This rule explains how and when a senior citizen,
disabled person, or disabled veteran must file additional documents with the
county assessor to maintain their senior citizen, disabled person, or disabled
veteran property tax exemption. The rule also explains what happens when the
claimant or the property no longer qualifies for the full exemption.
Examples. This rule includes examples that
identify a set of facts and then state a conclusion. These examples should only
be used as a general guide.
Continuing the exemption.
The claimant must keep the assessor up to date on their continued qualification
for the senior citizen, disabled person, or disabled veteran property tax
exemption. The claimant keeps the assessor up to date in the following three
(a) First, the claimant submits a change
in status form when any change affects their exemption. In some circumstances,
the change in status form may be submitted by an executor, a surviving spouse,
a surviving domestic partner, or a purchaser to notify the county of a change
in status affecting the exemption;
(b) Second, the claimant submits a renewal
application for the exemption either on the assessor's request following an
amendment of the income requirement, or at least once every six years;
(c) Third, the claimant applies
to transfer the exemption when moving to a new principal residence.
Change in status.
When a claimant's circumstances change in a way that affects their
qualification for the senior citizen, disabled person, or disabled veteran
property tax exemption, the claimant must submit a completed change in status
form to notify the county of this change.
When to submit form. The claimant must submit a change in status
form to the county assessor for any change affecting that person's
qualification for the exemption within thirty days of the change in status. If
the claimant is unable or fails to submit a change in status form, any
subsequent property owner, including a claimant's estate or surviving spouse or
surviving domestic partner, should submit a change in status form to avoid
interest, and in some cases, the penalty for willfully claiming the exemption
based on erroneous information.
Change in status described.
A change in status includes:
(i) Changes that affect the property (i.e.,
changes in land use regulations, new construction, boundary line changes,
rentals, ownership changes, etc.);
(ii) Changes to the property owner's annual
income that increase or decrease property taxes due under the exemption;
(iii) Changes that affect the
property owner's eligibility for the exemption (i.e., death, moving to a
replacement residence, moving to another residence the claimant does not own,
not meeting the occupancy requirements, marriage, registration in a state
registered domestic partnership, improvement of a disability for a disabled
person's claim, or a disabled person entering into gainful employment, and in
some cases, moving into a hospice, a nursing home, or any other long-term care
Change in status form. The county assessor designs the change in
status form or adapts a master form obtained from the department. The county
must obtain approval of the final form from the department before it may be
distributed. The claimant, the claimant's agent, or a subsequent owner of the
residence must use a change in status form from the county where the principal
residence is located. The person filing the form must certify that under
penalty of perjury under the laws of Washington, the information on the change
in status form is true and correct.
Obtaining the form. The
claimant or subsequent property owner may obtain the form from the county
assessor where their principal residence is located. The form may also be
obtained electronically if available from the county assessor and electronic
filing has been approved by the department.
Failure to submit the form after a
change in status occurs. If the claimant fails to submit the change in
status form, the application information relied on becomes erroneous for the
period following the change in status. Upon discovery of the erroneous
information, the assessor determines the status of the exemption, and notifies
the county treasurer to collect any unpaid property taxes and interest from the
claimant, the claimant's estate, or if the property has been transferred, from
the subsequent property owner. The treasurer may collect any unpaid property
taxes, interest, and penalties for a period not to exceed five years as
84.36.385. In addition, if a person willfully
fails to submit the form or provides erroneous information, that person is
liable for an additional penalty equal to one hundred percent of the unpaid
taxes. If the change in status results in a refund of property taxes, the
treasurer may refund property taxes and interest for up to the most recent
three years after the taxes were due as provided in
Loss of the exemption.
provided in RCW 84.40.-360, if the change in status disqualifies the applicant
for the exemption, property taxes must be recalculated based on the current
full assessed value of the property and paid from the date the change in status
For example, the exemption is lost when the claimant dies,
unless the spouse or domestic partner also qualifies. The property taxes are
then recalculated based on the full assessed value of the principal residence,
on a pro rata basis, beginning the day following the date of the claimant's
death through the remainder of the year.
Loss of exemption on part of the
If a change in status results in the removal of a portion of
the property from the exemption, property taxes on that portion are no longer
exempt and must be recalculated based on the current full assessed value of
that portion of the property and paid from the date the change in status
For example, a property owner subdivides their one-acre lot
into two parcels. The parcel that does not have the principal residence built
on it will no longer qualify for the exemption. The property taxes are then
recalculated based on the full assessed value of that parcel on a pro rata
basis for the remainder of the year beginning the day following the date the
subdivision was given final approval.
Exemption reduced. If the
change in income reduces the exemption amount, the increased property taxes are
due in the year following the change in income. For example, a claimant's
income rises so that only excess levies and the state property tax levy imposed
under RCW 84.52.-065(2) on the principal residence are exempt. The claimant's
income is based on the assessment year. In the following year when the taxes
are collected, the property taxes due will be calculated with only an exemption
for excess levies and an exemption for the state property tax levy imposed
The county assessor must notify claimants when to file a
renewal application with updated supporting documentation.
Notice to renew. Written
notice must be sent by the assessor and must be mailed at least three weeks in
advance of the expected claimant response date.
When to renew. The assessor
must request a renewal application at least once every six years. The assessor
may request a renewal application for any year the income requirements are
amended in the statute after the exemption is granted.
applications. Renewal applications are processed in the same manner as
the initial application.
The renewal application form. The county assessor may design the
renewal application form or adapt either its own application form or the
application master form obtained from the department. The county must obtain
approval of the final renewal application form from the department before it
may be distributed and used, and must also obtain authorization from the
department if providing an option to file by electronic means. The property
owner must use a renewal form from the county where the principal residence is
located and must certify under penalty of perjury under the laws of Washington,
the information on the renewal application form is true and correct.
Obtaining the renewal
application. The assessor provides the renewal application, in either
paper or electronic form, to senior citizens, disabled persons, or disabled
veterans claiming the exemption.
Failure to submit the renewal
application. If the property owner fails to submit the renewal
application, the exemption is discontinued until the claimant reapplies for the
exemption. The assessor may postpone collection activities and continue to work
with an eligible claimant to complete an application for a missed
Transfer of the exemption.
When a claimant moves to a replacement
residence, they must file a change in status form with the assessor in the
county where their former principal residence was located. No claimant may
receive an exemption on more than the equivalent of one residence in any year.
Exemption on the former
residence. The exemption on the former residence will apply through the
closing date of the sale of the former residence, provided the former residence
was the claimant's principal residence prior to the date of closing. Property
taxes must be recalculated based on the current full assessed value of the
property and paid from the day following the date the sale closed. The taxes
are paid for the remaining portion of the year.
Exemption on the replacement
residence. Upon moving, the claimant must reapply for the exemption in
the county where the replacement residence is located if the claimant wants to
continue receiving the exemption. The same application, supporting documents,
and application process is used for the exemption on the replacement residence
as when a claimant first applies. The exemption on the replacement residence
applies on a pro rata basis in the year the claimant moves, but only from the
latter of the date the claimant moves into the new principal residence or the
day following the date the sale closes on their former residence.