Property tax exemptions for seniors and
people with disabilities expanded for 2024
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Senior citizens and people with disabilities who have not previously qualified for property tax assistance are in for a pleasant surprise in 2024.
The county income ceiling to get property tax relief is rising from about $55,000 to $75,000 at the start of the new year, opening the door for thousands more to seek help with swelling tax bills.
The increase comes courtesy of the state Department of Revenue, which is hoisting the qualifying bar from 65 percent to 70 percent of county median income.
Applicants for the Property Tax Assistance Program could qualify for relief ranging from exemptions on excess levies to a total exemption on all new property taxes for a four-year, renewable cycle.
“It’s a good program,” County Assessor Linda Hjelle said. “It helps people stay in their homes.”
Hjelle expects about 4,000 more people to qualify because of the new income limits. The program currently serves approximately 10,500 county residents.
Applicants must be 61 or older and/or have a certifiable disability, as well as own and occupy their home.
Eligibility will be based on 2023 tax returns, or other documentation if no tax return is filed.
There are three levels of exemptions available, depending on income.
Level A grants exemptions from excess levies (such as those for local school and fire districts) and Part 2 of the state school levy, plus a reduction of assessed value of 60% or $60,000, whichever is greater. (Qualifying income capped at $54,000.)
Level B grants the same levy exemptions plus a 35% reduction of assessed value or $50,000, whichever is greater. (Qualifying income capped at $64,000)
Level C grants the levy exemptions but no reduction of assessed value. (Qualifying income capped at $75,000)
Applicants earning up to $79,578 could qualify for deferral of property tax payments, instead of an exemption, under the updated guidelines.
Exemptions do not have to be repaid. Deferrals, though, do when ownership transfers or a few other situations.
The Property Tax Assistance Program also freezes applicants’ assessed home valuations. While qualified for tax relief their valuations may drop but cannot rise.
“That’s a big benefit,” Hjelle said. “Most of the time people are concerned about their taxes and property values.”
Hjelle also noted that qualified applicants will receive benefits for the full calendar year no matter which month they apply.
They could even qualify for as much as three years’ retroactive property tax relief.
More information and applications are available online at www.tinyurl.com/snocotaxprogram or through the county assessor’s office, 425-388-3433.
Information about the program will be included in 2024 property tax assessments and/or tax bills.
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