For Immediate Release:
June 23rd, 2020
Treasurer Baumgartner Announces End of Spring Tax Season, Property Tax Collection Increases $41.5 million from Spring 2019
Spokane County, WA – Treasurer of Spokane County Michael Baumgartner released final spring property tax collection numbers of $359.7 million as of June 19th. This amount is approximately $41.5 million higher through the same date in 2019 and reflects increases in the levy rate due to taxing and budgeting decisions from the state legislature, local governments and bonds and levies passed directly by the voters.
The relative property tax collection rate for spring 2020 tracked closely with 2019. Approximately 53% of the year’s total tax roll was collected in each spring season, respectively. Due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic Governor mandated economic shutdown, the Treasurer’s Office had earlier projected a 5% relative reduction in the spring tax collection rate. Treasurer Baumgartner credited the exemplary customer service of Treasurer’s Office staff and his decision to authorize the longest blanket property tax deadline extension in the state with the higher than expected revenue collection.
“We know that there are a lot of folks really struggling out there and that the pandemic and Governor Inslee’s economic shutdown has caused a lot of hardship,” said Baumgartner. “Our staff really worked hard these past several months. While many government offices reduced their service levels and response times, this was our busy season and we worked to ensure full office coverage on rotating shifts from day one of Courthouse public office closures. I’m pleased that our staff could work “virtually” with many taxpayers to talk about partial payment options or how to qualify for forms of tax relief.”
The 45-day tax payment extension that Baumgartner granted under his State of Emergency authority exceeded that of King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties by more than 2-weeks.
“It’s clear that folks really benefited from having extra time to pay, particularly having a deadline beyond the period some small businesses could begin to open back up,” said Baumgartner. “I wish we could eliminate or reduce the property tax obligations of the most impacted, but I don’t have that authority. We heard directly from folks in the restaurant, tourism and non-government construction sectors that really got creamed by the pandemic and Inslee’s shutdown order.
The Treasurer’s Office now estimates a revised 5% decrease in relative tax collection rates for the year, revised from an earlier 10% estimate.
“Much of what will happen in the fall property tax collection season will really depend on what happens with the pandemic and how quickly the Governor opens the economy back-up,” said Baumgartner. “Right now we are advising the 80 plus local government entities and school districts that we bank for to expect a 95% tax collection rate for the year.”
The fall property tax collection season typically begins in mid-September with the second-half of property tax obligations due by Oct 31st, 2020.