This section outlines the withdrawal and removal procedures, events that trigger removal, and how to calculate the additional property tax ("additional tax"), interest, and penalty that may be imposed because land is withdrawn or removed from classification. When land is withdrawn or removed additional tax and interest are due. A twenty percent penalty is also due when land is removed from classification (see RCW 84.34.108
(2) Duties of assessor and treasurer.
As soon as possible after determining that the land no longer qualifies for classification under chapter 84.34
RCW, the use of the land has changed, or the land was classified under chapter 84.34
RCW in error, the assessor must provide the owner a written notice regarding this determination and of his or her intent to remove the land from classification; e.g., the Notice of Intent to Remove Current Use Classification form. The assessor may not remove the land from classification until the owner has had an opportunity to be heard on the issue of removal.
(a) The owner has thirty calendar days following the postmark date on the assessor's notice of intent to remove to respond, in writing, to the assessor about the removal of the land from classification. After giving the owner an opportunity to be heard and unless sufficient information or evidence is presented as to why the land should not be removed from classified status, the land will be removed from classification as of the date the land no longer qualified for classification or the use of the land changed.
(b) Within thirty days of removing land from classification, the assessor notifies the owner, in writing, about the reasons for the removal. The owner, seller, or transferor may appeal the removal to the county board of equalization.
(c) Unless the removal is reversed on appeal, the assessor revalues the affected land with reference to its true and fair value on January 1st of the year of removal from classification. The assessment roll will list the assessed value of the land before and after the removal from classification. Taxes will be allocated to the part of the year to which each assessed value applies; that is, current use and true and fair value.
(d) The assessor computes the amount of additional tax, interest, and penalty, unless the removal is the result of one of the circumstances listed in subsection (5) of this section.
(e) The assessor notifies the treasurer of the amount of additional tax, interest, and penalty due.
(f) The treasurer mails or gives the owner written notice about the amount of the additional tax, interest, and, if required, penalty due and the date on which the total amount must be paid.
(g) The total amount is due and payable to the treasurer thirty days after the owner is notified of the amount of additional tax, interest, and penalty due.
(3) Amount of additional tax, interest, and penalty.
The amount of additional tax, interest, and penalty will be determined as follows:
(a) The amount of additional tax is equal to the difference between the property tax paid on the land because of its classified status and the property tax that would have been paid on the land based on its true and fair value for the seven tax years preceding the withdrawal or removal. And in the case of a removal, the taxes owed for the balance of the current tax year;
(b) The amount of interest, calculated at the same statutory rate charged on delinquent property taxes specified in RCW 84.56.020
, is based upon the amount of additional tax determined under (a) of this subsection, starting from the date the additional tax could have been paid without interest until the date the tax is paid; and
(c) A penalty amounting to twenty percent of the additional tax and interest; that is, twenty percent of the total amount computed in (a) and (b) of this subsection. A penalty is not imposed when:
(i) The land has been classified for at least ten years at the time it is withdrawn from classification and the owner submitted a request to withdraw classification to the assessor at least two assessment years prior to the date the land is withdrawn from classification; or
(ii) The use of the land has changed and the change in use was the result of one of the circumstances listed in RCW 84.34.108
(6). See subsection (5) of this section.
(4) Failure to sign notice of continuance.
Land will be removed from current use classification if a new owner fails to sign the notice of continuance when the classified land is sold or transferred. Additional tax, interest, and penalty will be imposed in accordance with RCW 84.34.108
(4) because of this removal. A notice of continuance is not required when classified land is transferred to a new owner who is the heir or devisee of a deceased owner and the new owner wishes to continue classified use (see RCW 84.34.108
(1)(c)). If the heir or devisee elects not to continue classified use, the land will be removed from classification and additional tax, interest, and penalty are due.
