How to reduce your property tax bill in Olympia, WA

How to reduce your property tax bill in Olympia, WA

With so much attention to the declining real estate market, there is also a lot of scrutiny of homeowners’ property tax bills.   And rightly so.  The assessed value of your home has decreased but your tax bill may have increased due to increased state, county and city budgets and voter-approved levies such as bonds for schools and community services.

In Thurston and Pierce counties, there are programs available to reduce your property tax bill.  They include programs such as:

American flagSenior Citizen, Disabled Persons & Veterans – homeowners who have a household income of $35,000 or less per year AND are either 61 years or older, or are disabled and cannot be employed because of the disability, or are Veterans with 100% disability that is service connected. 

Damaged or Destroyed Property– if your property is severely damaged or destroyed, your assessed property value will decrease.    

Historic propertyOther programs include if you own land that is used for commercial agriculture, open space, and timber.  These lands are assessed at the value of its current use rather than market value, which tends to be less. Non-profit organizations can also apply for a property tax exemption, as well as if your residence is registered as a historic property.

RemodelingResidential Remodeling – homeowners making extensive improvements can apply for a 3-year exemption on the value of the improvements. 

For more information on these programs and others, be sure to visit the Thurston County Assessor’s website and the Pierce County Assessor’s website.

Although there are few of us who enjoy paying taxes, count your blessings that you may not qualify for a property tax exemption.  Being disabled, living at poverty level, having your home destroyed or living through a home remodeling nightmare is not a good money-saving strategy in order to save on your property tax bill.  So the next time you get your assessment notice in the mail, don’t grumble – be thankful that you DO pay your full share of taxes and that you DON’T qualify for a tax exemption!

Tax Tip:  If you are searching for a home in the Olympia area and see a property that has a much lower tax rate than other homes, be sure to ask your Realtor why.  That lower tax rate may not apply to you when you become the new homeowner.

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