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PDFWAC 458-16-100

Property tax exemptions, generally, rules of construction.

(1) Introduction. This section explains how statutes exempting property from taxation should be read and interpreted.
(2) General rules of construction. All property located in Washington is subject to assessment and taxation, except property expressly exempted from taxation by law. The following principles shall govern the construction of statutes that exempt property from taxation:
(a) There is no need to construe a statute when its language is plain.
(b) The burden of proving entitlement to a property tax exemption rests upon the taxpayer claiming exemption.
(c) Statutes exempting property from taxation shall be strictly construed, though fairly and in keeping with the ordinary meaning of the language employed.
(d) If there is any doubt regarding the exact meaning of a statute exempting property from taxation, the statute shall be construed in favor of the power to tax and against the person claiming the exemption because taxation is the rule and exemption is the exception.
(e) If the legislature has created an exemption, the exemption must not be enlarged by construction since it is reasonable to presume that the legislature has granted in express terms all that it intended to grant. An exemption must be limited to the very terms of the statute enacted; if not so limited, the exemption would be enlarged beyond what the legislature intended to exempt.
(f) Property shall be exempt from taxation only when the legislature has created an exemption by clear and explicit language.
(3) General requirements. Applicants seeking an initial or continuing property tax exemption shall make the subject property available to the department of revenue at reasonable times for physical inspection, investigation, or examination. Applicants shall also provide to the department of revenue, upon request, all records, documents, or facts necessary for the department to determine the exempt or taxable status of the property. Failure to fully cooperate with the department may result in a determination that the property is taxable for the current year.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.010, 84.08.070 and chapter 84.36 RCW. WSR 94-07-008, § 458-16-100, filed 3/3/94, effective 4/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.36.389 and 84.36.865. WSR 83-19-029 (Order PT 83-5), § 458-16-100, filed 9/14/83. Order PT 76-2, § 458-16-100, filed 4/7/76. Formerly WAC 458-12-145.]
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