WSR 02-09-020

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE


[ Filed April 5, 2002, 2:44 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-24-038.

Title of Rule: Amending WAC 458-16-115 Personal property exemptions(( -- Exceptions)) for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects, and for the head of a family; and repealing WAC 458-12-090 Listing of personalty -- $300 exemption and its effect on listing, 458-12-270 Listing of property -- Household goods and personal effects, 458-12-275 Listing of property -- $300 -- Head of family -- In general, and 458-12-280 Listing of property -- $300 -- Head of family -- Definition.

Purpose: To provide information about the personal property tax exemptions for the head of a family and for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects to county assessors, their staff, and the public.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 84.36.865.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 84.36.110.

Summary: These rules provide information about the personal property tax exemptions for the head of a family and for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects. These exemptions are provided by RCW 84.36.110.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Consolidating these rules into a single document will provide information about these exemptions in a more efficient and user-friendly manner. Also, the amount of the exemption for the head of a family needs to be updated in the rule to reflect the current amount of the exemption ($3,000 as opposed to $300).

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Mark Mullin, 1025 Union Avenue S.E., Suite #400, Olympia, WA, (360) 570-6112; Implementation and Enforcement: Sandy Guilfoil, 1025 Union Avenue S.E., Suite #200, Olympia, WA, (360) 570-5860.

Name of Proponent: Department of Revenue, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: These rules provide important information for county assessors, their staff, and the general public regarding the personal property tax exemptions for the head of a family and for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects. Consolidating these rules into a single document will present information about these exemptions in a more clear, efficient, and user-friendly manner. Also, the amount of the exemption for the head of a family needs to be updated in the rule to reflect the current amount of the exemption ($3,000 as opposed to $300).

Proposal does not change existing rules. This is a revision to WAC 458-16-115 to incorporate and update information currently contained in WAC 458-12-090, 458-12-270, 458-12-275, and 458-12-280. The department intends to repeal these latter rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The rule does not impose a responsibility or require a small business to perform something that is not already required by law.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. This rule is an interpretive rule as defined in RCW 34.05.328.

Hearing Location: Capital Plaza Building, 4th Floor, Large Conference Room, 1025 Union Avenue S.E., Olympia, WA, on May 21, 2002, at 9:30 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Sandy Davis, no later than ten days before the hearing date, TTY 1-800-451-7985, or (360) 570-6175.

Submit Written Comments to: Mark Mullin, Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 47467, Olympia, WA 98504-7467, fax (360) 664-0693, e-mail MarkM@dor.wa.gov, by May 21, 2002.

Date of Intended Adoption: May 28, 2002.

April 5, 2002

Claire Hesseholt, Rules Manager

Legislation and Policy Division

OTS-5454.3


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 89-7, filed 5/26/89)

WAC 458-16-115   Personal property exemptions(( -- Exceptions)) for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects, and for the head of a family.   (((1) The personal property exemption in RCW 84.36.110 shall not be applied to:

(a) Houses, cabins, boathouses, boatdocks or other similar improvements which are located on publicly owned lands;

(b) Mobile homes; or

(c) Floating homes.)) (1) Introduction. This rule explains the personal property tax exemption for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects. It also explains the exemption available to the head of a family for otherwise taxable personal property up to a value of three thousand dollars. These exemptions are provided by RCW 84.36.110.

(2) Exemption for household goods, furnishings, and personal effects. All household goods and furnishings actually being used to equip and outfit the owner's residence or place of abode and all personal effects held by any person for his or her exclusive use and benefit are exempt from property taxation. Any household goods and furnishings or personal effects held for sale or commercial use do not qualify for this exemption. RCW 84.36.110(1).

(a) What are household goods and furnishings? "Household goods and furnishings" are all items of tangible personal property normally located in or about a residence and used or held to enhance the value or enjoyment of the residence, including its premises. The phrase includes, but is not limited to, movable items of necessity, convenience, or decoration, such as furniture, appliances, food, pictures, and tools and equipment used to maintain the residence. Personal property qualifying for this exemption retains its exempt status while temporarily in storage or while being used temporarily at locations other than the owner's residence.

"Household goods and furnishings" do not include items of personal property constructed primarily for use independent of and separate from a residence such as boats, motor vehicles, campers, and travel trailers. However, certain motor vehicles, campers, and travel trailers may be entitled to an exemption from property taxation under RCW 84.36.595. Also, some boats may be wholly or partially exempt from property taxation under RCW 84.36.080 and 84.36.090.

