Skip to main content

Thurston County, Washington

Power has been restored to County Offices at the Atrium building.

Power has been restored at the County Offices at the Atrium building, 3000 Pacific AVE SE. Services have resumed. Our apologies for any inconvenience. 

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Assessor

Property Tax Relief Programs Overview

Like every responsibility, there are always exceptions where special consideration is given for certain circumstances. Our state leaders have created programs to support different needs in our communities.

The Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Exemption Program helps eligible individuals on a limited income to pay property taxes. This program freezes the value of your residence, exempts all excess levies, and may exempt a portion of regular levies.

A senior citizen must be 61 years old and annual household combined income may not exceed $59,000. Disabled persons have no age limit but must be unable to work because of a physical or mental disability.

There is also a Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Deferral Program which postpones payment of your property taxes. But unlike the exemption program this program is not a reduction of your taxes. On your behalf, the Department of Revenue pays the deferred property taxes. When the property changes ownership, the amount of the postponed taxes, plus interest each year, becomes a lien in favor of the State until the total amount is repaid.

Apply for a destroyed property tax adjustment if your property has been partially or totally destroyed. Also apply if the Governor or County Board of Commissioners has declared your region as a disaster area and there is a value reduction of 20% or more.

When you decide to make home improvements through remodeling and additions there is a Residential Remodeling Exemption available for home improvements. This law was passed to allow homeowners a three-year tax break in order to pay on any loan application associated with the home improvement project.

If you have agricultural, open space or timberlands, you may apply to classify your land under the Current Use/Open Space Program. This generally means a reduced assessed value for the duration of the classification; however, removal may result in penalties and interest charges.

These programs are available for you, the taxpayer. If you want more information on any of these programs, please call our office at (360) 867-2200.

RCW 84.70 - Destroyed Property--Abatement or Refund

When notified of property damage by the taxpayer, the Assessor may be able to reduce the assessed value of damaged property as of the date of destruction.

Taxpayers whose real or business personal property is destroyed may qualify for an adjustment in its assessed value. The Claim For Reduction Of Assessment application form is available online

click here to download form.

 


Who May Apply

Any taxpayer whose real or business personal property has been placed on the assessment roll as of January 1 may apply for a destroyed property tax adjustment when the property:

  • Is destroyed, in whole or in part, or
  • Is in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the State of Washington or county legislative authority and has a reduction of more than 20 percent in value.

Filing the Claim

The claim form must be filed within three years from the date of destruction in order to qualify for the adjustment. Please be sure to include a daytime phone number.

To help our office process your claim, please furnish the following:

Completed forms can be mailed to our office at:
Thurston County Assessor's Office
3000 Pacific Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Or emailed to AsrInfo@co.thurston.wa.us

  • Photos of the damage if available
  • Estimated cost of repair or replacement (From an insurance company or licensed contractor)
  • Estimated date when repairs will be completed

Duty of the Assessor

The County Assessor shall calculate the new value and any reduction in taxes that the taxpayer may be entitled to and shall notify the taxpayer about the determination. The Treasurer will process any abatement or a refund of property taxes and notify the taxpayer.

If destroyed property is replaced before July 31, the taxable value for that year shall not exceed the value as of the appropriate valuation date. (RCW 36.21.080 or RCW 36.21.090)


Taxpayer May Appeal Amount of Reduction

If the taxpayer disagrees with the determination made by the county assessor, an appeal of the amount of reduction may be sent to the County Board of Equalization within sixty (60) days of notification from the assessor or by July 1 of the year of reduction, whichever is later.

Please call Customer Service at (360) 867-2200 if you have questions.

Property owners who register their historic properties make a commitment to preserving these sites. Thurston County believes in the preservation of our cultural and historic assets. Preservation of significant historic structures is needed so that current and future generations can appreciate our County’s rich past and invest in our promising future.

