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* Face masks are required in the Court House.
2020 Assessor Change of Value Notices Mailed on October 1
October 1st, 2020
The Assessor’s Office mailed the 2020 Change of Value Notices on October 1, 2020. The notices show market value as of January 1, 2020 based on sales between January 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020.
The new values do not reflect much impact from the pandemic because the cutoff for the sales analysis was April 30. Sales activity after April 30 will be used for 2021 assessed values. It is too early to predict how values will change as a result of the pandemic.
The total assessed value for San Juan County increased more than $200 Million over last year, including $109 Million in new construction value. The physical inspection area included 2,731 properties on the west half of Orcas Island and all of Waldron, Crane, and the Wasp Islands, with an additional 652 inspections for new construction on other islands.
An increase in property value does not mean a proportionate increase in next year’s taxes. Washington uses a budget-based property tax system and the taxing district budgets can only increase a certain amount each year. When the value of the district increases more than the increase allowed for the budget, tax rates drop.
Determining value is the first part of a budget-based assessment process. It is intentionally separate from the second part – calculating the tax rates, also known as the levy rates, to get the approved budget amounts of the taxing districts. When your assessed value increases, it could be considered good news because it generally means your real estate investment is appreciating.
Assessed values are standardized in Washington at 100% of market value as of January 1st of the assessment year. Historically, they were 60% of market value from 1906 to 1932, then changed to 50% by voter initiative, then changed to the current standard of 100% in 1974.
The levy rates and tax amounts are not known, or knowable, until all taxing districts submit their budget information to the Assessor’s Office in November. The Assessor’s Office reviews the budget amounts of each district to make sure they do not exceed the maximum amounts allowed, then calculates the levy rates needed to equal the approved amounts.
If you have questions about your assessed value, please call the Assessor’s Office at 360-378-2172 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sales information can be reviewed from the Assessor’s website using the sales search option located in the upper right corner of the parcel search page. Click here for instructions on how to perform a sales search. Please save the instructions to your computer.
Role and Mission
The Assessor's primary responsibility is to identify and assign a taxable value (assess) to all real and tangible business personal property within San Juan County and certify the annual tax roll with the Washington Department of Revenue (DOR) in accordance with State law. Additional responsibilities include the maintenance of all associated property records, the administration of current use and exemption programs, and the annual notification to property owners of a change in their appraised property value.
Property taxes allow our community to benefit from services like schools, libraries, parks, health services, fire protection, and law enforcement. The Assessor administers the assessment process so that taxes are paid equitably according to State law. The San Juan County Assessor's Office is committed to a process that is professional, fair and clearly understood.
Assessor's Office Activities and Responsibilities
- Inspects all real property on a six-year cycle, with annual inspections for active new construction.
- Assigns taxable value to all real property every year based on information obtained from inspections, historical information, and a comprehensive statistical analysis of market value.
- Notifies property owners when there is a change in the appraised value of their property.
- Administers tax relief and tax deferral programs for senior citizens, disabled persons, veterans and limited income families.
- Administers Current Use Programs (Farm and Agriculture, Open Space and Timber Land) and Designated Forest Land Programs.
- Monitors and assigns taxable value to business personal property every year based on information obtained from business owners and DOR audits.
- Maintains mapping systems to reflect the most current boundary line modifications and property divisions.
- Maintains ownership records to reflect the most current sales and other transfers of interests.
- Reviews the budget of all taxing districts and calculates levy rates according to statutory guidelines.
The Assessor's Office is Not Responsible for the Following Activities
- Mailing tax statements (contact the Treasurer's Office)
- Collecting / providing status of tax payments (contact the Treasurer's Office)
- Maintaining recorded documents (contact the Auditor's Office)
- Determining / approving budgets for tax purposes