Senior Citizens & People with Disabilities Exemption Program

Link to Online Documents: 
Forms, Publications, State Law


Benefit

The purpose of the exemption program is to allow senior citizens and people with disabilities the ability to remain in their homes in spite of rising property taxes.

The qualifying applicant receives a reduction in the amount of property taxes due. The amount of the reduction is based on the applicant's income, the value of the residence, and the local levy rates.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this program you must meet all the requirements:

  • age or disability,
  • ownership, 
  • residency, and
  •  income requirements.

Age or Disability
On December 31 of the year before the taxes are due, you must meet one of the following age/disability requirements:

  • at least 61 years of age or older, or
  • unable to work due to a disability, or
  • a veteran of the armed forces of the United States receiving compensation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs at one of the following: 
    • combined service-connected evaluation rating of 80% or higher
    • a total disability rating for a service-connected disability without regard to evaluation percent

Example: Your 61st birthday is in November 2021. You may file an application requesting an tax relief on your 2022 taxes.

Ownership
You must own your home in San Juan County by December 31 of the assessment year. For example, to receive an exemption in 2022, you must own your home by December 31, 2021. (Unless you are transferring the exemption from one house to another, you must also meet the occupancy requirement of living in your house for more than six months during 2021.)

Qualifying types of ownership are in fee, as a life estate (including a lease for life), or by contract purchase. There is no provision for ownership through a trust, however, a trust may meet the ownership requirement if it creates a life estate for the applicant.

Residency and Occupancy
You must occupy your home for more than six months in the assessment year. You may continue to qualify even if you spend time in a hospital, nursing home, boarding home, adult family home, or home of a relative. However, a residence used as a vacation home is not eligible.

Household Income
Your annual household disposable income (defined  below) may not exceed $40,000. 

Household income includes the combined disposable income of you, your spouse or domestic partner, and any co-tenants. A co-tenant is a person who lives in your home and has an ownership interest in your home.

Disposable Income and Deductions

Disposable Income

Disposable income includes all household income from all sources, regardless of whether the income is taxable or not taxable for federal income tax purposes. Some of the most common sources of disposable income include:

  • Wages
  • Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits
  • Military pay and benefits other than attendant-care and medical-aid payments
  • Veterans benefits other than attendant-care payments, medical-aid payments, veteran’s disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation
  • Pension receipts, distributions from retirement bonds and Keogh plans and the taxable portion of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s)
  • Business, Rental and Farm Income (Depreciation cannot be deducted and you may not deduct business or rental losses or use those losses to offset other income)
  • Annuity receipts. For purposes of this program, "annuity" is defined as a series of long-term payments, where long-term means a period of more than one full year from the annuity starting date.
  • Labor and Industry (L & I) and other disability payments
  • Interest and dividends
  • Capital gains, other than the gain from the sale of your residence that was reinvested in another residence within one year. Capital losses may not be deducted from income or used to offset capital gains.

Allowable Deductions

The following items can be deducted from the disposable income. 

  • Non-reimbursed nursing home, boarding home, or adult family home expenses.
  • Non-reimbursed in-home care expenses.
  • Non-reimbursed prescription drug costs
  • Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D insurance premiums

NOTE: Currently, Medicare supplemental or Medigap premiums are not allowable deductions.

Care or treatment in your home means medical treatment or care received in the home, including physical therapy. You can also deduct costs for necessities such as oxygen, special needs furniture, attendant-care, light housekeeping tasks, meals-on-wheels, life alert and other services that are part of a necessary or appropriate in-home service

Initial Application Process

The San Juan County Assessor’s Office administers this program and is responsible for determining if you meet the qualifications. If you have any questions, please contact the Assessor’s Office by calling 360-370-7530 or email the Assessor

Applications may be obtained by contacting the Assessor’s Office or downloading the form from this webpage. 

Initial Applications and Forms

Change in Status

A Change in Status Report must be filed with the Assessor’s Office if changes in your income or living circumstances affect the exemption. Change of Status Reports are available from the San Juan County Assessor’s Officer or on this webpage.

Where do I file the initial application, change in status or renewal application?


Hand DeliverMailE-mail
Assessor
350 Court Street
Friday Harbor, WA
San Juan County Assessor
PO Box 1519
Friday Harbor, WA  98250
anniemi@sanjuanco.com


Refunds for Prior Years

If you paid prior years’ taxes because of a mistake, oversight, or a lack of knowledge about this program, you may be eligible for a refund. You must meet all of the qualifications for the exemption as if you had applied at the time the application was due.

Separate applications must be submitted for each of the tax years. In order to receive a refund, applications must be filed within three years of the date the taxes were due. Refunds will not be made beyond the three years.