Senior & Disabled Persons Tax Exemption

Notice Regarding the Federal Stimulus Payments
We have received many questions about what impact, if any, the federal stimulus payments will have on the property tax exemption program. The guidance we have received from the Washington State Department of Revenue indicates that, unless the federal government changes their definition of these funds, no, the stimulus payments will NOT be considered income when calculating eligibility for the exemption program. It will not be included in the federal definition of "adjusted gross income" nor is it included in the add-on categories listed in RCW 84.36.383(5), therefore it will not be considered disposable income for purposes of the property tax exemption program.

RCW 84.36.381 grants property tax exemptions based on qualification in three categories: age or disability, home ownership, and total household income. You may be eligible for this exemption if you meet the following criteria:
  • You are at least 61 years old, OR
  • You are unable to work because of a disability, OR
  • You are a veteran with a 100% service-related disability.
  • You own the home (either in total, as a contract purchaser, or as a life estate), AND
  • The home is your principal residence at the time of filing, AND
  • You occupy the residence at least nine (9) months of each year.
  • Effective for 2015, your total annual household income must be $40,000 or less. (For income received prior to 2015, the maximum annual limit was $35,000.) This includes all disposable income (not just what is taxable), including Social Security benefits, pensions, retirement distributions, annuities, interest income, and capital gains. Proof of income is required at time of application.

Income in 2015Exemption Applied on 2016 Taxes
$ 35,001 - 40,000Exempt from 100% of voter-approved (excess) levies
$ 30,001 - 35,000
Exempt from 100% of voter-approved levies AND exempt from regular levies on the greater of 35% or $50,000 of the frozen assessed value (not to exceed $70,000)
$ 30,000 or lessExempt from 100% of voter-approved levies AND exempt from regular levies on the greater of 60% or $60,000 of the frozen assessed value
The exemption is allowed on your home and up to 5.00 acres of land, depending on the minimum lot size required for a building permit. Outbuildings and any non-qualifying land will be billed at 100% on a separate tax statement. This program does NOT exempt property from special assessments such as mosquito, diking and stormwater, or forest patrol assessments.

Once your application is approved, you must renew the exemption every four years unless you have a change in circumstance. If your eligibility status changes (i.e. your income increases over the allowed maximum), you must notify the Assessor’s Office within 30 days after the change occurs. The exemption ceases immediately upon the death of the qualified person (unless survived by an eligible spouse), OR upon the date the claimant moves out, OR upon the date the residence is sold, whichever occurs first.
You may also apply for an exemption of prior years’ property taxes if you would have qualified but were unaware of the program. However, by law, the county Treasurer cannot refund taxes that were due and paid more than three (3) years prior to date of application for exemption (RCW 84.69.030).

Click here for the Department of Revenue (DOR) brochure: Property Tax Exemption for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons
Click here for more DOR forms and other information related to property tax exemptions for Seniors and Disabled Persons.