The King County Assessor has sent this year’s property-tax bills. Here’s what’s notable

If you own property here (and/or elsewhere in King County), your 2021 bill is arriving this week (either sent to you directly or to your mortgage company). Valuation and bills are calculated by the office of King County Assessor John Wilson, who briefed reporters Wednesday on this year’s key points. First thing to remember – as explained here last fall – your tax bill is based on the property value set on January 1st of the previous year. So what you’re paying this year is what your property was worth at the start of last year. As noted in that report last fall, West Seattle values dropped about 1 percent, but that was based on a pre-bridge assessment.

We asked Wilson at the Wednesday briefing whether the West Seattle Bridge closure has been affecting property values at all since then, and he told us that so far, their continual monitoring of sales data shows “no significant impact” on residential property, though commercial property has been affected by a drop in rental rates. Citywide, the median assessed value is $674,000, and that’s down a little more than two percent from a year earlier. Tax bills continue to rise, though, with major factors including school funding (which we note comprises half of the tax bill for our house) and various voter-approved levies (our bill says that totals almost a third of what we owe). This year, they’re not delaying the due date – first half of the bill is due by April 30th, second half by October 31st. As a notice in the bill reminds you, there’s a tax-relief program for homeowners who are at least 61 years old with annual incomes of $58,423 or less. For others, there is also a payment-plan option. If you have questions about your taxes, go here.

18 Replies to "The King County Assessor has sent this year's property-tax bills. Here's what's notable"

  • CC February 18, 2021 (5:36 pm)

    Our prop tax arrived at it was +10%!  Thats absolutely insane.  

  • Also John February 18, 2021 (6:13 pm)

    I got mine.  I cried.

    • HS February 18, 2021 (7:29 pm)

      Oh no Also John :(  We’re paying for some big stuff this year – Harborview, schools, etc.

  • AMD February 18, 2021 (8:36 pm)

    Mine went up, but it’s still less than I was paying in rent a few years ago.  Good to hear the market is finally softening for renters.  It was a big eye-opener when I realized just how much less a mortgage was than what I’d been paying to rent.  Saving for a down payment is tough under those conditions, so hopefully this will finally offer renters who would prefer to be owners a break.

    • alki_2008 February 19, 2021 (6:51 pm)

      Where do you hear a softening market for renters?  The article mentions rent for commercial properties, not residential.  The real reason mortgage payments are lower than rent is because of record low mortgage interest rates right now.

  • Auntie February 18, 2021 (8:45 pm)

    Even though my property value went down a little, my property tax went up $200! My Social Security sure didn’t go up $200. And I’m sure that even though so many people are out of work, on the brink of eviction or losing their homes, if a new levy is put on the ballot, Seattle voters will pass it. Which will raise property taxes yet again, making more people unable to pay. How about a moratorium on new taxes and levies until we get out from under the pandemic? Are you listening City Council? No more new car tab taxes! Are you listening State Legislators? No more new gas taxes. Are you listening Seattle voters? You may be able to afford to pay more, but many cannot. Is anybody listening?

    • John February 18, 2021 (9:37 pm)

      Unfortunately no, Seattle voters are not listening.They’ll vote in the increases, and the city and county will slip in more increases that you don’t get to vote on.

      Rinse and repeat.

    • Sixbuck February 19, 2021 (1:03 am)

      Deaf ears. Seattleites have never met a tax they don’t like. 

    • John February 19, 2021 (4:43 am)

      You shouldn’t be allowed to vote for a property tax increase if you don’t own property

  • onion February 18, 2021 (9:09 pm)

    We used to live in a beautiful Chicago suburb with many stunning historic homes. When I look at their property prices I am awed by how affordable many of these landmark homes are compared to average homes in West Seattle. The flip side is that our property taxes look like a bargain compared to the property taxes on these Chicago homes. And we don’t have an income tax as many other states do. Bottom line — we get off easy in many comparisons of tax burdens.

    • Tdan February 19, 2021 (7:43 am)

      I hear ya! My sister lives in Lake Co Illinois in a $300k house and her property tax is over 12k!

  • 1994 February 18, 2021 (9:29 pm)

    My property taxes gobble up 6 weeks of my net income, $6464.  Ouch!!! That means I have less money available to stimulate the economy, save for retirement, or pay for house repairs.  My tax breakdown is similar as the author describes above, about $3000 to schools, $2000+ voter approved levy, and the other miscellaneous 

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy February 19, 2021 (12:43 am)

      No income tax here. Gotta pay state, county, and city costs somehow. 

  • Sue H February 18, 2021 (9:43 pm)

    Property prices are definitely being affected by the bridge being out. I bought a one bedroom condo in Gatewood in May 2019. Two units in my building that are the identical floor plan both sold in the last few months for a fair amount less than I paid in 2019, and I did not overpay at the time – it was the appraised value..I know that Redfin estimates are a guesstimate, but at one point, when the bridge was up, it said that my unit was worth $15K more then I paid for it, and today it is $8k more. I’ll be curious to see what the tax bill looks like when it arrives.

    • onion February 19, 2021 (6:00 am)

      Sue H, be aware there is a one to two-year lag between sudden changes in property values and tax assessments. If there is a drop or flattening of property values you won’t see it right away on your tax bill. Same with sudden spikes.

  • bolo February 18, 2021 (11:15 pm)

    Instead of complaining we need to get creative! WWTD? There is ALWAYS a way out if it!

  • Nigel February 19, 2021 (4:01 am)

    This is rich. At a time when there is an eviction moratorium and tenants can not be charged interest on unpaid rent, the county offers a property tax payment plan that charges interest on the unpaid tax.

  • Peter February 19, 2021 (6:58 am)

    Not to worry. I’m sure everyone has an unlimited amount of money to pay forever skyrocketing property taxes. 

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