Find Washington assessor, assessment, auditor's, and appraiser's offices, revenue commissions, GIS, and tax equalization departments. Assessors provide information on property and land tax assessment, property listings, values, valuations, property search, and records.
The Assessor serves a county or local government by determining the value of all taxable property in the jurisdiction. Taxable property typically includes land and buildings, often referred to as real property, and the fixed assets owned by businesses, often referred to as personal property. In some states, motor vehicles may also be subject to property taxes. The property values determined by the Assessor are used to assess the property taxes owed by individual taxpayers. Accurate property value assessments help ensure fairness in the property tax system.
The Assessor maintains records on the physical characteristics for all the real property in a jurisdiction, including building size, land area, location, and building type. In order to make adjustments to property valuations, the Assessor tracks real estate market conditions and sales data. The Assessor also works closely with building and licensing officials to monitor changes to the property list because of new construction, building expansions, or demolitions. Depending on the state and locality, some real property is exempt from property taxes. Property owned by non-profit organizations, churches, or state agencies may be exempt, and the assessor must keep track of these properties as well.
At set intervals, assessors revalue all the real property in a jurisdiction. These revaluations may take place annually or less frequently depending on the rules for the particular jurisdiction. In addition to updating real property values based on changes in market conditions, the revaluation process helps to identify previously unrecorded additions or deletions to the property list, as well as abandoned properties.
Personal property owned by businesses is often self-reported on established forms or declarations used by the Assessor's Office. Assessors may also perform site inspections, review property transfer documents and bills of sale, or search public documents in order to identify taxable personal property.