2021 Assessor Change of Value Notices Mailed on October 1
The Assessor’s Office mailed the 2021 Change of Value Notices on October 1, 2021. The notices show market value as of January 1, 2021 based on sales between January 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021.
The total assessed value for San Juan County increased $940 million over last year, including $114 million in new construction value, reflecting a strong real estate market for 2020. The physical inspection area included 3,074 properties on the north side of San Juan Island and Henry, Pearl, Stuart, Johns and Spieden Islands, with an additional 808 inspections for new construction on other islands.
Higher property values do not mean the same percentage increase in next year’s taxes. Washington uses a budget-based property tax system and taxing district budgets are limited to 1% growth plus certain increases for new construction, annexations and other changes that require more government services. Tax rates are adjusted up or down based on the amount taxing districts can collect, so generally, if assessed values go up, tax rates drop. Tax increases are more directly related to increases of taxing district budgets than to changes in the assessed value.
Determining value is the first part of a budget-based assessment process. It is intentionally separate from the second part – calculating the tax rates, also known as the levy rates, to get the approved budget amounts of the taxing districts. When your assessed value increases, it could be considered good news because it usually means your real estate investment is appreciating. Under a budget-based system, taxes may go up even if property values decrease.
Assessed values are standardized in Washington at 100% of market value as of January 1st of the assessment year. Historically, they were 60% of market value from 1906 to 1932, then changed to 50% by voter initiative, then changed to the current standard of 100% in 1974.
The levy rates and tax amounts are not known, or knowable, until all taxing districts submit their budget information to the Assessor’s Office in November. The Assessor’s Office reviews the budget amounts of each district to make sure they do not exceed the maximum amounts allowed, then calculates the levy rates needed to equal the approved amounts.
For more information, visit the Assessor’s website. If you have questions about your assessed value, please call the Assessor’s Office at 360-378-2172 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or email the Assessor.
Sales information can be reviewed from the Assessor’s website using the sales search option located in the upper right corner of the parcel search page.