Frequently Asked Questions
Washington State property tax relief programs for seniors, disabled persons, and disabled veterans
Q - What property tax relief is available for seniors, disabled persons, and disabled veterans?A - The following property tax relief is available for seniors, disabled persons, and disabled veterans:
> Property tax exemptions. Your property taxes are reduced for as long as you meet the qualifications and continue to own and live in your home.
> Property tax deferrals. Your property tax is deferred for payment at a later time. Deferred taxes and interest become a lien (obligation to repay) on your property. The lien is due when you no longer qualify for the program.
Q - What's an exemption?A - A property tax exemption freezes the value of your residence as of January 1 of the first year you receive the exemption (this value is called the frozen value).
As long as you qualify for the exemption, your annual property taxes will be based on the lesser of your frozen value or the current market value. The market value of the property will still be assessed annually, and you'll still be notified of changes.
A property tax exemption renews automatically for up to three years following your initial application, but you are required to reapply every four years. If your financial situation changes, it's your responsibility to notify the Kitsap County Assessor's Office to evaluate your new financial situation so that you can avoid penalties.Q - What's a deferral?A - A property tax deferral doesn't change the amount of your property taxes. Instead, the State of Washington pays your taxes and places a lien on your property for the taxes and interest paid. The state must be repaid when certain events occur, such as when you move or transfer ownership or if you don't maintain adequate fire and casualty insurance.
Initially, you can apply for a deferral and an exemption at the same time, but you must reapply for a property tax deferral every year.Q - Do I qualify for a property tax exemption?
A - Your qualification for a property tax exemption is based on your ownership, age, and income for the preceding year. For example, a property tax exemption for 2023 is based on 2022 information and income. You must meet the following three requirements to qualify:
Ownership - You own and occupy your house, mobile home, condo, or co-op.
Age or disability -
> You are at least age 61 in the prior year.
> Or you are disabled or a veteran with a service-connected disability (80% or higher).
> You might also qualify if your deceased spouse or registered domestic partner had an exemption at the time of death and you were at least age 57 that year.
> Your household gross income must be $48,574 or less
> Household income includes non-taxable & taxable income received by you, your spouse or domestic partner, and by any co-owner(s) who lives with you. Some expenses can be deducted, such as out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs, nursing homes and other care facilities, Medicare health insurance premiums - parts A, B, C, and D and Medicare supplemental (Medigap) policies as well as other out-of-pocket medical equipment costs, etc. For more information on allowed deductions please contact our office. Q - How do my property taxes change with an exemptionA - Depending on your household income, you might qualify for an exemption at one of these three levels:Category A - $33,628 or LessWhen your household income is $33,628 or less, your home will be exempt from all excess or special levies AND from regular levies on the first $60,000 or 60% of your home's assessed value, whichever is greater.
Category B - $33,629 to $41,101When your household income is between $33,629 and $41,101, your home will be exempt from all excess or special levies AND from regular levies for $50,000 or 35% of the assessed value, whichever is greater, not to exceed $70,000 of assessed value.
Category C - $41,102 to $48,574When your household income is between $41,102 and $48,574, your home will be exempt from all excess or special levies. Excess or special levies are in addition to regular levies. They require voter approval and provide money for a specific purpose, such as school bonds and maintenance and operation levies.Q - Can my frozen value increase?A - Yes. If you remodel your home (for example, add a bathroom) the value of the remodel is added to your frozen value. This new frozen value becomes the basis for future property taxes.Q - Do I qualify for a senior or disabled property tax deferral?A - If your taxes are delinquent or you need help paying your unpaid taxes in the current year, you may qualify for a property tax deferral. You must meet the following criteria:
Ownership - You owned and occupied your house, mobile home, condo, or co-op for at least nine months last year.
> You'll be at least 60 years old by December 31 of this year or you're disabled.
> You might also qualify if your deceased spouse or registered domestic partner had a deferral at the time of death and you were 57 or older when they passed away.
> For a deferral on your 2023 property taxes, your total household income in the previous year was $56,047 or less.
> Household income includes non-taxable & taxable income received by you, your spouse or domestic partner, and by any co-owner(s) who lives with you. Some expenses can be deducted, such as out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs, nursing homes and other care facilities, Medicare health insurance premiums - parts A, B, C, and D and Medicare supplemental (Medigap) policies as well as other out-of-pocket medical equipment costs, etc. For more information on allowed deductions please contact our office.
Q - How do I apply for a property tax exemption?A - To apply for a property tax exemption, use the online Senior Exemption application. Or you can complete a paper application and bring it in or mail it to our office. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-337-7160.Q - What documents will I need when I apply?
A - You'll need documents and information about your age, property, and income. For details, refer to the Documents you'll need checklist. It's a good idea to print this list to help you gather all the documents and information before you get started.
