If you are starting up a business, please complete the New Business Set-Up form to set up your personal property tax account.
In Washington State, both real and personal property are assessed for property tax purposes. Personal property refers to assets used in conducting a business. The chief characteristic distinguishing personal property from real property is mobility, meaning it can be moved from one place to another.
Unless specifically exempt, all tangible personal property is taxable, including items such as:
- office equipment, communication equipment, supplies and materials not held for sale or not components of a product
- tools, furniture, rugs and fixtures used in a business
- leased or rented equipment, leasehold and tenant improvements, and lessee-owned improvements on public land
- machinery and equipment used in agriculture, construction, manufacturing and logging
- signs, billboards, poster panels, display samples not held for sale
- commercial vessels not subject to excise tax, off road vehicles, drag racers and similar competition vehicles not licensed
- rental video tapes, discs and game cartridges
- boathouses, portable buildings and office trailers
Exempt personal property includes household goods and personal effects, unless used in a business, custom software, livestock, inventories held solely for resale and intangible personal property such as money, franchise agreements, personal service contracts, patents, copyrights, customer lists, brand names, licenses and intellectual property.
In addition, sole proprietors are eligible for a $15,000 Head of Household exemption deducted from the business's total assessed value.
An exemption for certain farm equipment is also available using this form (.DOC, external link).
Finally, some real estate and/or personal property is exempt from property tax based on its use or ownership. A detailed summary of exemptions is provided on pages 1-49 of this Department of Revenue report (.PDF, external link).
More details on types of personal property, available exemptions, and the assessment process are provided in the Department of Revenue's publication, Personal Property Tax (.PDF, external link).
Personal property assessments are based on information provided by taxpayers on a personal property listing form, where you provide a description of the personal property, its cost and year of acquisition. We use this information and the Department of Revenue personal property valuation guidelines to determine value, taking into consideration the type of property, its cost and age.
If your business does not have a personal property account number, you can complete an initial form by clicking here (.DOC). If your business has a personal property account number and needs another listing or if you have questions about how to complete the form, please contact us at 206-296-5126 or by e-mail at Personal.Property@kingcounty.gov.
Personal property forms for existing accounts are mailed or electronically transmitted the first of each year and must be returned by April 30. Filing extensions are not granted and a tax penalty of 5 percent per month will be applied to listings received after the deadline, up a maximum of 25 percent of the tax due. The assessor may waive the penalty if the late filing is due to reasonable cause.
When the listing is processed and your property valued and entered on the assessment roll, a Personal Property Assessment Notice will be mailed to you showing the assessed value used to calculate your personal property tax.
This notice shows the assessed value that will be used to calculate the tax bill for your property. If you have any questions about how this value was determined, please call us at 206-296-5126 or email us at Personal.Property@kingcounty.gov.
You can file an appeal if you believe your assessment is excessive or incorrect. Appeals must be filed with the county's Board of Equalization within 60 days of the mail date on the front of your value change notice. Appeals filed after this date will not be accepted. The appeal deadline is shown on your Valuation Notice.
If you have decided to sell or close your business, please contact us to obtain an Advance Tax Request form (.PDF). This form provides us with information we need to update the business account with the new owner's information or to cancel the account if the business is closing. This will ensure that the final tax bill is sent to the appropriate person.