The very first bill I introduced in the Legislature, HB 1427, would have allowed more seniors, disability retirees, and veterans to qualify for a property tax exemption or deferral. I’m very pleased to share, that the Legislature has passed a similar measure, SB 5186, which likewise expands eligibility for this program.
Here’s the summary from the Auburn Reporter:
In January, Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, introduced legislation to provide property tax relief for senior citizens. A similar bill, Senate Bill 5186, which was recently signed into law and goes into effect later this month, provides such relief by raising the income limits for retirees to qualify for a property tax exemption.
“This bill provides much-needed assistance to many of our neighbors living on fixed incomes who face ever-rising property taxes,” Stokesbary said. “Many Washingtonians on fixed incomes often have to choose between groceries, medical bills and their taxes. Senate Bill 5186 is a bipartisan solution that will go a long way toward easing the property tax burden on these individuals. This is not just about improving our tax code, this is about doing what is right and fair for Washingtonians.”
Under current law, senior citizens, retired disabled persons, veterans, and widows of veterans are exempt from some or all of their property taxes if their adjusted income is $35,000 or less. Those with adjusted incomes of $40,000 or less are eligible to defer their property taxes until they sell their home. During the 2015 legislative session, Stokesbary introduced House Bill 1427, cosponsored by 13 Democrats and four Republicans, which indexed these income limits to inflation so they would gradually increase each year.
As with Stokesbary’s HB 1427, SB 5186 provides relief by increasing the income limits for senior citizens to qualify for a property tax exemption or deferral. Income thresholds will be increased by $5,000, so those with adjusted incomes of $40,000 or less will now qualify for an exemption, and those with adjusted incomes of $45,000 or less will qualify for a deferral.
Senate Bill 5186 was signed into law July 6.
Next session, I plan to introduce another bill to help this program work even more efficiently for retirees on fixed incomes.