Property owners in King County are receiving property valuation notices from the county Assessor’s Office. For most homeowners, it means a double-digit increase from their last notice, while owners of commercial properties will see little change.
Notices are being mailed out over the next several months to all 720,000 residential and commercial property owners countywide. Counties are required by state law to adjust property values every year to reflect market sales.
Upon receiving a notice of valuation, a property owner has 60 days to appeal their new value. Higher values do not directly relate to potential tax increases, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.
Property values are currently being set as of January 1, 2021. These values are applied to the 2022 tax bill, explained Wilson. He emphasized taxing districts around the county determine property taxes, not the Department of Assessments.
Even though property values rose by about 9 percent for the 2022 tax year, the increase in the total amount of property taxes to be collected in King County will be a modest 3 percent. Wilson said that is because voter approved levies, and not rising property values, are the primary drivers of property tax increases.
Of valuations that have been updated, the sharpest increases tend to be for homes on the Eastside, in many cases mirroring statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. In many Eastside communities, the adjustments are higher than 30%. These areas include Bothell, Carnation/Fall City, Hunts Point, Kenmore, Mercer Island, North Bend/Snoqualmie, and Yarrow Point.
Valuations in Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, and Bellevue are up around 45%, according to the county Department of Assessments. For homeowners on south Sammamish Plateau, the bump-up amounted to 52%.
Since values in Eastside communities are outgaining most other areas, Wilson said owners in those communities will likely assume a greater proportionate share of the tax burden.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service reports show the area-wide median value for single family homes that sold in King County during April jumped nearly 20% from a year ago, rising from $830,000 to $995,000. Homes in North King County had the smallest increase, at 5.2%. Vashon sales price rose nearly 10.8%, followed by the Southwest part of King County (up 14.8%), Seattle (up 16.6%), Southeast King (up 23.6%) and the Eastside (up 32.5%).
A property’s location and assessed value influence taxes, along with the number of jurisdictions levying taxes. State, city, county, school district, port and fire district levies can contribute to increases.
“Residential property values have continued to rise during the COVID 19 pandemic, partly driven by a lack of housing inventory,” said Wilson. “Still, it is important to remember that voter approved levies, and not the value of your property, is the primary cause of increased property taxes.”
Local governments may not increase property tax collections by more than 1% per year without voter approval. That restriction does not apply to voter approved levies.
About 57% of property tax revenues collected in King County in 2022 will pay for schools, according to information from the County Assessor. Voter-approved measures for veterans and seniors, fire protection and parks are also funded by property taxes. About 17% of tax payments are used by King County for roads, police, criminal justice, public health, elections, parks, and other services.
King County collects property taxes on behalf of the state, the county, cities, and taxing districts (such as school and fire districts) and distributes the revenue to these local governments.
Information from the Assessor’s office indicate overall, countywide property tax collections for the 2022 tax year are $6.79 billion, an increase of $190 million (up 3%) over last year’s total of $6.6 billion. Total County property values jumped more than 9%, from $659.5 billion to $722.5 billion.
RESOURCES FOR TAXPAYERS
4-minute video explaining how property taxes are calculated
Tax Transparency Tool for reviewing tax distribution for a property. Search by address or Parcel ID #.
Tax relief. Multi-lingual information for seniors, persons with disabilities, and disabled veterans. Applications may be made online or by mail.
Tax Advisor Office. This division of the King County Office of the Ombuds is independent of the County Assessor’s Office to provide advice and assistance on tax related matters including appeals.
2021 vs 2022 Property Tax Bills and Residential Median Values by City