Current Use Programs
The Open Space Taxation Act, enacted in 1970, allows property owners to have their open space, farm and agricultural lands and Timber Land valued at their current use rather than at 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 its citizens.
The law provides for three classifications:
- Farm and Agricultural
- Public Benefit Rating System (also known as Open Space & Open Space PBRS)
- Timber Land (all new applicants are now in Designated Forest Land)
Upon removal of the classification, an additional tax, interest and penalty shall be imposed which shall be due and payable to the county treasurer thirty days after removal or upon sale or transfer, unless the new owner has signed the Notice of Continuance.
Washington State Department of Revenue Current Use Information PBRS: https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/Docs/Pubs/Prop_Tax/OpenSpace.pdf
Farm and Agriculture
Application: Click here
Open Space or Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS) Timber Land
Open Space or Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS) encourage voluntary resource conservation on private property. Each is guided by different program objectives, requirements and criteria for enrollment. PBRS is better suited for landowners wanting to protect or restore open space resources on their property. Land set aside for the enjoyment and social well-being of the state and its citizens includes natural resources, historic properties, and other property that supports enhancing or preserving property for the common good. Public Benefit Rating System (also known as Open Space) is administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Parks.
For more information on this program click here.
Any parcel of land five or more acres or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total five or more acres which is or are devoted primarily to the growth and harvest of timber for commercial purposes. Timber land means the land only and does not include a residential homesite. (all new applicants are now in Designated Forest Land)
Designated Forest Land
Designated Forest Land, RCW 84.33, is for land consisting of five or more contiguous acres devoted to the commercial growth and harvest of trees. Land participating in this program must be devoted primarily to the growth, harvest, and management of forest crops for commercial purposes and must be managed according to an approved forest management plan. For more information on how to obtain a forest management plan, please refer to the county’s Forest Stewardship Planning webpage. Obtain the required Forest Stewardship Plan from a private professional forester or you can participate in a Forest Stewardship Class with instruction and personalized coaching from natural resource professionals to assist you in writing your own plan. In King County these classes are offered in cooperation with Washington State University Extension and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. For Designated Forest Land the application must be accompanied by a Forest Management plan and a description of the area that does not qualify, such as, a residential site, pasture, business, etc.
Application: Click here
How to Apply
Applications for Farm & Agriculture and Designated Forest Land are available online or by calling (206) 263-2374.
Completed applications should be submitted to the Assessor’s office located at:
King County Department of Assessments
King County Administration Building
500 Fourth Avenue, Room 725
Seattle, WA 98101-2384
Appealing the Denial of Farm & Agricultural or Designated Forest Land Application
The owner may appeal the Assessor’s denial to the King County Board of Appeals. The appeal must be filed with the Board within 60 days after the mailing of the notice of denial.
Sales of properties in Current Use or Designated Forest Land
If you are purchasing a property which is currently in any of the Current Use or Designated Forest Land Programs you must:
- Contact the Department of Assessments at 206 263-2374.
- Submit a Notice of Continuance, which will also include a statement that explains how the new owner intends to use the land and will have signatures from all parties which will have an interest in the land.
- Properties in PBRS Open Space and Timber Land must visit the link below, complete the form and submit it, you will receive a call within five business days. https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/stewardship/sustainable-building/resource-protection-incentives/pbrs-timberland-sales-form.aspx
RCW 84.34 (3) (a) After receiving all required documentation, the assessor is allowed up to fifteen calendar days to determine whether the land should retain its classified status or whether the land should be removed from classification as of the date of conveyance.
The Current Use Specialist must sign off on ALL Excise Tax Affidavit in Section 6 line 1 and the buyers must sign on line 3