SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1301







                        52nd Legislature

                      1991 Regular Session



Passed by the House April 28, 1991

  Yeas 97   Nays 0




Speaker of the

       House of Representatives


Passed by the Senate April 28, 1991

  Yeas 39   Nays 9




President of the Senate












Governor of the State of Washington



I, Alan Thompson, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1301 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                                      Chief Clerk











                        Secretary of State   

                       State of Washington  




                            SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1301



                             AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE


                     Passed Legislature - 1991 Regular Session



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By House Committee on Revenue (originally sponsored by Representatives Wang, Holland, Fraser, Horn, Rust, Brumsickle, Leonard, Ballard, Nelson, Heavey, Haugen, Winsley, Jacobsen, May, Morris, Ferguson, Appelwick, Phillips, H. Sommers, Belcher, Locke, Pruitt, Franklin, Spanel, Van Luven, Cooper, Wineberry, H. Myers, Bray, Scott and Anderson).


Read first time January 29, 1991.  Improving property tax administrative practices.

     AN ACT Relating to improving property tax administrative practices; requiring annual updating of assessed values; providing more complete information about property tax administration; modifying qualification requirements for property tax appraisers; requiring a study; amending RCW 36.21.015 and 36.21.100; adding a new section to chapter 84.08 RCW; creating a new section; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      (1) The department of revenue shall study the administration of the property tax system.  The study shall include examination of and recommendations regarding the following issues:

     (a) Annual revaluations:

     (i) Whether the property tax system would be improved by revaluing all property annually, and if annual revaluations would be an improvement, the extent of the improvement.

     (ii) The cost of increasing the frequency of revaluations, including the increased burden on smaller counties.

     (iii) Whether any move to annual revaluations should be phased in over a period of years.

     (iv) Whether the state should assist in meeting any increased costs of annual revaluations.

     (v) What assistance the department can provide in helping counties achieve annual revaluations.

     (b) General property tax administration:

     (i) The adequacy of information and tools relating to property location and value, including items such as maps, property data, sales data, geographic information systems, and computer systems.

     (ii) The proper role and the effectiveness of county boards of equalization.

     (iii) The adequacy of auditing procedures for property tax relief programs.

     (iv) Any other property tax administration problems that the department determines warrant study and recommendations to the legislature.

     (2) The department shall report the findings of the study and the recommendations of the department to the committees of the legislature that deal with revenue matters no later than November 30, 1991.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 84.08 RCW to read as follows:

     (1) The department shall prepare a clear and succinct explanation of the property tax system, including but not limited to:

     (a) The standard of true and fair value as the basis of the property tax.

     (b) How the assessed value for particular parcels is determined.

     (c) The procedures and timing of the assessment process.

     (d) How district levy rates are determined, including the one hundred six percent limit.

     (e) How the composite tax rate is determined.

     (f) How the amount of tax is calculated.

     (g) How a taxpayer may appeal an assessment, and what issues are appropriate as a basis of appeal.

     (h) A summary of tax exemption and relief programs, along with the eligibility standards and application processes.

     (2) Each county assessor shall provide copies of the explanation to taxpayers on request, free of charge.  Each revaluation notice shall include information regarding the availability of the explanation.


     Sec. 3.  RCW 36.21.015 and 1977 c 75 s 30 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) Any person having the responsibility of valuing real property for purposes of taxation including persons acting as assistants or deputies to a county assessor under RCW 36.21.011 ((as now or hereafter amended,)) shall have first:

     (((1) Graduated from an accredited high school or passed a high school equivalency examination;

     (2))) (a) Had at least one year of experience in transactions involving real property, in appraisal of real property, or in assessment of real property, or at least one year of experience in a combination of the three;

     (((3))) (b) Become knowledgeable in repair and remodeling of buildings and improvement of land, and in the significance of locality and area to the value of real property; ((and

     (4))) (c) Become knowledgeable in the standards for appraising property set forth by the department of revenue; and

     (d) Met other minimum requirements specified by department of revenue rule.

     (2) The department of ((personnel shall prepare with the advice of the department of)) revenue shall prepare and administer an examination on ((the)) subjects ((of subsections (3) and (4), and)) related to the valuation of real property.  No person shall assess real property for purposes of taxation without having passed said examination or having received an examination waiver from the department of revenue upon showing education or experience determined by the department to be equivalent to passing the examination.  A person passing said examination or receiving an examination waiver shall be ((certified)) accredited accordingly by the ((director of the)) department of ((personnel: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That)) revenue.

     (3) The department of revenue may by rule establish continuing education requirements for persons assessing real property for purposes of taxation.  The department shall provide accreditation of completion of requirements imposed under this section.  No person shall assess real property for purposes of taxation without complying with requirements imposed under this subsection.

     (4) To the extent practical, the department of revenue shall coordinate accreditation requirements under this section with the requirements for certified real estate appraisers under chapter 18.140 RCW.

     (5) The examination requirements of subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to any person who shall have either:

     (((1))) (a) Been certified as a real property appraiser by the department of personnel prior to ((May 21, 1971)) July 1, 1992; or

     (((2))) (b) Attended and satisfactorily completed the assessor's school operated jointly by the department of revenue and the Washington state assessors association prior to August 9, 1971.


     Sec. 4.  RCW 36.21.100 and 1987 c 138 s 8 are each amended to read as follows:

     Every county assessor shall report to the department of revenue on the property tax levies and related matters within the county annually at a date and in a form prescribed by the department of revenue.  The report shall include, but need not be limited to, the results of sales-assessment ratio studies performed by the assessor.  The ratio studies shall be based on use classes of real property and shall be performed under a plan approved by the department of revenue.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.      This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately, except section 3 of this act, which shall take effect July 1, 1992.