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84.36.379  <<  84.36.381 >>   84.36.383

RCW 84.36.381

Residences — Property tax exemptions — Qualifications.

A person is exempt from any legal obligation to pay all or a portion of the amount of excess and regular real property taxes due and payable in the year following the year in which a claim is filed, and thereafter, in accordance with the following:

     (1) The property taxes must have been imposed upon a residence which was occupied by the person claiming the exemption as a principal place of residence as of the time of filing. However, any person who sells, transfers, or is displaced from his or her residence may transfer his or her exemption status to a replacement residence, but no claimant may receive an exemption on more than one residence in any year. Moreover, confinement of the person to a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, or adult family home does not disqualify the claim of exemption if:

     (a) The residence is temporarily unoccupied;

     (b) The residence is occupied by a spouse or a domestic partner and/or a person financially dependent on the claimant for support; or

     (c) The residence is rented for the purpose of paying nursing home, hospital, assisted living facility, or adult family home costs;

     (2) The person claiming the exemption must have owned, at the time of filing, in fee, as a life estate, or by contract purchase, the residence on which the property taxes have been imposed or if the person claiming the exemption lives in a cooperative housing association, corporation, or partnership, such person must own a share therein representing the unit or portion of the structure in which he or she resides. For purposes of this subsection, a residence owned by a marital community or state registered domestic partnership or owned by cotenants is deemed to be owned by each spouse or each domestic partner or each cotenant, and any lease for life is deemed a life estate;

     (3)(a) The person claiming the exemption must be:

     (i) Sixty-one years of age or older on December 31st of the year in which the exemption claim is filed, or must have been, at the time of filing, retired from regular gainful employment by reason of disability; or

     (ii) A veteran of the armed forces of the United States entitled to and receiving compensation from the United States department of veterans affairs at a total disability rating for a service-connected disability.

     (b) However, any surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner of a person who was receiving an exemption at the time of the person's death will qualify if the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner is fifty-seven years of age or older and otherwise meets the requirements of this section;

     (4) The amount that the person is exempt from an obligation to pay is calculated on the basis of combined disposable income, as defined in RCW 84.36.383. If the person claiming the exemption was retired for two months or more of the assessment year, the combined disposable income of such person must be calculated by multiplying the average monthly combined disposable income of such person during the months such person was retired by twelve. If the income of the person claiming exemption is reduced for two or more months of the assessment year by reason of the death of the person's spouse or the person's domestic partner, or when other substantial changes occur in disposable income that are likely to continue for an indefinite period of time, the combined disposable income of such person must be calculated by multiplying the average monthly combined disposable income of such person after such occurrences by twelve. If it is necessary to estimate income to comply with this subsection, the assessor may require confirming documentation of such income prior to May 31 of the year following application;

     (5)(a) A person who otherwise qualifies under this section and has a combined disposable income of thirty-five thousand dollars or less is exempt from all excess property taxes; and

     (b)(i) A person who otherwise qualifies under this section and has a combined disposable income of thirty thousand dollars or less but greater than twenty-five thousand dollars is exempt from all regular property taxes on the greater of fifty thousand dollars or thirty-five percent of the valuation of his or her residence, but not to exceed seventy thousand dollars of the valuation of his or her residence; or

     (ii) A person who otherwise qualifies under this section and has a combined disposable income of twenty-five thousand dollars or less is exempt from all regular property taxes on the greater of sixty thousand dollars or sixty percent of the valuation of his or her residence;

     (6)(a) For a person who otherwise qualifies under this section and has a combined disposable income of thirty-five thousand dollars or less, the valuation of the residence is the assessed value of the residence on the later of January 1, 1995, or January 1st of the assessment year the person first qualifies under this section. If the person subsequently fails to qualify under this section only for one year because of high income, this same valuation must be used upon requalification. If the person fails to qualify for more than one year in succession because of high income or fails to qualify for any other reason, the valuation upon requalification is the assessed value on January 1st of the assessment year in which the person requalifies. If the person transfers the exemption under this section to a different residence, the valuation of the different residence is the assessed value of the different residence on January 1st of the assessment year in which the person transfers the exemption.

     (b) In no event may the valuation under this subsection be greater than the true and fair value of the residence on January 1st of the assessment year.

     (c) This subsection does not apply to subsequent improvements to the property in the year in which the improvements are made. Subsequent improvements to the property must be added to the value otherwise determined under this subsection at their true and fair value in the year in which they are made.

