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84.56.010  <<  84.56.020 >>   84.56.022

RCW 84.56.020

Taxes collected by treasurer — Dates of delinquency — Tax statement notice concerning payment by check — Interest — Penalties — Extensions during state of emergency.

(1) The county treasurer must be the receiver and collector of all taxes extended upon the tax rolls of the county, whether levied for state, county, school, bridge, road, municipal or other purposes, and also of all fines, forfeitures or penalties received by any person or officer for the use of his or her county. No treasurer may accept tax payments or issue receipts for the same until the treasurer has completed the tax roll for the current year's collection and provided notification of the completion of the roll. Notification may be accomplished electronically, by posting a notice in the office, or through other written communication as determined by the treasurer. All taxes upon real and personal property made payable by the provisions of this title are due and payable to the treasurer on or before the thirtieth day of April and, except as provided in this section, shall be delinquent after that date.

     (2) Each tax statement must include a notice that checks for payment of taxes may be made payable to "Treasurer of . . . . . . County" or other appropriate office, but tax statements may not include any suggestion that checks may be made payable to the name of the individual holding the office of treasurer nor any other individual.

     (3) When the total amount of tax or special assessments on personal property or on any lot, block or tract of real property payable by one person is fifty dollars or more, and if one-half of such tax be paid on or before the thirtieth day of April, the remainder of such tax is due and payable on or before the thirty-first day of October following and shall be delinquent after that date.

     (4) When the total amount of tax or special assessments on any lot, block or tract of real property or on any mobile home payable by one person is fifty dollars or more, and if one-half of such tax be paid after the thirtieth day of April but before the thirty-first day of October, together with the applicable interest and penalty on the full amount of tax payable for that year, the remainder of such tax is due and payable on or before the thirty-first day of October following and is delinquent after that date.

     (5) Except as provided in (c) of this subsection, delinquent taxes under this section are subject to interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum computed on a monthly basis on the amount of tax delinquent from the date of delinquency until paid. Interest must be calculated at the rate in effect at the time of payment of the tax, regardless of when the taxes were first delinquent. In addition, delinquent taxes under this section are subject to penalties as follows:

     (a) A penalty of three percent of the amount of tax delinquent is assessed on the tax delinquent on June 1st of the year in which the tax is due.

     (b) An additional penalty of eight percent is assessed on the amount of tax delinquent on December 1st of the year in which the tax is due.

     (c) If a taxpayer is successfully participating in a payment agreement under subsection (11)(b) of this section, the county treasurer may not assess additional penalties on delinquent taxes that are included within the payment agreement. Interest and penalties that have been assessed prior to the payment agreement remain due and payable as provided in the payment agreement.

     (6)(a) When real property taxes become delinquent and prior to the filing of the certificate of delinquency, the treasurer is authorized to assess and collect tax foreclosure avoidance costs.

     (b) For the purposes of this section, "tax foreclosure avoidance costs" means those costs that can be identified specifically with the administration of properties subject to and prior to foreclosure. Tax foreclosure avoidance costs include:

     (i) Compensation of employees for the time devoted and identified specifically to administering the avoidance of property foreclosure; and

     (ii) The cost of materials, services, or equipment acquired, consumed, or expended specifically for the purpose of administering tax foreclosure avoidance prior to the filing of a certificate of delinquency.

     (c) When tax foreclosure avoidance costs are collected, the tax foreclosure avoidance costs must be credited to the county treasurer service fund account, except as otherwise directed.

     (d) For purposes of chapter 84.64 RCW, any taxes, interest, or penalties deemed delinquent under this section remain delinquent until such time as all taxes, interest, and penalties for the tax year in which the taxes were first due and payable have been paid in full.

     (7) Subsection (5) of this section notwithstanding, no interest or penalties may be assessed during any period of armed conflict on delinquent taxes imposed on the personal residences owned by active duty military personnel who are participating as part of one of the branches of the military involved in the conflict and assigned to a duty station outside the territorial boundaries of the United States.

     (8) During a state of emergency declared under RCW 43.06.010(12), the county treasurer, on his or her own motion or at the request of any taxpayer affected by the emergency, may grant extensions of the due date of any taxes payable under this section as the treasurer deems proper.

     (9) For purposes of this chapter, "interest" means both interest and penalties.

     (10) All collections of interest on delinquent taxes must be credited to the county current expense fund; but the cost of foreclosure and sale of real property, and the fees and costs of distraint and sale of personal property, for delinquent taxes, must, when collected, be credited to the operation and maintenance fund of the county treasurer prosecuting the foreclosure or distraint or sale; and must be used by the county treasurer as a revolving fund to defray the cost of further foreclosure, distraint and sale for delinquent taxes without regard to budget limitations.

