NOTE CONCERNING IMPACT ESTIMATES OF PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS:

The estimates listed in this section reflect savings to property owners as a result of exemptions. Because the state is projected to be at the maximum levy allowed under the levy limit during the forecast period, there would be no additional revenue accruing to the state general fund resulting from the broader tax base if property tax exemptions were eliminated. However, the amount of tax paid by other property owners would be reduced as a result of lower levy rates.

Similarly, many local taxing districts are at their maximum levy, and thus repeal of exemptions would yield no additional revenue to these local governments. For those districts whose regular levies are not at their statutory maximums, there would be some additional revenue accruing with the elimination of exemptions, but this amount is not indicated in the report since it focuses on tax savings to taxpayers. In addition, special levy rates could be lowered with the addition to the tax base.

PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS: PRIVATE PROPERTY

15.76.165 LEASED AGRICULTURAL FAIR LANDS

Description: Real and personal property leased from a county and used in conducting area or county agricultural fairs is exempt from taxation.

Purpose: The purpose is to support agricultural fairs.

Category/Year Enacted: Agriculture; 1973.

Primary Beneficiaries: This exemption is not being utilized. Those fairs which would otherwise be exempt under this statute are being exempted under RCW 84.36.480.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): None.

84.14.020 TARGETED, MULTI-UNIT HOUSING FACILITIES

Description: Real property associated with the construction, conversion or rehabilitation of qualified, multi-unit residential structures located in a targeted residential area that is contained in an urban growth center may be exempt from property taxation for a period of ten years upon application by the owner. Municipal government must first act to establish the boundaries of the targeted area. Initially restricted to cities with at least 150,000 population, the population threshold for participation is now 100,000 and it also includes the largest city in any county which is required to plan under the growth management act, regardless of size.

Purpose: To assist in the additional development of desirable and affordable privately-owned residential units for permanent residents in urban areas.

Category/Year Enacted: Economic development; 1995; program expanded in 1997.

Primary Beneficiaries: Only a few projects in Tacoma have been exempted to date. However, planned projects are now under construction in Olympia and Vancouver, with others expected in Seattle and Everett.

Conflict With Other Program: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 81 124 154 182
Local Levies 253 386 477 559

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.26.070 REHABILITATION OF HISTORIC PROPERTY

Description: Property that is registered on a national or local register of historic places is provided special valuation upon application by the owner. The cost of rehabilitation of such structures, if it equals at least 25 percent of the existing assessed valuation of the building, is exempt from assessment for up to ten years.

Purpose: This program encourages the renovation of historic buildings in order to bring them up to building code standards, while preserving their architectural and cultural value.

Category/Year Enacted: Individuals; 1985 (under the original statute no new applications were to be accepted after 1991; this was repealed in 1990, thereby extending the exemption indefinitely).

Primary Beneficiaries: Owners of historic properties throughout the state with the majority located in King County.

Conflict With Other Program: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 1,015 1,058 1,109 1,161
Local Levies 3,185 3,298 3,430 3,567

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.84.33.210 FOREST LAND - SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS

Description: Any land that is designated or classified as forest land in accordance with RCW 84.33 is exempted from special assessments established under the legislative authority of a local government. This exemption applies to local improvement districts which include forest land, as well as special benefit assessments for projects such as sanitary and storm sewerage systems, domestic water supply, and road construction and improvements. There is no obligation to provide services financed by the special assessment to forest land which is exempt. The land owner may waive the exemption.

Purpose: To relieve forest land owners of the costs of adjacent development.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1992.

Primary Beneficiaries: Owners of forest land.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 263 274 287 301
Local Levies 825 854 888 924

If the exemption were repealed, would the estimated revenue be realized? Yes.

84.36.015 PARCELS VALUED LESS THAN $500

Description: All parcels of real property and all personal property accounts that individually have an assessed value of less than $500 are exempt from property taxation.

Purpose: This exemption recognizes the administrative difficulties of listing, valuing and collecting taxes on very small accounts.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1997.

Primary Beneficiaries: Approximately 65,000 small property owners will benefit.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 6 6 6 6
Local Levies 17 18 19 19

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.020 CEMETERIES

Description: Cemeteries are exempt from property tax, as long as they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin or ancestry.

Purpose: The purpose of the exemption is to support the social benefits which are provided by such organizations.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1854.

Primary Beneficiaries: Approximately 484 parcels owned by 200 applicants and, indirectly, the owners of cemetery plots.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 655 681 710 741
Local Levies 2,184 2,293 2,408 2,527

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.030(4) VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS

Description: Property owned by veterans organizations or societies that are recognized by the Department of Defense and have national chapters are exempt from taxation. To qualify the property must be used only for purposes of the organization.

Purpose: The purpose is to support the activities of veterans organizations.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1929.

Primary Beneficiaries: Approximately 176 applications for some 241 parcels filed by 25 veterans organizations.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 86 89 93 97
Local Levies 286 300 315 330

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.060 FIRE COMPANIES

Description: Fire engines, buildings, and other equipment of fire companies of any city or town, or privately owned companies are exempt from property tax.

Purpose: Municipal fire companies and fire districts are exempt under RCW 84.36.010. This statute covers privately owned land upon which two fire districts have constructed fire stations.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1890.

Primary Beneficiaries: Two fire districts have constructed fire stations on privately owned land.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy - - - - - - - -
Local Levies 1 1 1 2

If the exemption were repealed, would the estimated revenue be realized? Impact is minimal.

84.36.060 HUMANE SOCIETIES

Description: Property owned by humane societies is exempt from the property tax.