[2012 c 10 § 73; 2011 c 174 § 105; 2010 c 106 § 306; 2008 c 6 § 706; 2005 c 248 § 2; 2004 c 270 § 1; 1998 c 333 § 1; 1996 c 146 § 1; 1995 1st sp.s. c 8 § 1; 1994 sp.s. c 8 § 1; 1993 c 178 § 1; 1992 c 187 § 1. Prior: 1991 c 213 § 3; 1991 c 203 § 1; 1987 c 301 § 1; 1983 1st ex.s. c 11 § 5; 1983 1st ex.s. c 11 § 2; 1980 c 185 § 4; 1979 ex.s. c 214 § 1; 1977 ex.s. c 268 § 1; 1975 1st ex.s. c 291 § 14; 1974 ex.s. c 182 § 1.]

Notes:

     Application -- 2012 c 10: See note following RCW 18.20.010.

     Effective date -- 2010 c 106: See note following RCW 35.102.145.

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Application -- 2005 c 248: "This act applies to taxes levied for collection in 2006 and thereafter." [2005 c 248 § 3.]

     Application -- 1998 c 333: "This act applies to taxes levied for collection in 1999 and thereafter." [1998 c 333 § 4.]

     Effective date -- 1996 c 146: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [March 25, 1996]." [1996 c 146 § 2.]

     Effective date of 1994 sp.s. c 8 -- Applicability -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 8: "Chapter 8, Laws of 1994 sp. sess. shall take effect July 1, 1995, and shall be effective for taxes levied in 1995 for collection in 1996 and thereafter." [1995 1st sp.s. c 8 § 6.]

     Application -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 8: "This act shall apply to taxes levied in 1995 for collection in 1996 and thereafter." [1995 1st sp.s. c 8 § 7.]

     Severability -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 8: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1995 1st sp.s. c 8 § 8.]

     Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 8: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1995." [1995 1st sp.s. c 8 § 9.]

     Applicability -- 1993 c 178: "This act shall be effective for taxes levied for collection in 1993 and thereafter." [1993 c 178 § 2.]

     Effective date -- 1993 c 178: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [April 30, 1993]." [1993 c 178 § 3.]

     Applicability -- 1992 c 187: "Section 1 of this act shall be effective for taxes levied for collection in 1992 and thereafter." [1992 c 187 § 2.]

     Applicability -- 1991 c 213: See note following RCW 84.38.020.

     Applicability -- 1991 c 203: "Section 1 of this act shall be effective for taxes levied for collection in 1992 and thereafter." [1991 c 203 § 5.]

     Applicability -- 1987 c 301: "This act shall be effective for taxes levied for collection in 1989 and thereafter." [1987 c 301 § 2.]

     Intent -- 1983 1st ex.s. c 11: "The legislature finds that inflation has significant detrimental effects on the senior citizen property tax relief program. Inflation increases incomes without increasing real buying power. Inflation also raises the values of homes, and thus the taxes on those homes. This act addresses the problem of inflation in two ways. First, the assessed value exemption is tied to home value so it will increase as values rise. Secondly, though the income of most senior citizens does not keep pace with inflation, it is the legislature's intent that inflationary increases in incomes will not result in program disqualification. Therefore, the income levels are adjusted to reflect the forecasted increase in inflation. The legislature also recommends that similar adjustments be examined by future legislatures." [1983 1st ex.s. c 11 § 1.]

     Applicability -- 1983 1st ex.s. c 11: "This act applies to taxes first due in 1984 and thereafter." [1983 1st ex.s. c 11 § 7.]

     Effective dates -- 1983 1st ex.s. c 11: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [May 11, 1983], except sections 5 and 6 of this act shall take effect January 1, 1984." [1983 1st ex.s. c 11 § 8.]

     Applicability -- 1980 c 185: See note following RCW 84.36.379.

     Applicability -- 1979 ex.s. c 214: "The exemption created by sections 1 through 4 of this act shall be effective starting with property taxes levied in calendar year 1979 for collection in calendar year 1980. The former exemption created by the law amended shall continue to be effective with respect to property taxes levied in calendar year 1978 for collection in calendar year 1979." [1979 ex.s. c 214 § 10.]

     Effective dates -- Severability -- 1975 1st ex.s. c 291: See notes following RCW 82.04.050.

     Severability -- 1974 ex.s. c 182: "If any provision of this 1974 amendatory act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1974 ex.s. c 182 § 8.]