noxious weeds to be allowed to grow. If the property owner does not control the noxious weeds, the Board may have the weeds destroyed and then place a lien on the property for expenses incurred. The Noxious Weed Control Board may be reached at (206) 296-0290.

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Question: WHAT IS A DRAINAGE DISTRICT?

Answer: The function of a drainage district is to maintain the drainage ditches and pump stations at flood gates, etc. in the tax area. The assessment charge is to fund the drainage district in your tax area. Additional questions should be directed to your drainage-district commissioner.

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Question: HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT THE SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT FEE?

Answer: If your property is in the City of Seattle, call (206) 684-5800, for all other areas call King County at (206) 296-6519.

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Question: I APPLIED FOR A SENIOR CITIZENS/DISABLED PERSONS EXEMPTION BUT IT IS NOT REFLECTED ON MY TAX STATEMENT? WHAT HAPPENED?

Answer: Please contact the King County Department of Assessments, Senior Citizens/Disabled Persons Exemption Section at (206) 296-3920 to obtain information about your application.

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Question: THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER RECEIVED A SENIOR CITIZENS/DISABLED PERSONS EXEMPTION. WHY DID I RECEIVE TWO STATEMENTS?

Answer: The Senior Citizens/Disabled Persons Exemption applies only to one acre of land and residence. If you received two statements, one of the following circumstances should apply to you: 1) The property for which you are being taxed consists of more than one acre. 2) The property for which you are being taxed is a multi-family unit or has an additional home (only the unit which the owner resides in qualifies for the exemption). If none of the above listed circumstances apply or you wish to obtain more information, you may call the King County Department of Assessments, Senior Citizens/Disabled Persons Exemption Section at (206) 296-3920 for assistance.

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Question: WHAT CAN I DO IF I DISAGREE WITH MY ASSESSED VALUE?

Answer: If you feel a mistake has been made in valuing your property, contact the Department of Assessments at (206) 296-7300 or see this. You may also file a valuation appeal by contacting the King County Board of Equalization at (206) 296-3496.

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Question: THIS IS A WORTHLESS PIECE OF LAND AND I DO NOT WANT IT. WILL MY CREDIT SUFFER IF I JUST LET IT GO TO FORECLOSURE SALE?

Answer: Delinquent tax information is not reported to any credit bureau. Your name will appear in the foreclosure notice of delinquent taxes in the Legal Notices column of The Seattle Times.

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Question: HOW DO I FIND OUT INFORMATION ABOUT MY ASSESSED VALUE? HOW WAS MY ASSESSED-VALUE DETERMINED?

Answer: You can look up your property's assessed value online, using the Property Information System. For further information, contact the Department of Assessments by calling (206) 296-7300 or visiting their website.

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Links to other sites:

Updated: October 10, 2003


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