Calculating Your Taxes
In the State of Washington, taxes are based on the assessed values from the
previous year. Property parcel taxes on your 2010 assessment are paid in 2011.
Spokane County is comprised of 126 tax codes areas (TCA) in 2011 that include school districts,
cities, fire districts, libraries, and cemeteries. Your tax bill is determined by
the budget requests of the tax district and the assessed value of your property
parcel. Levy rates (budget requests) are multiplied by each $1,000 of assessed value
to determine your tax bill. For example: If your home is assessed at $100,000 and
the levy rate in your tax district is 14.54067946:
(Assessed Value) $100,000 / $1,000 x 14.54067946 (Levy Rate) = $1,454.07 Tax Bill
Property Parcel Valuation Cycle
- All real property parcels are revalued annually with a physical inspection completed
at least once every six years.
- New construction is appraised annually.
- Personal property parcels are recalculated each year based on current listings.
- Property parcel owners are notified when assessed values change.
State law mandates that all property parcels must be valued at 100% true and fair
market value, which is the amount the property parcels would most likely sell for
on the open market.
A single sale does not necessarily establish market value.
- Comparable sales
- Depreciated replacement cost, and
- Income approaches
are used to determine the assessed value for residential, commercial and industrial property parcels. The assessor uses mass appraisal methods to appraise approximately 209,266 parcels (5,849 mobile + 203,417 real property) in Spokane County.
Property parcel owners can appeal their assessed values to the Spokane County Board
of Equalization. The appeal must be filed by July 1 of the assessment year.
The property parcel tax for any parcel is the levy rate for the tax code multiplied
by the value of the parcel for the preceding year.
Weed, fire patrol and other items considered outside of the regular property parcel
tax calculation are not determined by the Assessor.
Tax Districts and Levy Limitations
Spokane County has 56 taxing districts that create 112 unique tax code areas defined
by their overlapping boundaries.
A levy must be uniform throughout a district, even when the district extends into
a neighboring county.
The County, Conservation Futures and the State School levy are uniformly
assessed at the same rate in each of the 126 tax code areas.
Two properties, identical in assessment may pay very different taxes as levied by
the taxing districts they support.
Spokane County has 13 Cities/Towns, 11 Fire, 6 Cemetery, 19 Schools plus Library,
Park, & Transportation that each have their own boundaries.
These districts are governed by locally elected boards who set their budgets through
In 2003 the first TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District in the State of
Washington, TCA 2050 between Spokane & Airway Heights was created. For the 2006
tax year, the Iron Bridge TIF was created within the City of Spokane (TCA 11)
since that time TIF's 12, 13, 1281, 1421, 1431, 1441, 1461, 1881 & 2121.
Development of the University District in the City of Spokane represents the
first Local Revitalization Financing area in the county (TCA 14).
By statute, each district type has defined levy authorizations and restrictions.
Regular levies are restricted:
- To the lesser of the budget request,
- The statutory rate,
- 1% over the highest lawful amount since 1985 (or the Implicit Price Deflator if
the population is over 10,000.)
The table below provides guidelines on the statutory levy rate restrictions for
districts found in Spokane County.
The County Levy of $1.80 may be increased to $2.475 as long as no other levy is
reduced and the sum of the County/Road levy does not exceed $4.05. The County, within
the $1.80 levy must fund Veteran's Relief (RCW 73.08.080), Mental Health/Developmental
Disabilities (RCW 71.20.110).
Once the individual rate is determined, the districts are further checked on the
aggregate amounts known as the $5.90 limit (RCW 84.52.043) and the Constitutional
1% limit (RCW 84.52.050). In 2011, no district in Spokane County was reduced at
The $5.90 limit is the sum of specific regular levies. For example, in 2013, TCA
the County at
1.2982 (Conservation Futures is excluded from this check)
City of Spokane at
2.9216 (EMS is excluded from this check)
a sub-total of
4.2198 below the limit. Had the sum of these exceed $5.90, the rates would have
been pro-rated. Notes: The State School levy was removed from this check in 1988.
Excess levies are voter approved. No restrictions exist beyond the approval made
by the voters.
Statutory Levy Limits
City annexed to Fire &/or Library
$3.60 (less levy made by Fire/Library)
City with Firemen's Pension Fund
Fire with full-time paid employee
Exemptions for Private Property Parcel
SENIOR / DISABLED (RCW 84.36.381)
For property parcel owners who are either 62 in the tax year or Disabled, a property
parcel tax exemption is available on your residence if the combined family income
(including social security) is less then $35,000.
The exemption benefit is determined on qualifying income within three brackets under
this threshold-but all qualified applications are exempted from excess levies.
If your income is under $40,000, you may qualify for a tax "deferral."
For more information or an application please call 477-5754.
HISTORICAL PROPERTY PARCEL (RCW 84.26.030)
The actual cost of substantial improvement to eligible historic property parcels
(25% or greater of the assessed value prior to rehabilitation) may be excluded
from assessed value for a period of ten years. Applications are furnished by the
Assessor. Approval is made by the local Historical Preservation Board within each
PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT to Single Family Dwelling (RCW 84.36.400)
Exempts from taxation any physical improvement to a detached single family dwelling
for three assessment years subsequent to completion of the improvement, up to 30%
of the value of the original structure. This home improvement exemption may be claimed
only once in a 5-year period. Normal maintenance work does not qualify. Notice to
claim the exemption must be filed with the Assessor PRIOR to completion of the improvement.
MULTIPLE-UNIT EXEMPTION for Urban Centers (RCW 84.14)
Either new or rehabilitated structures having 4 or more dwelling units within a
defined urban center may receive exemption on the improvement value for a period
of ten years.
City of Spokane Ordinance C-32575
Exemptions for Other Property Parcel
RCW 84.36.010 allows exemption of taxes to all publicly-owner property parcel, such
as that of the federal, state, county or city governments.
Additionally, other property parcels are exempt through application made to the State
Department of Revenue.
RCW 84.36.030 - 84.36.350 allows tax exemptions for property parcels used in character
building, benevolent, protective or rehabilitative social services, camp facilities,
veterans and relief organizations; libraries, orphanages; day care centers, nursing
homes and hospitals; schools and colleges; art, scientific and historical collections,
fire companies, humane societies, musical and artistic associations, public assembly
halls, certain public authorities and sheltered workshops for the disabled.
RCW 84.36.020 allows exemption of church owned property parcels used for church
RCW 84.36.015 All parcels of real and personal property parcels that individually
have an assessed value of less than $500 are exempt from property parcel taxation.
Open Space Taxation Act (RCW 84.34)
The Open Space Taxation Act, enacted in 1970, allows property parcel owners to have
their open space, farm & agricultural and timberlands valued at their current
use rather than their highest and best use. The Act states that it is in the best
interest of the State to maintain, preserve, conserve and otherwise continue in
existence adequate open space lands for the production of food, fiber and forest
crops and to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty
for the economic and social well being of the State and it's citizens.
Spokane County has property parcels enrolled in all three classifications:
- Open Space
- Farm & Agricultural
Parcels desiring to participate in these programs must first make application to
the granting authority. (Timber and Open Space through the Planning Department,
Farm/Ag through the Assessor)