Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tax Assessed Value vs. Market Value

Providing an accurate estimate of your home’s current market value is one of the most valuable services a Realtor® can provide for you, but have you ever wondered why it differs from the tax assessed value of your home? The primary reason for the difference between the two figures is explained by the word “current.”

Although the Washington State constitution requires property to be assessed at 100% of its “true and fair” value, that assessment typically lags about 18 months behind current market value. A Realtor®, on the other hand, uses the most current sales data to compare and contrast the value of your property with others around it.

The Assessor performs the function of an appraiser in placing a dollar value on your home or other property, and your property taxes are based on the figures provided by the Assessor. The Assessor does not, however, establish the dollar amount of taxes required, nor does the Assessor collect taxes. That function is performed by the County Treasurer.

Each February, you (or your mortgage company) will be mailed a tax bill, showing the amount of taxes owed for that year. A “Value Change Notice” is mailed each time your property is revalued for tax purposes. If you wish to question the amount of the assessment, first contact the Assessor’s Office, (206) 296-7300, to determine if there is an error. If you wish to appeal the assessed value of your property, contact the King County Board of Equalization at (206) 296-3496.

To learn more, including information on exemptions and deferrals for senior citizens and disabled persons, start with this website: www.metrokc.gov/Assessor/FAQ.htm or consult the King County Property Tax Advisor at (206) 296-5202.

Next up: Tax Assessment vs. Bank Appraisal

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