No additional tax, interest, or penalty will be imposed if the withdrawal or removal from classification resulted solely from any of the following:
(a) Transfer to a governmental entity in exchange for other land located within the state of Washington;
(b) A taking through the exercise of the power of eminent domain or the sale or transfer to an entity having the power of eminent domain in anticipation of the exercise of this power. This entity must have declared its intent to exercise the power of eminent domain in writing or by some other official action;
(c) A natural disaster such as a flood, windstorm, earthquake, or other such calamity rather than an act of the landowner changing the use of the property;
(d) Official action by an agency of the state of Washington or by the county or city in which the land is located disallowing the current use of classified land. For the purposes of this section, "official action" includes: City ordinances, zoning restrictions, Growth Management Act, Shoreline Management Act, and Environmental Policy Act;
(e) Transfer of land to a church when the land would qualify for a property tax exemption under RCW 84.36.020
. Only the land that would qualify for exemption under RCW 84.36.020
is included within this exception. Additional tax, interest, and, if appropriate, the penalty will be assessed upon the remainder of the land withdrawn or removed from classification;
(f) Acquisition of property interests by public agencies or private organizations qualified under RCW 84.34.210
for the conservation purposes specified therein. See subsection (6) of this section for a listing of these agencies, organizations, and purposes. However, when the property interests are no longer used for one of the purposes enumerated in RCW 84.34.210
, additional tax, interest, and penalty will be imposed on the owner of the property at that time;
(g) Removal of land granted classification as farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020
(2) (f) because the principal residence of the farm operator or owner and/or housing for farm and agricultural employees was situated on it. This exception applies only to the land upon which the housing is located even if this portion of the agricultural enterprise has not been allocated a separate parcel number for assessment and tax purposes;
(h) Removal of classification after a statutory exemption is enacted that would exempt the land from property tax and the landowner submits a written request to the assessor to remove the land from classification. This exception applies only to newly enacted exemptions that would cause classified land to go from taxable to exempt status. For example, in 1999 the legislature created a new property tax exemption for property used for agricultural research and education programs. If the owner of such land subsequently requests removal of the land from classification, no additional tax, interest or penalty are imposed because of this new property tax exemption authorized by RCW 84.36.570
(i) The creation, sale, or transfer of forestry riparian easements under RCW 76.13.120
(j) The creation, sale, or transfer of a conservation easement of private forest lands within unconfined channel migration zones or containing critical habitat for threatened or endangered species under RCW 76.09.040
(k) The sale or transfer of land within two years of the death of an owner who held at least a fifty percent interest in the land if:
(i) The individual(s) or entity(ies) who received the land from the deceased owner is selling or transferring the land; and
(ii) The land has been continuously assessed and valued as designated forest land under chapter 84.33
RCW or classified under chapter 84.34
RCW since 1993. The date of death shown on the death certificate begins the two-year period for sale or transfer;
(l) The assessor discovers that the land was classified under chapter 84.34
RCW in error through no fault of the owner;
(i) For purposes of this subsection, "fault" means a knowingly false or misleading statement, or other act or omission not in good faith, that contributed to the approval of the application for classification or the failure of the assessor to remove the land from classification;
(ii) This exception does not apply if an independent basis for removal exists. Examples of an independent basis for removal include the owner changing the use of the land or failing to meet any applicable income criteria required for classification; or
(m) The result of one of the following changes in classification because of the owner's request for:
(i) Reclassification from farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020
(2) to: Timber land under RCW 84.34.020
(3), open space land under RCW 84.34.020
(1), or forest land under chapter 84.33
(ii) Reclassification from timber land under RCW 84.34.020
(3) to: Farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020
(2), open space land under RCW 84.34.020
(1), or forest land under chapter 84.33
(iii) Reclassification from open space/farm and agricultural conservation land under RCW 84.34.020
(1)(c) to farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020
(2) if the land was previously classified as farm and agricultural land; or
(iv) Reclassification from forest land under chapter 84.33
RCW to open space land under RCW 84.34.020
(6) Land acquired by agencies or organizations qualified under RCW 84.34.210 or 64.04.130.
If the purpose for acquiring classified land is to protect, preserve, maintain, improve, restore, limit the future use of, or conserve the land for public use or enjoyment and the classified land is acquired by any of the following entities, no additional tax, interest, or penalty will be imposed as long as the property is used for one of these purposes:
(a) State agency;
(b) Federal agency;
(f) Metropolitan park district (see RCW 35.61.010
(g) Metropolitan municipal corporation (see RCW 35.58.020
(h) Nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130
(i) Nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association as defined in RCW 84.34.250
(7) Removal of classification from land that was previously designated forest land under chapter 84.33 RCW.
Land that was previously designated as forest land under chapter 84.33
RCW may be reclassified under chapter 84.34
RCW at the owner's request made no later than thirty days after removal of the land from designation. If such land is subsequently removed from the current use program before the land has been classified under chapter 84.34
RCW for at least ten assessment years, a combination of compensating tax imposed under chapter 84.33
RCW and additional tax, interest, and penalty imposed under chapter 84.34
RCW is due. RCW 84.33.145
explains the way in which these taxes are to be calculated.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.070, 84.34.141, 84.36.865, 84.52.0502. 09-19-010, § 458-30-300, filed 9/3/09, effective 10/4/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.33.140, 84.34.055, 84.34.108, 84.34.141, and 84.08.070. 07-21-097, § 458-30-300, filed 10/18/07, effective 11/18/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.34.141. 01-24-030, § 458-30-300, filed 11/27/01, effective 12/28/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.110, 84.08.070, 84.34.141 and 84.34.360. 95-21-002, § 458-30-300, filed 10/4/95, effective 11/4/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.010 and 84.08.070. 90-24-087, § 458-30-300, filed 12/5/90, effective 1/5/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.010(2), 84.34.141 and chapter 84.34 RCW. 88-23-062 (Order PT 88-12), § 458-30-300, filed 11/15/88.]