There are important items that are anticipated to create questions and concerns for Whatcom County Taxpayers. The general real estate market for the majority of real property has continued appreciating. The majority of assessed value changes demonstrate this activity similarly. Shifting amongst individual tax burdens, although present, is not the prevalent cause for property tax increases and decreases. (see below)
NEW LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: The 2017 Washington State Legislature passed Engrossed House Bill (EHB) 2242 and in 2019 passed 2SSB 5313, to meet the Washington State Supreme Court mandated obligation to fully fund basic education. The new law in addition to other education related requirements, makes changes which:
EHB 2242 temporarily changed the state property tax levy from a budget-based system to a frozen rate-based system and increased the tax rate to a new level for 4 consecutive years beginning in tax year 2018. In the first year, Whatcom County's specific rate for State taxes due in 2018 increased from $ 2.23 to approximately $ 3.20 per thousand dollars of assessed value. This provided an approximate 55% increase (except Senior Citizen and Disabled Person exemption program participants) in the State Tax Dollar portion of your tax bill. In 2018, the Washington State Legislature amended the Bill. As a result, the State Tax Dollar portion rate dropped in Tax Year 2019, the second year, from $ 3.20 to approx. $ 2.76. This rate is returning back up to the first year (2018) rate level (approx. $3.20), for the following 2 years (2020, this tax year, and 2021).
Individual Local School District Maintenance and Operation (Enrichment) Levies were additionally reduced in tax year 2019 to the lower of $1.50 of levy rate or $ 2,500 per pupil. 2SSB 5313 passed in the 2019 Legislature to increase the 2020 tax year maximum Enrichment Levy Rate up to $2.50. The resulting property tax 2020 tax year increases will be different amounts for each individual local school district. (see Annual Tax Book 2019-2020), (RCW 84.52.0531) For additional information on these laws:
The 2019 Tax Year Assessment Roll has been certified and delivered to the County Treasurer. The 2019 Order of Levy is summarized in the Levy Year in Review 2019.
Important: On line "Fill-in" Forms are provided to assist taxpayers, however, "Fill-in" forms cannot be submitted on-line. Many forms require submittal with valid signatures. If you have questions, please contact the Assessor's Office.