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The 2012 Legislature has authorized counties to offer a one-time waiver of penalties and interest for businesses and individuals who have never filed their personal property list with their county assessor. (Substitute House Bill (SHB) 2149)

The legislative authority of each county can choose whether or not to offer this waiver.

General information about property taxes
All property is subject to property tax each year based on its value, unless a specific exemption is provided by law. There are two classes of property: real and personal.

  • Real property consists of land and the buildings, structures, and improvements that are attached to land.
  • Personal property consists of all other property, such as machinery, equipment, furniture, and supplies. Generally only businesses pay personal property taxes, although individuals may owe personal property tax, too. Household goods (including equipment necessary for maintaining the household) and business inventories are exempt from personal property tax.

Reporting personal property

Businesses and individuals subject to personal property taxes must provide a list of their personal property to their county assessor by April 30 each year. Individuals or corporations that don’t do this are subject to late filing penalties. These penalties could not be waived unless the failure to file a listing was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.

Waiver may be available in your county
In counties that adopt the amnesty option, the new law will allow county assessors to waive penalties for businesses that have never reported personal property. The waiver applies to previous assessment years, beginning with 2011 and may be available in participating counties where the county legislative authority has decided to implement the amnesty. Usual personal property taxes still apply for 2012.

Are there conditions to the waiver?
Yes. Waivers are available only to businesses and individuals that have never filed their property tax listing with the county assessor. To be granted a waiver of penalties and interest you must agree to the following:

  • You must file with the assessor a list of your taxable personal property on or before July 1, 2012.
  • You must complete an application for a penalty waiver on or before July 1, 2012. Applications are available in participating county assessor offices.
  • You must pay the entire balance due on all tax liabilities for which you are requesting a waiver. Payment must be made to the county Treasurer by September 1, 2012.
  • You may not seek a refund or otherwise challenge the amount of tax liability on any amount for which you seek a waiver.
  • Personal property is subject to verification by the assessor and any unreported or misreported property remains subject to taxes, penalties, and interest.

How do I find out more?
Contact your county assessor’s office to find out whether your county has authorized this one-time waiver of penalties and interest. You can find contact information for your Assessor and Treasurer on our website.

For more information on personal property taxes check out these resources:
Personal Property Tax brochure
Personal Property Tax video