Understanding assessed values and levy rates

Assessed values are higher this year for many properties, but higher assessed values do not necessarily mean an equal increase in taxes.

Taxing districts are limited to a 1% increase in their budgets, with some exceptions, so higher assessed values usually result in lower tax rates. Here are the recent historical rates for County Current, the main levy for San Juan County operations.

The Washington assessment process has two parts. The first part is the assessment of property at the current market value. When the real estate market is rising, assessed values increase to reflect the positive market.

The second part of the assessment process is determining the levy rate for the next year’s taxes. The total amount of taxes to be collected is divided by the total assessed value to get the levy rate. Washington limits total taxes, or the budget of each taxing district, to a 1% increase each year. There are a few exceptions to the 1% limit, including lid lifts, new construction, and the special tax for the state school levy.

The % increase for the Tax Amount shown for County Current exceeds 1% because the tax generated by new construction in the district is added to the district’s budget.

If the total tax to be collected does not increase more than 1%, it does not matter how much-assessed values go up. The levy rate will adjust downward (or upward) so the amount collected does not exceed the 1% increase allowed.


1 comment

  • Dan Zaehring
    Dan Zaehring Wednesday, 23 October 2019 20:25 Comment Link

    While the total taxes do not increase beyond the 1% allowable for existing properties, each property may increase at a different rate than the average, resulting in an individual tax bill being more or less - sometimes significantly. Some real estate markets were hot resulting in above average sales priceswhich will affect assessed values


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