Levy Frequently Asked Questions

  What is property tax?

Property tax is a tax that is imposed on persons because of their ownership or possession of property.  In Washington State, all real and personal property are subject to tax unless specifically exempted by law.  Property tax was the first tax levied in the state of Washington.


The 1889 state constitution recognized that to be effective, uniformity must apply to both assessments and tax rates. Through every subsequent amendment, uniform assessment has remained a constitutional requirement. In 1973, the Legislature mandated that property be assessed at 100 percent of its market value beginning with the 1975 assessments. Up until the 1930's, property tax was the only major tax that supported most state and local government programs. Today, property tax accounts for about 30 percent of total state and local taxes. It continues to be the most important revenue source for public schools, fire protection, library, park and recreation, and other special purpose districts.


  Who determines the amount of our property taxes?

Property taxes in Washington State are budget based. Each individual taxing district, such as cities, county, schools, fire, library, ports, etc., decides how much money to levy or budget each year for their regular levies, voter approved levies or both during an open session.  Once the budget has been adopted, the amount of taxes to be collected is certified to the county assessor.


The Assessor determines the levy rate required to raise the certified tax for each district, ensuring that none of the constitutional or statutory limitations are exceeded.


  Are there any limits on property taxes?

Yes, the Washington State property tax system has several limitations. View the Levy Limitations.


  Is it possible to make a "ballpark estimate" of how much taxes will be on a piece of property that I am thinking about buying (or a structure that I might build)?

The average 2017 tax rate in Kitsap County is about $11.51 per $1,000 of assessed value.  Rates vary from area to area and year to year, but multiplying the value or cost (per $1,000), by the average levy rate will provide a rough estimate of taxes.


Example:  200,000 X 11.51 รท 1,000 = $2,302


  What is the difference between an Assessment Notice and a Tax Statement?

The assessment notice is sent to the taxpayer of record by the county assessor annually to notify taxpayers of a change in value on which the following year's property taxes will be based.  The assessed values represent market value as of January 1 of the assessment year.  Taxpayers have until July 1 or 60 days from the date of the notice (whichever is later) to file an appeal with the Board of Equalization (BOE), however taxpayers are encouraged to contact the Assessor's Office to discuss their property characteristics. 


A property tax statement is sent to taxpayer of record by the county treasurer typically in February of each year and is a notification of property taxes owing for that year.  The assessed value on the tax statement is the value of the property as of January 1 of the prior year. 


  What is the 1% Levy Limit?

View the 1% Levy Limit (Initiative 747) under Levy Limitations.