For definitions and more information see RCW 84.26

According to RCW 84.26.020, the actual cost of substantial improvement to eligible historic property (which cost is 25 percent or more of the assessed value of the historic structure prior to rehabilitation) may be excluded from the assessed value of such property for a period of ten years. Applications for this exemption may be obtained at the Assessor's office by calling (360)867-2200 or online by selecting the appropriate Historic Preservation Board application site below. Applications must be approved by the Historical Preservation Board of the jurisdiction within which the property is located.

Jurisdictions That Approve Applications

Contact the jurisdiction to review your remodel plan and determine whether you qualify. Application for the Historic Property property tax relief program is filed with and approved by the following local Historic Preservation Boards:


Lacey

 
Jennifer Burbidge
City of Lacey
Parks Department
420 College St. SE
Lacey, WA 98503
(360) 491-0857
jburbidge@ci.lacey.wa.us
Please contact city for brochure.
Application

Olympia

 
Marygrace Goddu
City of Olympia
601 4th Ave. E
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 753-8031
mgoddu@ci.olympia.wa.us
Olympia Info
Application

Thurston County

 
Sonja Cady
2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 867-2117
cami.petersen@co.thurston.wa.us
Thurston County Info
Application

Tumwater

 
Chuck Denney
Parks and Recreation
City of Tumwater
555 Israel Road S.W.
Tumwater, WA 98501
(360) 754-4160
cdenney@ci.tumwater.wa.us
Please contact city for brochure.
Application

Yelm

 
Chris Vaccaro
Community & Economic
Development Department
City of Yelm
105 Yelm Ave. W
Yelm, WA 98597
(360) 458-8407
chrisv@yelmwa.gov
Please contact city for brochure.
Application

This deferral program is for applicants with a disposable income of $57,000 or less. It applies to property taxes due and payable after April 30. The application is due by September 1 of the year of the deferral and the first installment of property taxes must have been paid at the time of the application.

Eligibility

An applicant must have owned the home for at least five years and currently reside in it. The total deferral cannot exceed 40 percent of the equity in the residence and the owner must have sufficient fire and casualty insurance.

How It Works

The state pays the second half installment of property taxes and places a lien on the property.

The deferred taxes, with interest, must be repaid. The interest rate is based on the federal prime rate plus 2 percent.

For more information, visit the Department of Revenue, or to obtain the publication, click here.

What’s the difference between a property tax deferral and a property tax exemption?

Under this deferral program, the Washington State Department of Revenue pays the second installment of your property taxes and/or special assessments, due October 31st, on your behalf.

The program is not an exemption or a grant. Deferred taxes are taxes that have been postponed. When you no longer own and use the property as your personal residence you must repay the deferred tax. The deferred amount, plus interest, becomes a lien in favor of the state until the total amount is repaid.

(Washington State Department of Revenue Publication)

RCW 84.36.030 & RCW 84.36.031allows tax exemptions for property used for character building, benevolent, protective or rehabilitative social services – camp facilities – veteran or relief organization owned property – property of nonprofit organizations that issue debt for student loans or that are guarantee agencies.

To apply for a property tax exemption, organizations must file an application with the Property Tax Division at the Department of Revenue. Applications are due within 60 days of acquiring the property and/or converting the property to an exempt use. The exemption must be renewed by March 31st each year.

Other property exemptions may be found in RCW 84.36.032 through RCW 84.36.350.

For further information, please contact Washington State Department of Revenue at www.dor.wa.gov

(Washington State Department of Revenue Publication)

RCW 84.36.010 allows exemption of taxes to all publicly owned property such as that of federal, federally recognized Indian tribe, state, county, or city governments.

Essential government services includes public facilities (city hall, state offices), fire, police, public health, schools, sewer, water, environmental and land use, transportation, tribal administration, and utility services.

For further information, please contact Washington State Department of Revenue at (360) 534-1400, or via the internet at www.dor.wa.gov.