(b) What are personal effects? "Personal effects" are items of tangible property of a personal or intimate nature that usually and ordinarily accompany a person such as wearing apparel, jewelry, and articles of a similar nature. RCW 84.36.120.

(c) When are household goods, furnishings, and personal effects not exempt? Personal property held for sale or used for any business or commercial purpose does not qualify for the household goods exemption. Thus, property used to equip and outfit a motel, hotel, apartment, sorority, fraternity, boarding house, rented home, duplex, or any other premises not used by the owner for his or her own personal residence or place of abode does not qualify for this exemption. Likewise, a hairdresser who uses any portion of his or her home as a beauty salon cannot claim a household goods exemption for personal property held for sale or otherwise used in the business. Business inventories, however, are exempt from property taxation under RCW 84.36.477.

Following is a nonexclusive list of items that are exempt as household goods or furnishings if they are used in a residence or place of abode but are fully taxable if they are used for business or commercial purposes.

(i) Desks are exempt as household goods if they are used in a residence but are taxable if they are used in a business office.

(ii) Silverware and china are exempt if they are used in a residence but are taxable if they are used in a restaurant.

(iii) Art or other collections are exempt if they are located in a residence but are taxable if they are located in a public display or used for commercial purposes.

(iv) Power lawnmowers or small tractors used to enhance the value or enjoyment of a residence, including its premises, are exempt, but they are taxable when used to maintain a golf course.

(3) Exemption for the head of a family. Each head of a family is entitled to an exemption from his or her taxable personal property in an amount up to three thousand dollars of actual value. RCW 84.36.110(2). For purposes of this exemption, "actual value" has the same meaning as "true and fair value" as defined in WAC 458-07-030. The taxpayer must qualify for the head of a family exemption on January 1st of the assessment year (the assessment date) or the exemption is lost for taxes payable the following year. As noted above, household goods, furnishings, and personal effects not used for business or commercial purposes are exempt from property taxation; therefore, the exemption for the head of a family does not apply to such property.

(a) Who qualifies as the head of a family? The "head of a family" includes the following residents of the state of Washington:

(i) Any person receiving an old age pension under the laws of this state;

(ii) Any citizen of the United States, over the age of sixty-five years, who has resided in the state of Washington continuously for ten years;

(iii) The husband or wife, when the claimant is a married person, or a surviving spouse not remarried; and

(iv) Any person who resides with, and has under his or her care and maintenance, any of the following:

(A) His or her minor child or grandchild, or the minor child or grandchild of his or her deceased spouse;

(B) His or her minor brother or sister or the minor child of a deceased brother or sister;

(C) His or her father, mother, grandmother, or grandfather, or the father, mother, grandmother, or grandfather of a deceased spouse; or

(D) Any of the other relatives mentioned in this subsection who have attained the age of majority and are unable to take care of or support themselves.

(b) What property is not exempt? The personal property exemption for the head of a family does not apply to the following:

(i) Private motor vehicles. A "private motor vehicle" is any motor vehicle used for the convenience or pleasure of the owner, which carries a licensing classification other than motor vehicle for hire, auto stage, auto stage trailer, motor truck, motor truck trailer, or dealer's license. RCW 84.36.120;

(ii) Mobile homes. A "mobile home" is a trailer designed for human habitation, which is capable of being moved upon the public streets and highways and is either more than thirty-five feet in length or more than eight feet in width. RCW 84.36.120;

(iii) Floating homes. A "floating home" is a building on a float, used in whole or in part for human habitation as a single-family dwelling and is on the property tax rolls of the county in which it is located. A floating home is not designed for self propulsion by mechanical means or by means of wind. RCW 82.45.032; or

(iv) Houses, cabins, boathouses, boat docks, or other similar improvements that are located on publicly owned land.

(4) How do the exemptions included in this rule affect listing? If the county assessor is satisfied that all of the personal property of any person is exempt from taxation, no listing is required by the owner or taxpayer. If the value of taxable personal property exceeds three thousand dollars, then the taxpayer must make a complete listing, and the assessor will deduct three thousand dollars from the total amount of the assessment and assess the remainder. RCW 84.36.110(2).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 84.36.110, 84.08.010(2) and 84.36.865. 89-12-013 (Order 89-7), 458-16-115, filed 5/26/89.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office