Frequently Asked Questions About Property Taxes
Property taxes are due when the Treasurer has certified them. This typically happens in mid to late January of each year. The taxes are late if the first half is not paid by April 30th. If the first half is paid by April 30th, the balance owing is late if not paid by October 31st.
If the April 30th or October 31st due date falls on a Saturday or Sunday the due date then becomes the following Monday.
Per Washington State Law (RCW 84.56.020) interest and penalty is charged on late payments. Interest is assessed on the full amount due for the year, since the entire tax is considered late if half is not paid by April 30th. In addition, a penalty of 3% may be added on June 1st and another 8% penalty may be added on December 1st. Simple interest and penalty is added on the 1st day of the month and is not prorated. Although interest continues to accrue monthly as long as the tax remains delinquent, the penalty is assessed one time against the current year tax only. See the Special Notice from the Department of Revenue on Legislative changes to delinquent property taxes to determine the late fees or you may call our office at 360-786-5550 for details.
Personal property and mobile homes are subject to sale for non-payment as soon as property taxes are late. Real property is not subject to sale until property taxes are a full 3 years delinquent. Additional collection costs are added once a property is subject to sale for non-payment of property taxes.
If your payment is late, it must include the late fees added or the payment will be returned to you.
All counties are governed by the laws of the State of Washington. The law does not allow extensions due to hardship or any other extenuating circumstance.
Yes you can arrange for a payment plan with the Treasurer's Office for delinquent, prior year property taxes. Contact our office so we can mail you a payment plan agreement, which requires your signature so we are confident you understand the terms of the agreement.
For current year property taxes we must receive the full amount that is due. Late payments must include interest and penalty that is due. Payments not for the amount due will be returned. Half payments are valid for only the current year amount until October 30th. Current year real property taxes paid after October 30th must pay the entire year's balance.
First locate your property on the Property Search page then look for a link called "Installments Payable/Paid For Tax Year(Enter 4-digit Year, then Click-Here)" down the left side of the page. Enter the tax year you want information for and click on the link.
You may not have updated your mailing address with us, or the statement may have been lost in the mail. We mail a tax statement to individuals who have said they are directly paying their taxes. We send a summary postcard if you have arranged for your mortgage company to pay your taxes for you. We also send the summary postcard if you have signed up for our automatic withdrawal plan (ACH). Both of these notices go out in February based on addresses we have as of December 31st.
It is your responsibility to pay taxes even if the tax notice does not reach you. Please call us for a duplicate statement or check the balance due using our online search. It is a good idea to verify online we have the correct mailing address.
You can pay online using an electronic check, major credit card or VISA debit card. For an electronic check payment there is no transaction fee. For a VISA debit card payment there is a flat fee of $3.95. For a credit card payment there is a 2.35% or $2.00 minimum transaction fee based on the amount of taxes being paid.
You can pay using cash, money order, check, credit card or VISA debit card in our office: (the same fees apply for credit card or VISA debit card transactions as when paying from our web site)
Thurston County Treasurer
3000 Pacific Ave SE Suite 130
Olympia, WA 98501
You can mail your payment to our office at The Atrium Building:
Thurston County Treasurer
3000 Pacific Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Yes we do. Our office can set up an automatic payment option to pay your property taxes from your checking or savings account. A copy of the enrollment form needs to be filled out and mailed to our office along with a voided check to get started.
You are legally the taxpayer and we work directly with you. You have a contractual relationship with your mortgage company that does not involve our office. We do help facilitate passing along the information your mortgage company needs to make the payment. Most information exchanges with the mortgage companies take place electronically. You should have received a summary postcard from us in mid-February indicating a mortgage company was paying. If you did not receive this postcard notice, you should contact us or check online.
It is always your responsibility to ensure property taxes are paid in a timely manner. You can check the payment of taxes online to see that yours are current. We encourage you to also check online if you want a copy of your tax bill.
Each year our office sends out a tax statement to the last known address. The statement lists current and delinquent taxes. If you did not provide a current mailing address or the tax statement was returned as undeliverable, you may not have received the statement. It is your responsibility to keep your address current and to check if you do not receive a statement. The taxes attach to the property and remain a lien against the property not against the individual.
No, taxes follow the property, not the taxpayer. The county does not foreclose on people, only the property. It is your responsibility to ascertain the status of taxes before you purchase the property.
Because postage rates are high Thurston County does not send out tax statements other than when required by law - which is in February of the current year based on ownership on December 31st of the prior year. It is your responsibility to decide how the taxes are being handled in your real estate closing and know whether the property still has taxes due for the year.
Yes, a payment is on time if it is postmarked on or before the due date. Dates imprinted by a postage meter do not comply. Because of changes in how mail is handled by the US Post Office they no longer guarantee a postmark of the same date your payment is mailed. To avoid late charges please allow more than one day when mailing a payment.