Residential Remodeling

Property owners making extensive remodeling to a single family dwelling may wish to apply for the Remodeling Exemption. Apply before the remodeling is completed. The exemption cannot exceed 30 percent of the assessed value of the structure prior to remodeling.

Any addition, improvement, remodel, renovation, or structural correction that materially adds to the value or improves the condition of an existing dwelling may qualify for reduced property taxes for three years. RCW 84.36.400 or WAC 458-16-080

For an application, click here.


ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: Improvements or Additions

Improvements must be attached to and compatible with existing single family dwellings.

Additions or Remodeling of garages, carports, patios, or other improvements attached to and compatible with similar dwellings also are eligible for the remodeling exemption.

Ineligible Changes include the addition or repair of swimming pools, fences, outbuildings, or other structures not normally recognized as part of the dwelling unit. Routine or general maintenance, such as roof replacement, carpeting, or painting does not qualify.


Applications Must Be Filed BEFORE The Remodeling Is Done

  • The exemption is available for single family dwellings only. Application forms are available online.
  • Complete the application and return it to the Thurston County Assessor's Office BEFORE the remodeling is completed. You can mail the completed application to our office at:

    Thurston County Assessor's Office
    3000 Pacific Ave SE
    Olympia, WA 98501

    Or email it to AsrInfo@co.thurston.wa.us

  • Upon notice of completion and approval by the Assessor’s Office, the exemption will be applied for three consecutive years following the year of completion.
  • The amount of the exemption is based on the assessed value of the remodeling work. It cannot be more than 30 percent of the assessed value of the dwelling before remodeling.

WAC 458-16-080 IMPROVEMENTS TO SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS

Definitions. For the purpose of WAC 458-16-080 and 081 and RCW 84.36.400:

(1) "Single family dwelling" or "dwelling" means a structure maintained and used as a residential dwelling that is designed exclusively for occupancy by one family.

(2) “Physical improvement” means any addition, improvement, remodeling, renovation or structural correction which shall materially adds to the value of an existing single family dwelling. It is an actual, material, and permanent change that increases the values of the dwelling.


WAC 458-16-080 EXEMPTION - FILING - AMOUNT - LIMITS

Any physical improvement to an existing single family dwelling upon real property shall be exempt from taxation for three assessment years; provided, that no exemption shall be allowed unless a claim is filed with the county assessor of the county in which the property is located prior to completing the improvement. The claim shall be on such forms as prescribed by the department of revenue and supplied by the county assessor.

The assessor, upon receipt of the claim, shall determine the value of the single family dwelling prior to the improvement. This valuation may be arrived at by either a new physical appraisal or a statistical update of the current assessed value.

Upon written notification of the completion of the improvement by the applicant, the Assessor shall revalue the dwelling by means of a physical appraisal; provided, that the valuation prior to commencing the improvement, whether by a new physical appraisal or statistical update, and the physical appraisal upon completion of the improvement shall not obviate the requirement for a physical appraisal set forth in RCW 36.21.070. The difference of the two values shall be the amount of the exemption and shall be deducted from the value of the dwelling after the completion of the improvement or any subsequent value determined according to chapters 84.41 RCW or 84.48 RCW; provided, the amount of the exemption shall not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the value of the dwelling prior to the improvement, and, provided further, that in no event will the assessed value of the dwelling unit, after deduction of the exemption, be less than it was prior to the improvement.

The cost of the physical improvement shall not be construed as being the dominant factor in determining the exemption.

The exemption shall be allowed on the property for the three assessment years following the year of completion of the improvement. If at any time the property does not meet the definition contained in WAC 458-16-080(1), the exemption shall be canceled.

This exemption shall not be allowed on the same dwelling more than once in a five-year period, calculated from the date the exemption first affected the assessment roll.

The Senior Citizen and People with Disabilities Exemption Program reduces property taxes for qualifying homeowners.

