Property tax relief programs expanded for senior and disabled citizens

(OLYMPIA)- Seniors and disabled citizens will have an easier time qualifying for property tax relief starting with their 2020 tax bill. This comes as the result of recent legislation (ESSB 5160) that changes the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs.

Previously at $40,000, the new income limit changes to the greater of $40,000 or 65% of the county’s median household income. The new income thresholds for each county are listed on Revenue’s website, dor.wa.gov/incomethresholds.

The exemption applies to a person’s primary residence and depends on the combined disposable income of the applicant, spouse, partner and/or co-tenants occupying the same home.

In addition to income and residency, a homeowner must meet one of the criteria below:

- 61 years or older
- Unable to work because of a disability
- A disabled veteran*
- A surviving spouse or partner who is 57 years or older

*Disabled veterans can now qualify for exemption if they have a combined service-connected evaluation of 80% or higher, or they are compensated at 100% regardless of the combined service-connected evaluation.

Previously at $45,000, the new income limit changes to the greater of $45,000 or 75% of the county’s median household income. You can find the new income thresholds for each county at dor.wa.gov/incomethresholds.

This deferral applies to a person’s primary residence and depends on the combined disposable income of the applicant, spouse, partner and/or co-tenants occupying the same home.

In addition to income and residency, a homeowner must meet one of the criteria below:

- 60 years or older
- Unable to work because of a disability
- Be at least 57 years old and related to someone who was receiving a deferral at the time of death in one of the following ways:
the surviving spouse; partner; heir; devisee (a person to whom real estate is left by the terms of a will)

Counties administer property taxes on behalf of the state. Interested homeowners should contact their local county assessor’s office to apply.