Purpose: This exemption supports the social benefits which humane societies provide. Also it provides equivalent exemption to the animal shelters operated by local governments.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1915.

Primary Beneficiaries: About 19 humane societies covering 34 parcels.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 16 17 17 18
Local Levies 53 56 59 61

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.255 HABITAT AND WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS

Description: Exempts from property tax all real and personal property relating to improvements devoted to (1) fish and wildlife habitat restoration and protection, and (2) water quality and quantity improvements. To qualify, the improvements must be in accordance with a local conservation district's plan for best management practices.

Purpose: To improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality/quantity.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1997.

Primary Beneficiaries: Approximately 4,000 landowners are the immediate beneficiaries.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 21 21 23 23
Local Levies 65 67 70 72

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.270 AIR SPACE DEDICATED TO A PUBLIC STADIUM

Description: If the owner of any real property dedicates the perpetual use of the air space above the property to a city, county, or other political subdivision for a stadium or parking facility used in connection with a stadium, the property is exempt when the stadium is completed.

Purpose: The apparent purpose is to facilitate construction of stadiums on private property. The exemption was enacted at the time the King County Stadium was being planned. Perhaps one of the site alternatives was to construct the stadium or parking facilities over private property, and it was felt that the exemption would facilitate that option.

Category/Year Enacted: Other; 1967.

Primary Beneficiaries: Presently, there are no claimants of the exemption.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): None.

84.36.381 SENIOR CITIZEN AND DISABLED HOMEOWNERS

Description: Retired senior citizens and disabled homeowners with incomes of $30,000 or less are exempt from all excess property taxes levied on their principal residence. Those whose income is between $18,000-24,000 also receive regular levy relief in the form of a value exemption of $40,000 or 35 percent of the residential value up to a maximum of $60,000, whichever is greater. Households with incomes less than $18,000 receive an exemption of $50,000 or 60 percent of the residential value.

Purpose: This program was implemented following constitutional authorization by the voters in 1966 to provide property tax relief for low income, retired or disabled homeowners.

Category/Year Enacted: Individuals; initial exemption of $50 in 1967; converted to an income based exemption in 1971 and income limits increased several times subsequently, the latest occurring in 1995.

Primary Beneficiaries: Approximately 130,000 homeowners age 61 and over or retired due to physical disability benefit from this exemption each year.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 17,611 18,667 19,787 20,975
Local Levies 83,045 88,028 93,310 98,908

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.400 HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Description: Improvements such as remodeling or additions made to existing single family residential structures are eligible for a three-year tax exemption. The exempt improvements may represent no more than 30 percent of the structure's value at the time the work began. Application must be made with the county assessor prior to completion of the work.

Purpose: The intent is to encourage upgrading of residences, while avoiding sudden and potentially large increases in assessed values and property tax for the owner.

Category/Year Enacted: Individuals; 1972.

Primary Beneficiaries: Approximately 2,224 homeowners are presently exempt.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 145 152 159 166
Local Levies 457 473 492 511

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.487 AIR POLLUTION CONTROL FACILITIES

Description: Air pollution control equipment that is constructed or installed at a thermal electric generating facility which was originally placed in operation between January 1, 1970 and July 1, 1975 is exempted from property taxation.

Purpose: This provides an economic incentive for the construction or installation of such equipment, thereby helping to enable an existing generating facility to remain in operation and provide jobs while reducing air pollution emissions into the atmosphere.

Category/Year Enacted: Economic development; 1997.

Primary Beneficiaries: A consortium of eight companies which have ownership of the Centralia steam plant, as well as suppliers of coal to the facility. Indirectly, the employees at the plant will also benefit.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): CY 2000 CY 2001 CY 2002 CY 2003
State levy 146 362 475 502
Local Levies 484 1,214 1,605 1,725

If the exemption were repealed, would the revenue be realized? No; shifts of tax burden would occur.

84.36.490 ALCOHOL FUEL PRODUCTION FACILITIES

Description: Facilities producing alcohol for use as fuel or in an alcohol/gasoline mixture for motor vehicles are exempt from property taxes for the first six assessment years following the date the facility is operational. No applications may be accepted after December 31, 1992.

Purpose: The purpose is to encourage production of gasohol and reduce reliance on oil.

Category/Year Enacted: Economic development; 1980.

Primary Beneficiaries: There were two firms producing alcohol for fuel, but only one applied for and received the property tax exemption.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): None; the exemption for the one approved facility expired at the end of 1990.

84.56.025 WAIVER OF DELINQUENCY PENALTIES

Description: Interest and penalties for delinquencies on property taxes may be waived because of hardship caused by the death of the taxpayer's spouse or parent, if the taxpayer notifies the county treasurer of the hardship within sixty days of the tax due date.

Purpose: To provide relief for those who find themselves in this situation.

Category/Year Enacted: Individuals; 1998.

Primary Beneficiaries: Property owners who may owe interest and penalties under these circumstances.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): Minimal.

84.56.450 WAIVER OF DELINQUENCY PENALTIES, Y2K

Description: No interest or penalties will be imposed on any person because of the failure to pay property taxes on or before the due date, if the failure was caused by a Y2K computer problem and the payment is made within 30 days of the date the problem was corrected.

Purpose: To provide relief to property owners in such circumstances.

Category/Year Enacted: Economic; 1999.

Primary Beneficiaries: Property owners who may have to pay their property taxes late as a result of the Y2K date change.

Conflict With Other Programs: None evident.

Tax Savings ($000): There will be no impact on property tax receipts; any impact will be shifted to other taxpayers. The savings to taxpayers cannot be estimated with any precision but is expected to be small.