Property taxes in Kent will rise an average of about 0.41 percent this year, a big drop from the increase of about 15.4 percent in 2018.
Property taxes will go down in roughly half of the cities and unincorporated areas in King County, and go up slightly in the other half, according to a news release Thursday from the King County Assessor’s Office. On average, property taxes in the county will drop by 1 percent compared to last year.
King County Treasury began sending out the annual property tax bills Feb. 14. King County collects property taxes on behalf of the state, the county, cities and taxing districts (such as school and fire districts), and distributes the revenue to these local governments.
The average increase across the county in 2018 was 17 percent, mainly due to additional taxes passed by the state Legislature to increase funding for K-12 basic education.
In 2019 in Kent, the the median assessed property value will go to $363,000 from $324,000 in 2018 for the average home, according to the Assessor’s Office. But the levy rate drops to 11.1 percent from 12.4 percent, which means taxes will be $4,036 this year (on $363,000) compared to $4,020 last year (on 324,000).
About 55 percent of property tax revenues collected in the county in 2019 pays for schools. Property taxes also fund voter-approved measures for veterans and seniors, fire protection and parks. King County receives about 18 percent of your property tax payment for roads, police, criminal justice, public health, elections, and parks, among other services.
The change in tax bills this year is primarily due to a reduction in the property taxes collected for school districts as part of the Legislature’s “levy swap” plan to fund K-12 education. Under that plan, a new statewide property tax was added last year to increase funding for schools, while local levies remained in place, causing a sharp spike in property taxes.
This year, under that plan, local levies will decrease, and will then reset in the future. What this means for taxpayers in general in 2019 is some will see a slight decrease in taxes, while others will see a slight increase.
“Property tax policy remains in a state of flux,” said King County Assessor John Wilson in the news release. “It’s important to remember changes in the law, or approval of special levies, have much more impact on changes to your tax bill than does the changing value of your property.”
Property taxes vary depending upon location, the assessed value of the property and the number of jurisdictions levying taxes (such as state, city, county, school district, port, fire district, etc).
Aggregate property tax collections in the county for the 2019 tax year will be $5.6 billion, a decrease of about 1 percent from the 2018 collection of $5.7 billion. Aggregate property value in King County increased by more than 13 percent from the previous year, going from $534.7 billion to $606.6 billion.
Low-income seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for a property-tax exemption offered by King County. Information on how to apply for an exemption, along with other property-assessment-related information, can be found at kingcounty.gov/assessor.
Property owners can find tax levy rates and more property related information by visiting the eReal Property Search on the King County Assessor’s website or by calling 206-296-7300.