     (11)(a) For purposes of this chapter, and in accordance with this section and RCW 36.29.190, the treasurer may collect taxes, assessments, fees, rates, interest, and charges by electronic bill presentment and payment. Electronic bill presentment and payment may be utilized as an option by the taxpayer, but the treasurer may not require the use of electronic bill presentment and payment. Electronic bill presentment and payment may be on a monthly or other periodic basis as the treasurer deems proper for delinquent tax year payments only or for prepayments of current tax. All prepayments must be paid in full by the due date specified in (c) of this subsection. Payments on past due taxes must include collection of the oldest delinquent year, which includes interest and taxes within a twelve-month period, prior to filing a certificate of delinquency under chapter 84.64 RCW or distraint pursuant to RCW 84.56.070.

     (b) The treasurer must provide, by electronic means or otherwise, a payment agreement that provides for payment of current year taxes, inclusive of prepayment collection charges. The treasurer may provide, by electronic means or otherwise, a payment agreement for payment of past due delinquencies, which must also require current year taxes to be paid timely. The payment agreement must be signed by the taxpayer and treasurer prior to the sending of an electronic or alternative bill, which includes a payment plan for current year taxes. The treasurer may accept partial payment of current and delinquent taxes including interest and penalties using electronic bill presentment and payments.

     (c) All taxes upon real and personal property made payable by the provisions of this title are due and payable to the treasurer on or before the thirtieth day of April and are delinquent after that date. The remainder of the tax is due and payable on or before the thirty-first day of October following and is delinquent after that date. All other assessments, fees, rates, and charges are delinquent after the due date.

     (d) A county treasurer may authorize payment of past due property taxes, penalties, and interest under this chapter by electronic funds transfer payments on a monthly basis. Delinquent taxes are subject to interest and penalties, as provided in subsection (5) of this section.

     (e) The treasurer must pay any collection costs, investment earnings, or both on past due payments or prepayments to the credit of a county treasurer service fund account to be created and used only for the payment of expenses incurred by the treasurer, without limitation, in administering the system for collecting prepayments.

     (12) For purposes of this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (a) "Electronic bill presentment and payment" means statements, invoices, or bills that are created, delivered, and paid using the internet. The term includes an automatic electronic payment from a person's checking account, debit account, or credit card.

     (b) "Internet" has the same meaning as provided in RCW 19.270.010.

[2014 c 13 § 1; 2013 c 239 § 3; 2010 c 200 § 1; 2008 c 181 § 510; 2007 c 105 § 2; 2005 c 502 § 7; 2004 c 161 § 6; 1996 c 153 § 1. Prior: 1991 c 245 § 16; 1991 c 52 § 1; 1988 c 222 § 30; 1987 c 211 § 1; 1984 c 131 § 1; 1981 c 322 § 2; 1974 ex.s. c 196 § 1; 1974 ex.s. c 116 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 288 § 3; 1969 ex.s. c 216 § 3; 1961 c 15 § 84.56.020; prior: 1949 c 21 § 1; 1935 c 30 § 2; 1931 c 113 § 1; 1925 ex.s. c 130 § 83; Rem. Supp. 1949 § 11244; prior: 1917 c 141 § 1; 1899 c 141 § 6; 1897 c 71 § 68; 1895 c 176 § 14; 1893 c 124 § 69; 1890 p 561 § 84; Code 1881 § 2892. Formerly RCW 84.56.020 and 84.56.030.]

Notes:

     Application -- 2014 c 13: "This act applies to taxes levied for collection in 2015 and thereafter." [2014 c 13 § 3.]

     Findings -- 2013 c 239: "The legislature finds that it is difficult for many property owners to pay property taxes under the current system where past due property tax payments must be paid in full, including penalties and interest. The legislature further finds that providing counties and property owners some flexibility in structuring past due property tax payments may provide some relief for property owners with delinquent tax payments." [2013 c 239 § 2.]

     Part headings not law -- 2008 c 181: See note following RCW 43.06.220.

     Application -- 2005 c 502 § 7: "Section 7 of this act applies to all taxes levied for collection in 2005 and thereafter." [2005 c 502 § 10.]

     Effective date -- 2005 c 502: See note following RCW 1.12.070.

     Effective date -- 2004 c 161: See note following RCW 28B.10.270.

     Applicability -- 1996 c 153: "This act is effective for taxes levied for collection in 1997 and thereafter." [1996 c 153 § 4.]

     Effective date -- 1988 c 222: See note following RCW 84.40.040.

     Effective date -- 1987 c 211: "This act shall take effect January 1, 1988." [1987 c 211 § 2.]

     Applicability -- 1984 c 131 § 1: "Section 1 of this act applies to taxes payable in 1985 and thereafter." [1984 c 131 § 12.]

     Severability -- 1974 ex.s. c 196: "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." [1974 ex.s. c 196 § 9.]

     Savings -- Severability -- 1971 ex.s. c 288: See notes following RCW 84.40.030.

Advance deposit of taxes on certain platted property: RCW 58.08.040.

Payment of taxes upon loss of exempt status: RCW 84.40.380.