What Property is Eligible
The exemption and deferral are available for your principal home and up to 5 acres of land. Mobile homes may qualify as residences for both programs even if the applicant does not own the land where the mobile home is located.
You must own the property in total (fee owner) or under a contract purchase. The lien holder or beneficiary must co-sign the application for deferral if the mortgage or purchase contract requires a reserve account for the payment of taxes. You are not eligible to defer your taxes if you have a life estate, lease for life, or share ownership in a cooperative housing unit.
Age or Disability
To be considered a senior citizen, you must be at least 60 years old on December 31st of the year in which you apply. To be considered disabled you must be unable to work because of a physical disability. A Proof of Disability Statement must be completed by your physician. This form can be obtained from the Assessor′s Office.
The property must be your principal place of residence on the date of your application. You must occupy the home for at least 6 months each year. Your residence may qualify even if your are temporarily in a hospital, nursing home, or boarding home licensed under RCW 18.20.030 or adult family home licensed under RCW 20.128.050. You may rent your residence to someone else during your hospital, nursing home, boarding home, or adult family home stay, if the income is used to pay the hospital, nursing home, boarding home, or adult family home costs.
Property used as a vacation home is not eligible for the program.
To qualify for this program, your annual household 2015, and forward, income may not exceed $45,000 OR your income for years prior to 2015 may not exceed $40,000. If your household 2015, and forward, income is less than $40,000 OR your income for years prior to 2015 is less than $35,000, you must first apply for the exemption program. For example, if your household income is $22,000 and the assessed value of your property is $175,000, you must first apply for the exemption program. After the exemption is applied, taxes will be based on a value of $70,000 ($175,000 less allowed 60% exemption). This value will help determine the amount of property taxes you are eligible to defer.
You need to keep in force a fire and casualty insurance policy in an amount enough to protect the interest of the State of Washington. The insurance policy must show the State of Washington as loss payee. You must provide the Department of Revenue with a copy of the policy within 60 days of application. If you do not carry insurance, you may only defer property taxes and special assessments based on the amount of equity you have in the property using only the land value.
Amount Eligible for Deferral
The amount of equity you have in your home determines the amount of property taxes and/or special assessments eligible for deferral. Equity is the difference between the assessed value of the property and all debts secured by the property. You must provide current balances for all debts that are secured by the property.
Providing you meet all qualifications and maintain adequate fire and casualty insurance, you may defer taxes and special assessments in an amount up to 80 percent of your equity.