ASSESSED VALUES AND LEVY RATES
Assessed values are higher this year for many properties, but higher assessed values do not necessarily mean an equal increase in taxes.
Taxing districts are limited to a 1% increase in their budgets, with some exceptions, so higher assessed values usually result in lower tax rates.
The Washington assessment process has two parts. The first part is the assessment of property at current market value. When the real estate market is rising, assessed values increase to reflect the positive market.
The second part of the assessment process is determining the levy rate for the next year’s taxes. The total amount of taxes to be collected is divided by the total assessed value to get the levy rate. Washington limits total taxes, or the budget of each taxing district, to a 1% increase each year. There are a few exceptions to the 1% limit, including lid lifts, new construction, and the special tax for the state school levy.
Here are the recent historical rates for County Current, the main levy for San Juan County operations:
The % increase for the Tax Amount shown for County Current exceeds 1% because the tax generated by new construction in the district is added to the district’s budget.
If the total tax to be collected does not increase more than 1%, it does not matter how much assessed values go up. The levy rate will adjust downward (or upward) so the amount collected does not exceed the 1% increase allowed.
Role and Mission
The Assessor's primary responsibility is to identify and assign a taxable value (assess) to all real and tangible business personal property within San Juan County and certify the annual tax roll with the Washington Department of Revenue (DOR) in accordance with State law. Additional responsibilities include the maintenance of all associated property records, the administration of current use and exemption programs, and the annual notification to property owners of a change in their appraised property value.
Property taxes allow our community to benefit from services like schools, libraries, parks, health services, fire protection, and law enforcement. The Assessor administers the assessment process so that taxes are paid equitably according to State law. The San Juan County Assessor's Office is committed to a process that is professional, fair and clearly understood.
Assessor's Office Activities and Responsibilities
- Inspects all real property on a six-year cycle, with annual inspections for active new construction.
- Assigns taxable value to all real property every year based on information obtained from inspections, historical information, and a comprehensive statistical analysis of market value.
- Notifies property owners when there is a change in the appraised value of their property.
- Administers tax relief and tax deferral programs for senior citizens, disabled persons, veterans and limited income families.
- Administers Current Use Programs (Farm and Agriculture, Open Space and Timber Land) and Designated Forest Land Programs.
- Monitors and assigns taxable value to business personal property every year based on information obtained from business owners and DOR audits.
- Maintains mapping systems to reflect the most current boundary line modifications and property divisions.
- Maintains ownership records to reflect the most current sales and other transfers of interests.
- Reviews the budget of all taxing districts and calculates levy rates according to statutory guidelines.
The Assessor's Office is Not Responsible for the Following Activities
- Mailing tax statements (contact the Treasurer's Office)
- Collecting / providing status of tax payments (contact the Treasurer's Office)
- Maintaining recorded documents (contact the Auditor's Office)
- Determining / approving budgets for tax purposes