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Common Questions

Common Questions


The King County Tax Advisor is available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about your tax assessment. The Advisor, who is independent from the assessor's office, will also help you if you decide to appeal your assessment.

For more information, call 206-477-1060.

Common Questions


Your taxes are based on more than just the assessed value of your property. Depending on where you live, the specific taxes levied in your area, and local real estate values, it's possible that while the appraised value of your home has decreased, your taxes have increased.

That's because about half of your property tax is determined by the levies that you and your neighbors have approved for such services as schools, parks, water districts, emergency medical service and fire/rescue, among others. If these levies stay the same or increase from the year before, your property taxes may increase. Similarly, if other valuations decrease more than yours, your taxes may also increase.

Only 17 cents of every property tax dollar supports the King County General Fund. The other 83 cents are divided between the State, Cities and other local jurisdictions.

There are 165 local taxing districts in King County, and breakdowns of the levies that affect you are included in your specific tax bill.

Please call us at 206-296-7300 if you have any questions.

Under Washington state law, two types of property can be assessed and taxed:

  1. Real property (real estate) which is land, improvements attached to the land (buildings, etc.) and improvements to the land (bulkheads, etc.) Click here for more details.
  2. Personal property, meaning assets used in the operation of a business, such as machinery, equipment, signs, office furniture, fixtures and supplies, as well as materials used in the operation of a commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprise. Click here for more details.

Each year, our accredited appraisers assess your property at its full market value using one or all of three approaches: Market (comparable sales), Cost (reproduction or replacement cost, less depreciation) or Income (income or capitalization of economic rents).

An Official Property Value Notice is mailed each time we revalue your property. It shows both the previous and the new values.

Each February, you or your mortgage company (if you have an escrow account) will be mailed a tax bill for each property you own. It will show the amount of taxes due for that year. You can also click here, type in your account number (also known as the parcel number) and view the amount of taxes you owe.

State law requires that assessors value real and personal property at 100% of "true and fair" value which Washington State courts have interpreted as fair market value.

The amount you pay depends on the cost of state and local government, including schools, roads, parks, libraries, hospitals, city and county government, as well as your local taxing districts such as port district, fire districts and sewer districts. A large part of each property tax dollar goes to pay off construction bonds for school buildings and other public projects.

The state constitution and state legislature set statutory levy limits and voters approve excess levies to fund local projects or services, such as additional school levies, fire protection, sewage treatment, etc. For detailed information on levy limits, click here.

If you are a senior citizen or disabled you qualify for an exemption if:

  • you have a total annual household income of $35,000 or less
  • you are 61 years of age or older by December 31 of the year for which you are applying or
  • you are retired because of physical disability or
  • you are a widow, or widower, or state registered domestic partner at least 57 years of age whose spouse or state registered domestic partner had an exemption at time of death

If you are a senior citizen or disabled you qualify for a deferral if:

  • you have a combined disposable income of $40,000 or less
  • you are at least 60 years old by the end of the year when you apply or
  • you are retired because of a disability

If your income is $57,000 or less, you may be able to defer 25 percent of your property taxes:

  • you must have owned your property for five years and
  • you must have paid the first half of your property taxes for the year
  • If you qualify, you can defer 50 percent of the second half of your property taxes. The application deadline is September 1 of each year. The deferred taxes, plus 7 percent interest, become a lien on your property. For more information, call 206-263-2323 or get more detailed information in this publication (.PDF, 1,539KB). You can also download an application here (.DOC, external link).

First, call us at 206-296-7300 or email us at
If you feel we have made an error in the characteristics of your property, you can request that the data be reviewed or explained by an appraiser and an Assessment Review can be initiated.

If you wish to appeal the new appraised value of your property, you must file a petition with the King County Board of Equalization (BOE) no later than July 1 of the assessment year or within 60 days from the mailing date on the front of the Official Property Value Notice, whichever is later. A separate appeal must be filed each year to protect your appeal rights, as past or pending appeals should not be assumed to affect the value on your most recent notice. For information and/or petition forms, please visit the BOE's website at or call the BOE at (206) 296-3496. Additional assistance can be provided by contacting the King County Property Tax Advisory at 206-263-9700.