There are 3 criteria you must meet in the Assessment Year to qualify for the exemption the following year:

  1. Age or disability (by 12/31 of the previous year)
    • You must be 61 years of age or older or
    • Disabled and unable to be gainfully employed or
    • Veteran with an 80% or greater service-connected disability rating.
  2. Own your home and reside there more than 6 months in the Assessment Year.
  3. Have a total combined disposable income of $59,000 or less.

How to apply

The easiest way to apply for the exemption is to bring all the required information to our office. (See Below for required documentation) We will fill out the application for you and the entire process can usually be completed in less than 15 minutes.

Our address is:

Thurston County Assessor's Office
3000 Pacific Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501

When you arrive at our office, please have the following documentation with you to ensure that we can complete your application:

  • Your Current Washington State ID or Driver's License
  • Proof of Disability (if under 61)
    • Social Security Award Letter (or Social Security 1099)
    • Proof of Disability Statement completed by a licensed physician (you can get a blank form here)
    • VA Award Letter or Benefit Verification Letter with your combined disability rating and effective date
  • Income & Deductions documentation for you and your spouse/co-tenant (co-tenant is someone who has an ownership interest and also lives there)
    • This may include, but is not limited to: IRS Tax Return (1040) with all schedules and attachments, SSA-1099 (Social Security), RRB-1099 (Railroad Retirement), 1099-R, any other 1099, K-1, W-2, W-2-G, statement from Labor & Industries, or any other income documents
    • If you do not file an IRS Tax Return, you need to provide documentation for all income for all income sources, such as: SSA-1099, RRB-1099, W-2, etc.
  • Trust documents if the property is held in a trust.
    • State law requires non-taxable income, such as Social Security and L&I Pensions, to be included.
    • Receipts, invoices, or documentation for deductions

 

Disposable Income

When calculating disposable income, we are required to include income from all sources, taxable and nontaxable.

Some of the most common sources of income we must include are:

  • Social Security
  • L&I pensions
  • Disability pensions
  • Wages, salaries and tips
  • Interest and dividends
  • Pension and annuity, including retirement bonds, IRAs
  • Retirement benefits
  • Rental or Business income - Depreciation and losses may not be deducted.
  • Capital gains
  • Unemployment
  • VA income, other than disability, attendant care, medical aid, or dependency & indemnity compensation

VA Disability payments are not included in the calculation of disposable income

Allowed Deductions

Out of pocket expenses for:

  • Legally prescribed drug costs.
  • Home health care expenses.
  • Nursing home, boarding home, assisted living, or adult family home expenses.
  • Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D insurance premiums.

Starting for the 2022 tax year and beyond, the following out of pocket expenses will be allowed as well:

  • Medicare supplemental/Medigap insurance premiums. Click here for additional Medigap insurance info.
  • Long-term care insurance premiums.
  • Cost-sharing amounts - i.e. amounts applied toward your health plan's "out-of-pocket maximum". (RCW 48.43.005(18)).
  • Medicines of mineral, animal, and botanical origin prescribed, administered, dispensed, or used in the treatment of an individual by a naturopath licensed under Washington law.
  • Durable medical equipment costs. Common examples may be Medical Beds, Bedpans, Glucose meters, etc. See WAC 458-20-18801 Table 1 for more examples.
  • Mobility enhancing equipment costs. Common examples may be Canes, Walkers, Wheelchairs, etc. See WAC 458-20-18801 Table 3 for more examples.
  • Prosthetic devices costs. Common examples may include Eyeglasses, Hearing Aids, Dentures, etc. See WAC 458-20-18801 Table 5 for more examples.
  • Medically prescribed oxygen.
  • Nebulizers.
  • Ostomic items.
  • Kidney dialysis devises.
  • Disposable devices used to deliver drugs for human use.

Additional information about the program is available in our Brochure. If you have any additional questions, please contact our office at (360) 867-2200 or by email at asrinfo@co.thurston.wa.us

For an application for the 2024 tax year, click here.

For previous years click here.