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Seniors and disabled citizens will have an easier time qualifying for property tax relief starting with their 2020 tax bill, according to the state Department of Revenue.

That’s because recent legislation (ESSB 5160) changed the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs.

New income thresholds for each county are listed online at dor.wa.gov/incomethresholds.

Property tax exemption

Previously at $40,000, the new income limit (Threshold 3) changes to the greater of $40,000 or 65% of the county’s median household income.

For Island County, the median threshold is $40,000. For Snohomish County, the threshold changed to $55,743.

The exemption applies to a person’s primary residence and depends on the combined disposable income of the applicant, spouse, partner and/or co-tenants occupying the same home.

In addition to income and residency, a homeowner must meet one of these criteria:

• 61 years or older;

• unable to work because of a disability;

• a disabled veteran*;

• a surviving spouse or partner age 57 or older.

*Disabled veterans can now qualify for exemption if they have a combined service-connected evaluation of 80% or higher, or they are compensated at 100% regardless of the combined service-connected evaluation. 

Property tax deferral

Previously at $45,000, the new income limit (Deferral Threshold or less) changes to the greater of $45,000 or 75% of the county’s median household income. 

For Island County, the threshold is $45,000. For Snohomish County, the threshold changed to $64,318.

This deferral applies to a person’s primary residence and depends on the combined disposable income of the applicant, spouse, partner and/or co-tenants occupying the same home.

In addition to income and residency, a homeowner must meet one of the criteria below:

• 60 years or older;

• unable to work because of a disability;

• age 57 or older and related to someone who was receiving a deferral at the time of death.

Counties administer property taxes on behalf of the state. Interested homeowners should contact their local county assessor’s office to apply. In Snohomish County, visit snohomishcountywa.gov/5167/Assessor or call 425-388-3433. In Island County, visit islandcountywa.gov/assessors or call 360-387-3443 (Camano).

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