The 11-digit property number is assigned by the Thurston County Assessor. It is shown on your tax statement in the upper left corner. It also is shown on the Assessor's Value Change Notice in about the middle of the page. You can also obtain the number by calling the Thurston County Assessor at 360-867-2200, option 1. Or you can call customer service at our office. Refer to our contact numbers.
You can notify us of a change of address by writing the new address on the remittance stub you include when you return a tax payment. Or you can send us an email email@example.com requesting such a change. You can also submit a request electronically.
Spelling corrections or similar minor changes to the taxpayer name can be made by writing the change on your tax remittance stub you use to make your payment. Legally changing the ownership/taxpayer name requires a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit be filed with our office. These forms can be obtained online.
Personal property includes the business equipment owned by anyone who operates a business in Thurston County. Personal property tax rates are the same as real property and payment due dates are the same. Also, collection (referred to as “distraint”) starts immediately when a tax is delinquent. Personal property taxes are a lien on any real property or other business asset owned by the same person.
The tax roll is public information and anyone has the right to review it. This includes your name and mailing address and any other parts of the information we retain for tax collection purposes.
You should have handled the property tax during your real estate closing. You prorated the amount due for taxes between the buyer and seller. And then taxes may (or may not) have been settled with the County Treasurer. It might be useful to forward the statement on to the new owner or you may save the statement for your records.
Omitted taxes are for improvements (generally buildings) to the property to which value should have been assessed in prior years but wasn't. Omitted assessments can be added for up to 3 prior years. Taxes are based on the assessed value and levy rate appropriate for each prior year. You get an additional year to pay omitted taxes. The regular taxes (non-omitted) remain due in February and will be late if half is not paid by April 30th.
Delinquent tax information is not reported to any credit agency. Your name will appear in the foreclosure notice of delinquent taxes in the Legal Notices column of a local newspaper. Any amount received at sale that is more than the taxes and collection costs due will be given to you.
Real property foreclosure begins once the real property taxes are a full 3 years delinquent. Personal property is put into collection immediately upon becoming delinquent. Both processes start in June of each year, culminating in final sale the second week in January. See our fact sheet for more information.
By law, the treasurer can bill and collect for other types of government charges when sending out the tax bill. This is generally a cheaper method of billing customers as everything appears on one bill. We bill for the following government assessments:
- State Forest Fire Protection
- Noxious Weed Control
- Conservation District
- Drainage Districts
- Lakes Management Districts
- Septic Program
These assessments are not a tax, they are a charge for value received as determined by the appropriate governing body. The charge does create an enforceable lien on your property.
We will not accept a payment for property taxes only. The special assessments are enforceable liens on your property and should be included as part of your payment. The property can be sold through the foreclosure process if the assessments are not paid after 3 full years of delinquency. Most assessments also charge interest and penalty on late payments.
If you believe the tax is unlawful or excessive and want to preserve your right to seek a refund in court you must submit a separate written statement saying you are paying the tax under protest and stating all of the reasons why you believe the tax paid under protest is unlawful or excessive. This statement must accompany your tax payment.
This statement does not do anything to change the tax you are charged and we provide no response to the statement. The letter merely preserves a legal right to pursue action. You must take that action by following the appeal process (and meet the timelines) done through the Thurston County Board of Equalization.
Also, if you have an issue with any of the individual taxes, you should be contacting the governing body of the entity with your questions.
Please look in our glossary for additional information on terms.
Assessed Value Questions
Contact the Thurston County Assessor or file a valuation appeal with the Thurston County Board of Equalization.
The Thurston County Assessor is responsible for assessment of property. You can visit their website or contact them at 360-867-2200.
If your annual household income does not exceed $48,566 and you own and reside in your home, including mobile homes, you may be able to get a tax reduction. You must be at least 61 years of age or, if under 61, retired because of a disability and unable to work. To apply for the senior/disabled exemption, contact the Thurston County Assessor.
As a senior, you may also qualify to have your taxes "deferred" and paid by your estate. See the Thurston County Assessor website for more information.
The amount of tax reduced depends on the value of your property and the level of your income. Not all of the tax may disappear but you will receive a significant reduction. All qualifying senior/disabled taxpayers, regardless of property value, are exempt from voted taxes. In Thurston County voted taxes are, on average, about 40% of the tax bill.
Depending on when you applied, the Assessor may not have completed their part of the process and notified us so we can send you an updated tax bill. We cannot change the tax amount due until the Assessor has processed and approved your application. You must pay whatever tax is due on the due date or you will owe interest and maybe penalty, even if you have an application pending. If your application is processed after you pay, you will receive a refund or a bill for a reduced balance depending on the amount of the change.
All exemption programs are administered by the Thurston County Assessor. See their website for information on other exemptions/deferral programs such as home improvements, open space, agricultural, etc. They also have information about damaged or destroyed property.