Two Property Tax Benefit Programs for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities

King County Assessor Lloyd Hara speaks to seniors at the
Central Area Senior Center

If you are age 61 or older—or have a disability—and your primary residence is in King County, you may be eligible to receive a property tax exemption or deferral through a program administered by the King County Department of Assessments.

Senior/Disabled Exemption Program

The exemption program provides a property tax reduction for residents who:

  • Are at least 61 years old on December 31st of the application year or unable to work because of a disability or a veteran with a service-connected disability.
  • Own and occupy their home for more than six months of the year.
  • Have a household gross income under $35,000.

Depending upon your income level, you may be eligible to receive a standard, partial, or full exemption. In addition, the value of your residence will be frozen at the January 1st value of the initial application year. The exemption is a grant provided by Washington state and does not need to be repaid upon transfer of ownership. Depending on your income levels in previous tax years (2011, 2010, and 2009), King County may also grant you up to three years of credit.

Did You Know?

State law provides two tax benefit programs for seniors and adults with disabilities: property tax exemptions and property tax deferrals. Yet more than 26,000 qualified residents have yet to register for the exemption, and only 1 in 100 of those eligible for deferrals are currently enrolled.

Applications are available online!

Program Overview

Forms

Once enrolled into the senior exemption program, you are notified once every four years to renew and update your information; however, it is the responsibility of the property owner to self-report to the Department of Assessments of any income level changes.

To verify your qualifications in 2012, the Department requires a completed application and copies of all 2011 income information (e.g., your IRS tax return). If you did not file an IRS tax return, you can provide your year-end statements.

You can submit the exemption application via mail or visit our office at King County Department of Assessments, 500 Fourth Ave, Room 740, Seattle WA 98104-2384. Applications submitted by mail require signatures from two witnesses, excluding your spouse. The time to process your application takes six to eight weeks and Department of Assessments staff will contact you if additional information is required.

Senior/Disabled Deferral Program

The deferral program allows the State of Washington to pay your property taxes by placing a lien on your property plus a five percent interest charge on the outstanding balance of your property taxes. You must be over 60 years old before December 31st of the application year—or under age 60 and unable to work due to a disability—and own/occupy the property as your principal residence. If you had a temporary confinement to a nursing home or hospital, you will still qualify.

Since the deferral program does place a lien upon your property, we strongly advise that King County residents contact the Assessor's Office to see if the program would be your best option.

You can find more information about both programs on the Tax Relief page on the King County Department of Assessments website, or you can call Senior & Disability Exemptions (206-296-3920) or Senior & Disability Deferrals (206-263-2323).

If your organization would be interested in receiving a presentation on property valuations and exemptions, contact Phillip Sit, King County Department of Assessments, at phillip.sit@kingcounty.gov.

—Phillip Sit, King County Department of Assessments