The role of the Assessors office is to establish Fair Market Value for all property in Grant County for tax purposes. The Assessor is required by law to set Fair Market Value and to assure that all values are equitable, fair and uniform to all citizens of Grant County.
The Assessor does not create market value. Market value is the price a willing buyer and willing seller would agree to under ordinary circumstances. This does not mean that an individual sale will automatically establish the market value of a property. The Assessor uses multiple sales of comparable properties in establishing market value.
Taxable property is divided into two classes. Real property includes
land and all buildings, structures, improvements and mobile homes
on the land. Personal property includes machinery and equipment,
fixtures, furniture, and other items that are movable in nature.
Household goods and personal effects are exempt from property tax.
Frequency of Valuation
State law requires that the Assessor maintain a systematic revaluation program. All property in Grant County is physically inspected at least once every four years. If property in a particular area consistently sells for more or less than the assessed value, the assessment roll will be adjusted to reflect real estate market conditions in that areas cycle. If the character of property changes because of new construction, remodeling, additions, subdivisions, etc., a new fair market value is determined.
Method of Valuation
The laws governing the tax appraisal process in Washington State are based upon the same principles and procedures that are used throughout the appraisal profession. There are three basic approaches to the valuation of real property:
Involves comparison of a property with the characteristics of similar properties, which have recently sold.
Cost Approach Involves estimating the replacement cost of a structure, and adjusting that estimated value to account for depreciation and obsolescence
Is an analysis of a propertys value based on its capacity to generate revenue for the owner.
All approaches, which apply, to a particular property may be used by the appraisers in the Assessors office.
Property Tax Levies
The Assessor does not raise property values in order to increase taxes. The cost of providing public services determines your property tax. Local government consists of various taxing districts including fire districts, regional library, cities, county government, roads, ports, etc. A portion of the tax is distributed to the state for local school support. In addition, taxes are collected to pay for special voter-approved levies, such as school maintenance and operation levies and bonds and emergency medical levies. The Assessor sets the levy rates based on taxing district budget requests, statutory limits and property values. Levy rates are expressed in dollars per thousand dollars of assessed value.
Property tax levies are subject to several statutory and constitutional limits. The "101% levy lid" restricts individual taxing districts to collect a maximum
one per cent increase over the highest amount collected since 1985 for their regular levy, plus an amount attributable to new construction within or annexations to the district. This law applies to a taxing district budget and not too individual properties. RCW 84.55.010
The regular levy of each taxing district cannot exceed a certain rate, which is determined by the type of district. For example, the levy for the county current expense fund cannot exceed $1.80 RCW 84.52.043
The aggregate regular levy rate of all senior and junior taxing districts (not including the state, port districts and public utility districts, emergency medical levies, and conservation futures) cannot exceed $5.90. RCW 84.52.043
The aggregate of all regular levies (not including port and public utility districts) shall not exceed 1% of true and fair value.
WASHINGTON STATE CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE VII
The Budget Cycle
Every year the directors or commissioners of all taxing districts meet in open session to determine the amount of taxes to be collected the following year. Public questions or comments are welcomed during this process. Once the budget has been adopted, and a resolution passed by the Taxing District Commissioners,
the amount of taxes to be collected is certified to the Assessor. The Assessor computes the levy rate required to raise the certified tax for each district, and insures that none of the constitutional or statutory limitations is violated. After the levy rates have been certified by the Grant County Commissioners, taxes are extended to all property within the boundaries of the respective districts. The Grant County Treasurer mails tax bills on February 14 of the year in which they are collected, and the receipts are distributed back to the various districts.
There are several tax relief opportunities provided by state law, including:
Open Space/Current Use, for Agricultural, Timberland, and Natural Preserves land
Historical Restoration Exemption, for historical significant property under going restoration
Improvement Exemption, a temporary exemption of valuation of additions to single family dwellings
Destroyed Property Claims, adjustment to the valuation of destroyed property
Property Tax Exemptions for
Full Tax Deferrals for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons
50% Tax Deferral for Homeowners with
Limited Income of $57,000 or less
Exemptions for qualifying property owned by non-profit organizations
For further information about any of these exemptions contact the Assessors office at (509) 754-2011 extension 383.
Appeal of Valuation
A property owner who feels that an error has been made in establishing
assessed value of his or her property should call the Assessors
office at (509) 754-2011 extension 383 and talk to an appraiser.
The appraiser will examine the assessed value of the property and may initiate further review. If still not satisfied, the property owner may appeal the assessed valuation to the Grant County Board of Equalization (509) 754-2011 extension 331. Appeal forms must be submitted by July 1st or within 30 days of the date the valuation notice was mailed.
The appeal process does not require an attorney, but proof that the Assessors assessed valuation is incorrect is required. Property sales information is available for examination anytime during Assessors office normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday).
Decisions of the Board of Equalization may be appealed to the State Board of Tax Appeals.
Information Available in the Assessors Office
Much of the property information that may be helpful to you is available for your inspection at the Assessors front counter. This includes:
Property assessed value history
Name and address of taxpayers
Public Access Computer Terminals