If you're applying online, cover up all Social Security and account numbers as you attach the images of the original documents. If you mail copies of your documents, you can cover up these numbers with a thick felt pen or tape.Q - How do I apply for a property tax deferral?A - To apply for a property tax deferral, print the Deferral Application for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons, complete it, and then mail it with the required documents to:
Kitsap County Assessor's Office 614 Division Street MS22Port Orchard, WA 98367Q - What if I have additional questions about applying?A - Our experienced exemption staff can help you complete the forms and can answer additional questions about which documents you should provide. Email email@example.com or call 360-337-7160.Q - What happens after I apply?A - After we've reviewed it, we'll notify you of your exemption status in writing or we'll ask you for additional information.Q - Can I apply if my property taxes are delinquent?A - Yes. Please contact our office so we can help you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-337-7160.Financial info:
Q - Why do you need my federal tax return?A - You'll use information from your federal tax return to complete your application. We'll use it as a starting point to verify your income and to help us determine your exemption level as required by Washington State Law.Q - What if I don't file a federal tax return?A – Please provide other income documents, such as bank statements, Form 1099s, reverse mortgage statements, Social Security statements, or other year-end statements, to verify your income and how you pay your household expenses.Q - What is included in my household income for the program?A - To calculate your household income for the program, we include income received by you, your spouse, a domestic partner, and/or a co-owner who lives with you.
The Documents you'll need checklist contains a more detailed, printable list of income that's included in your household income, along with documents and information you'll need to gather before you apply.Q - What if I have no income or extremely low income?A - Even people without income or with extremely low income have expenses and some means of covering the costs of daily living, such as food, utilities, and transportation. Applications that show no source of funding are denied.
You might use funds from reverse mortgages, gifts from children, or savings accounts to cover your household expenses. Although we don't count these income sources toward your household income, you need to report the sources and the amounts on your application.Q - What if I co-own my home?A - You might qualify for an exemption as a co-owner. However, if you share ownership of your home, your exemption might be adjusted to reflect the share of your ownership.
For example, if you and your two children each own one-third of the home, your exemption will be applied to one-third of the value - the portion that you own. Your two children will continue to owe full property taxes on the percentage that they own.
If a co-owner lives with you, their income is included in the total household income on the exemption application.Q - Why is my calculated household income more than the adjusted gross income (AGI) on my federal tax return?A - To calculate your household income for the exemption program, we count income sources that might not be considered taxable by the IRS. For example:
> The IRS might partially or completely exclude Social Security from your taxable income. For the exemption program, the entire amount you receive via Social Security check or direct deposit is counted as income.
> The IRS allows you to deduct capital losses from capital gains. For the exemption program, all capital gains are counted as income, regardless of losses.
> Income earned by a spouse, a registered domestic partner, or a co-owner who lives with you is counted toward your household income for the exemption program, although it might not be included on your tax return.
> The IRS allows you to deduct depreciation from rental and business income. For the exemption program, these income sources are counted toward your household income in their entirety.
Any of these situations could cause your calculated household income to exceed your federal AGI.
Q - Will I need to reapply after I receive an exemption?A - We'll send you a renewal application when it's time for you to reapply—at least every four years. You'll need to provide updated information and documentation with your renewal application.Q - What happens if I don't respond to a renewal request?A - If you don't return your renewal form and the necessary documents by the date requested, you'll be removed from the program and you'll begin paying full property taxes based on your property's current market value.Q - What if I don't send documents with my renewal request?A - If you don't send documents with your renewal request, we'll ask you to provide the missing information. This will delay processing of your application. If you don't respond, you'll be removed from the program. At that time, you'll begin paying full property taxes based on your property's current market value.Changes:Q - What if my income or living situation changes?A - If your income or living situation changes in a way that might affect your qualification for a property tax exemption or your exemption level, it's your responsibility to contact us. Email email@example.com or call 360-337-7160.
Common changes that might affect your exemption include reaching 70½ years of age and beginning to draw on your IRA or annuity or loss of a spouse or partner.
If your income increases beyond the property tax exemption maximum, you'll be removed from the program for the year in which you don't qualify. You'll pay taxes on your property's current market value for that year.
If you are removed from the exemption program for one year, you might be reinstated at your original frozen value. In that event, you'll pay the reduced property taxes again the following year.Q - What if I'm over the income limit for more than one year?A - If your income exceeds the property tax exemption maximum for more than one year, you'll be removed from the program and will begin paying your full property taxes, based on your property's current market value.
If your income drops below the exemption maximum in the future, you can reapply and requalify for the program. Your new property tax exemption will be based on a new frozen value.Q - What if I move?A - If you move to a new home, condo, or mobile home that you have purchased, you might be able to transfer your exemption to the new property. You'll need to apply for the exemption on the new property.Q – If my deceased spouse or registered domestic partner had an exemption, does it transfer to me?A - If your deceased spouse or registered domestic partner had a senior or disabled property tax exemption at the time of death, and you were 57 or older that year, you might be eligible for a property tax exemption.Contact Info:
If you still have questions:
> Email us at Assessor@kitsap.gov
> Call us at 360-337-7160
> Review the related Washington state code in Chapter 458-16A WAC: Property tax—exemptions—homes for the aging, senior citizens, and disabled persons.