All real estate sales in the San Juan Islands on or after December 27, 2018, will be subject to the new tax half percent real estate excise tax (REET) approved by voters in the November 2018 general election. The revenue from the REET will be used to support the development of affordable housing options within San Juan County.
The tax will be assessed on the purchase and sale of real property within the county, with the buyer paying 99% of the tax and the seller paying 1%.
Ordinance 11-2018 calls for the new REET to go into effect thirty days after the election is certified. The election was certified on November 27 by the San Juan County Canvassing Board.
The ability for a county to adopt the housing REET is conditional on the county’s having already adopted a conservation areas REET. San Juan County is the only county in the state that has adopted a conservation areas REET (Land Bank), and is therefore the only county eligible to adopt a housing REET.
State legislation requires the conservation REET (the Land Bank tax) to be in effect at its full amount of 1 percent. The current Land Bank REET expires in 2026. If it isn't renewed at the full 1 percent, the affordable housing REET will end in 2026.
San Juan County Treasurer Rhonda Pederson is currently working with the Department of Revenue to implement the new tax, including updating the online Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit (REETA) form. For more information about the collection of the housing excise tax, contact Treasurer Rhonda Pederson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 378-2171.
For more information on the use of the funds, contact Housing Program Coordinator Ryan Page at email@example.com or (360) 370-0590.