Trouble paying property taxes? Income threshold going up for tax-relief eligibility

From the King County Assessor’s Office:

King County Assessor John Wilson announced today that low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and disabled veterans, with 2019 annual incomes below $58,423 may be eligible for property tax relief in 2020 under guidelines published today by the state Department of Revenue. The previous threshold had been $40,000.

Applications for the expanded programs will be available in January 2020.

The change is the result of passage of ESSB 5160, sponsored by Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45th LD), during the 2019 legislative session. The bill significantly expands the number of people eligible for the existing property tax exemption and deferral programs by replacing the statewide $40,000 threshold with an income level equal to 65% of the county median income. In King County that threshold is $58,423.

“This legislation is literally going to help people stay in their homes,” said Assessor Wilson. “Beginning with next year’s taxes, tens of thousands of our neighbors will get the help they need.”

ESSB 5160 expands the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs for low-income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and disabled veterans, beginning with taxes levied for collection in 2020. It also lowers the disability rating necessary to qualify as a disabled veteran for exemption program from a 100 percent rating to an 80 percent rating.

The Assessor’s website includes the latest information on implementation of these programs.

23 Replies to "Trouble paying property taxes? Income threshold going up for tax-relief eligibility"

  • Karen July 24, 2019 (5:00 pm)

    So thankful to see this!  I think we won’t have to sell now.

  • jack July 24, 2019 (5:34 pm)

    “This legislation is literally going to help people stay in their homes,” said Assessor Wilson. “Beginning with next year’s taxes, tens of thousands of our neighbors will get the help they need.”  Well at least someone in Government realises property tax is squeezing a lot of  people and even  more people over the new threshold.  But wait, more taxes are about to be voted in.  

  • Peter July 24, 2019 (5:37 pm)

    And don’t forget to vote for the property tax increases on your ballot!

  • Mj July 24, 2019 (5:48 pm)

    Deferrals are more equitable to other taxpayers.  

  • Scrappy July 24, 2019 (7:16 pm)

    Thank you WS Blog for the information. I checked all three major local television networks online this evening and found nothing in regards to this matter. I really appreciate your efforts to keep ‘Joe citizen’ informed. You rock!

    • WSB July 24, 2019 (7:54 pm)

      Thanks. I have seen and heard assessor’s reps bemoan the lack of public awareness about the tax relief in general so when this news release came in, it was an obvious go!

  • Bradley July 24, 2019 (7:19 pm)

    That just means those struggling at a dollar more that $58,423 are still going to lose their homes. We need real, across-the-board tax relief in Olympia.

    • Nolan July 25, 2019 (1:49 pm)

      The only way we’re going to get real tax relief is by amending the state constitution to explicitly allow income and capital gains taxation with progressive brackets. Until that happens, we’re going to be stuck funding essential programs from property and sales taxes that hurt low-income families the most. The incremental property tax relief is a good step, but keep in mind why we’re in this mess in the first place.

      • Bradley July 25, 2019 (4:42 pm)

        I grew up in a state with an income tax (California) and EVERY worker pays it, even minimum wage workers living in crowded apartments. California is the #1 highest tax state in the nation. Seattle is 26th. An income tax would quickly spread down to the middle-class and struggling-class and property taxes would still skyrocket. We must fight an income tax like the plague.

        • Nolan July 25, 2019 (7:24 pm)

          Are you trying to say that an income tax is bad because everyone who has an income pays it? Do you know what sales and property taxes even are?If you want equitable taxation, income and capital gains taxes (with progressive brackets) are the only way to get there. Otherwise, you’re just fighting to subsidize millionaires with your money, and they really don’t need the help.

          • Bradley July 25, 2019 (9:01 pm)

            If you want to pay an income tax AND high property taxes, you’re completely free to move to California or any other income-taxed state. California leads the nation in poverty and has almost as many people moving out than moving in and live births. The income tax down there hasn’t created “fairness”, just economic misery. Meanwhile, millions of us will fight an income tax here with every fiber of our being.

          • Nolan July 25, 2019 (11:35 pm)

            I’m fighting for income and capital gains taxation here, in my home,  whether you like it or not, because it’s the only way we can reduce budget reliance on property and sales taxes. I can point out the obvious line from cause to effect here, but I can’t make you understand it if you refuse to try.

  • Swede. July 24, 2019 (8:06 pm)

    No worries, the property taxes will be going up in a faster rate than we’ll keep up with. They count on another 1.2 million people will be moving here before 2030… They will ‘all’ be millionaires since the average house will be in the seven figures well before that!

  • TJ July 24, 2019 (8:18 pm)

    While this sounds good on paper, it is in fact a dangerous road to travel down and a bad idea. On the one hand they realize the crazy tax increases recently and the burden on some, then want to exempt some? 

  • dsa July 25, 2019 (4:21 pm)

    No, unless they have changed things, it is only for seniors and qualified disabled.  And they consider the total household income, not just the qualified individual.

  • Mj July 25, 2019 (10:41 pm)

    Nolan I would argue that reducing government spending is also an option.  

    • Nolan July 25, 2019 (11:29 pm)

      Here’s the thing about that rhetoric: government needs to fund every public work that isn’t covered by private enterprise or the whims of charity. For all the bluster that Tavel and Kolding have made about reducing efficiency, you’ll notice that they are utterly incapable of naming specific line items, why they don’t deserve to be on the budget, and how much money they’ll save.”Reduce spending” is an ideal that never holds up in practice, because the government is actually much better at spending wisely than you give it credit for. You merely disagree because your idea of “spending wisely” doesn’t consider the needs of millions of residents.

      • Groucho Marx July 26, 2019 (7:35 am)

        No doubt we would all agree with Nolan if only we were as smart as he/she is.  In the meantime, we will just have to suffer with our inferior uninformed views including that our current elected officials have generated huge amounts of funds through taxes with no clear plan and no meaningful results.

        • Nolan July 29, 2019 (8:52 am)

          Your blind anti-intellectualism is showing. There’s no shame in working to understand complex issues rather than parroting “SPENDING BAD”; you really should give it a try.

  • Mj July 26, 2019 (7:29 am)

    Nolan I disagree.  

    • Nolan July 29, 2019 (8:55 am)

      You disagree with facts? All I’ve done is lay out two data points for you: government is the only system supporting our society other than business and crowdfunding, and Tavel/Kolding have yet to produce any specifics on cost cuts despite the city budget being publicly available for inspection and a  coordinated “wasteful spending” narrative being pushed by local corporations and “tenmorarily embarrased” small businesses.

  • anonyme July 27, 2019 (7:48 am)

    Unfortunately, budget analyses tend to focus on whether or not the money went where it was supposed to, rather than if those amounts were justified, was the work done efficiently, or was it budgeted properly.  Do candidates have enough access or information prior to taking office to make line-item decisions on budgets?  I don’t know.  I do agree that we need to amend the state constitution and initiate an income tax and capital gains reforms as part of a complete tax reform package.  I think when a lot of people hear “income tax” they imagine it as another, additional tax.   Other taxes, such as sales and property taxes, should be adjusted downward (or eliminated) in a way that makes it more equitable for lower and middle-income taxpayers, who are disproportionately penalized by the current system.

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