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Current use taxation programs

Current use taxation programs

Resource protection programs in King County

Interactive map - King County Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS)

Interactive map of PBRS participating parcels

There are three current use taxation programs in King County that offer an incentive (a property tax reduction) to landowners to voluntarily preserve open space, farmland or forestland on their property.  Once enrolled, a participating property is assessed at a “current use” value, which is lower than the “highest and best use” assessment value that would otherwise apply to the property.  These programs encourage the conservation of natural resources in King County by conserving its land and water resources, which include important wildlife habitat, wetland and streams, working forests and productive farmlands.  

One of these programs, the Public Benefit Rating System (also known as Open Space) is administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Parks.  The Forestland and the Farm and Agricultural land programs are administered by the Department of Assessments.  Enrollment in any of these programs requires the filing of an application and subsequent approval.   While all three programs have an annual deadline of December 31st to apply, each program has different requirements and criteria for enrollment.  

Public Benefit Rating System Program
Department of Natural Resources and Parks

The Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS) program encourages voluntary resource conservation on private property.  PBRS is best suited for landowners wanting to protect or restore open space resources on their property.  There are over 1,450 landowners and 14,200 acres currently participating in this program.

Forest photo

PBRS enrollment and associated tax savings are based on a point system.  Points are awarded for each PBRS resource category a property    qualifies for (such as protecting buffers to streams and wetlands, ground water protection, preserving significant wildlife habitat, conserving farmland and native forestland, preserving historic landmarks and more).  The total points awarded for a property’s PBRS resources translate into a 50% to 90% reduction in the land assessed value for the portion of the property enrolled.  For more information on each qualifying resource category and program specifics, please refer to the Resource Information document.


Bill Bernstein
PBRS Coordinator
Megan (O'Brian) Kim
Program Analyst

Want to Apply?

PBRS Application Materials

Open our fillable form to apply.  The signed, notarized original application and supporting documents must be mailed to program staff as detailed on pages 1 and 2 of the application. 

Open Space Resource Information

Also known as "Open Space" Resource Information

Open Space Application

Also known as "Open Space" Application

Farm and Agricultural Lands & Designated Forest Land Programs Department of Assessments


For landowners who own revenue generating farm property or larger commercial forests, there are two programs that also offer financial incentives similar to PBRS and Timber Land. Farm and Agricultural Land: for land used for the production of livestock or agricultural commodities for commercial purposes.  There are financial requirements for enrollment, which are dependent on the size of the land and the gross annual revenue received for the land for three out of the past five years (please refer to RCW 84.34.020 for more details).

 for property containing five or more acres of eligible forestland primarily devoted to the growth and harvest of timber (please refer to RCW 84.33 and the Washington State Department of Revenue’s Designated Forestland publication for more details).

King County Assessor's Office,
Forestland and Farm and Agriculture

Want to Apply?

Farm and Agricultural Land and Designated Forest Land Applications

Farm and Agricultural Land Application

Farm and Agricultural Land Application

Designated Forest Application - Same Ownership

Designated Forest Application - Same Ownership

Designated Forest Application - Multiple Ownership

Designated Forest Application - Multiple Ownership