Eligibility Requirements

Age or Disability
To be considered a senior citizen, you must be at least 61 years old on December 31st of the year in which you apply. To be considered disabled, you must be unable to work because of a physical disability. A Proof of Disability Statement must be completed by your physician. This form can be obtained from the Assessor´s Office.

Ownership

A home owned by a married couple or by co-tenants is considered to be owned by each spouse or co-tenant. To apply, only 1 person must meet the age or disability requirement.

You must own the home for which the exemption is claimed, either in total (fee owner), as a contract purchaser, mortgager, deed of trust, or as a life estate (including a lease for life). If you transfer the home under a revocable trust agreement, you must retain full use of the property and be able to revoke the trust and take ownership at any time. Irrevocable trusts qualify if they can be deemed a life estate.

If you share ownership in a cooperative housing unit, you will be considered an owner if the share represents the specific unit or portion where you live.

Residency
The property must be your principal place of residence on the date of our application. You must occupy the home for at least 6 months each year. Your residence may still qualify for both programs even if you are temporarily in a hospital or nursing home. Your residence may be rented during your hospital or nursing home stay only if the income is used to defray the hospital or nursing home costs.

Property used as a vacation home is not eligible for either program.

Household Income
If your annual income from 2015 for tax year 2016 and forward, is $40,000.00 or less, OR income for years prior to 2015 is $35,000 or less, 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. School construction bonds and maintenance and operation levies are common examples.

In addition to an exemption for all excess levies, a portion of the regular levy amount may be exempt if your 2015, and forward, income is $35,000 or less, OR your income for years prior to 2015 is $30,000.00 or less. This exempt amount is computed as follows:

If your 2015, and forward, household income is between $30,000 and $35,000, OR your income prior to 2015 is between $25,000 and $30,000, you will be exempt from regular levies for $50,000 or 35% of the assessed value, whichever is greater, not to exceed $70,000 of assessed value.
  • For example, if your household income is $27,000 and the assessed value of your property is $175,000, the taxable value of your property is $113,750 ($175,000 - $61,250 = $113,750)
If your 2015, and forward, household income is $30,000 or less, OR your income prior to 2015 is $25,000 or less, you will be exempt from regular levies on the first $60,000 or 60% of the home's assessed value, whichever is greater.
  • For example, if your household income is $22,000 and the assessed value of your property is $175,000, the taxable value of your property is $70,000 ($175,000 - $105,000 = $70,000)
Household income does not include:
  • The income of a person, other than a spouse, who does not have an ownership interest and lives in the home (however, the application must show any income that person contributes to your household)
  • The income of a person who has an ownership interest and lives elsewhere. However, if someone living elsewhere has an ownership interest, the amount of your deferral or exemption will be based on the percentage of your interest in the property.
Effective Date
The effective date of the exemption is the date the taxes are paid.
  • Upon the death of a claimant the property taxes are recalculated to the full assessed amount of the principal residence on a pro rata basis beginning the day following the date of the claimant's death for the remainder of the year.
  • If you sell your home before the taxes are paid, the exemption will continue through your period of ownership, provided you pay the portion of taxes owing for your period of ownership and the new owner pays the portion of taxes for his period of ownership. If the new owner pays the entire amount, the taxes will be recalculated without using the exemption.
Death of the Applicant
Your surviving spouse may continue to receive the exemption if he or she is at least 57 years old and meets all other eligibility requirements.

Transfer of the Exemption

If you sell, transfer, or are otherwise displaced from your residence, you may transfer the exempt status to a replacement residence. However, you may not receive an exemption on more than the equivalent of 1 residence in any year.

If you are moving to Washington, you may transfer an exemption from another state to your new Washington residence, providing you meet all other eligibility requirements and provide proof of the exemption.