Sunday February 7, 2016

What to Expect in This Year’s Property Tax Bill

San Juan County property tax bills are scheduled to be mailed by County Treasurer Jan Sears during the second week of February.  County Assessor Charles Zalmanek reports that most taxpayers will notice a significant difference in the bottom line of their tax statements this year due, in part, to the implementation of annual countywide property revaluations. Property was previously re-evaluated every three or four years with one-third or one-fourth appraised each year.

Zalmanek notes that most property values have dropped due to the continued economic recession; however for many property owners, a reduced valuation will not translate into a lower tax bill.

Levy rates are determined by dividing the authorized levy of each taxing district by the total taxable assessed value of the district. A taxing district is generally authorized to increase its levy by 1% each year, so when property values decrease, levy rates increase to fulfill the levy amount.

Property owners receiving lower tax bills will be those whose property values decreased by a greater percentage than the percentage of increase in the consolidated levy rate for their property. The consolidated levy rate is different for each property and is the total of the levy rates that apply to the property. These consolidated levy rates can be found on the Assessor’s web page.

The largest drop in assessed values occurred on Orcas Island. Orcas was last appraised in 2008, when the County’s real estate market was at its peak.
Total countywide property taxes are $2,114,341 or 4.7%  lower than in 2012.

The Assessor has a posted web page for property owners to compare their 2012 property tax to their estimated 2013 tax. (The web page calculator does not include special assessments, such as stormwater, fire patrol, noxious weeds and conservation) A chart showing the levy and the change for each district is posted below.