Current use taxation programs
Resource protection programs in King County
Interactive map of PBRS and Timber Land participating parcels
There are four 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.
Two of these programs, the Public Benefit Rating System (also known as Open Space) and the Timber Land program are 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 four programs have an annual deadline of December 31st to apply, each program has different requirements and criteria for enrollment.
Public Benefit Rating System & Timber Land Programs
Department of Natural Resources and Parks
The Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS) and Timber Land programs 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, Timber Land focuses on the sustainable management of commercial timber stands. There are over 1,405 landowners and 14,260 acres currently participating in these two programs.
The Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS): 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.
Timber Land: program enrollment requires a property have between five and twenty acres of manageable forestland, and be zoned RA, F or A. 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 stewardship plan. For more information on how to obtain a forest stewardship plan, please refer to the county’s Forest Stewardship Planning webpage.
Want to Apply?
PBRS Application Materials
To access a fillable form of the application that can be downloaded, click HERE (please note that the form will not download properly using Internet Explorer). The signed, notarized original application and supporting documents must be mailed to program staff as detailed on pages 1 and 2 of the 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).
Forestland: this program is similar to Timber Land but is for property containing more than twenty 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
Designated Forest Application - Multiple Ownership