|Passed by the House February 10, 2003|
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Passed by the Senate April 11, 2003
President of the Senate
I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1075 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
Governor of the State of Washington
Secretary of State
State of Washington
|State of Washington||58th Legislature||2003 Regular Session|
READ FIRST TIME 01/30/03.
AN ACT Relating to multiple incompatible amendments to forest tax statutes resulting from 2001 statutory changes; reenacting and amending RCW 84.33.130, 84.33.140, and 84.34.108; creating new sections; and repealing RCW 84.33.120.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 During the regular session of the 2001
legislature, RCW 84.33.120 was amended by section 3, chapter 185 and by
section 1, chapter 305, and repealed by section 16, chapter 249, each
without reference to the other. The purpose of sections 4 through 7 of
this act is to resolve any uncertainty about the status of RCW
84.33.120 caused by the enactment of three changes involving RCW
84.33.120 during the 2001 regular legislative session.
(1) Chapter 249, Laws of 2001 both repealed RCW 84.33.120 and incorporated pertinent and vital parts of RCW 84.33.120 into RCW 84.33.140. The technical amendments made to RCW 84.33.120 by section 3, chapter 185, Laws of 2001 were also made to RCW 84.33.140 by section 5, chapter 185, Laws of 2001. The amendments made to RCW 84.33.120 by section 1, chapter 305, Laws of 2001 were also made to RCW 84.33.140 by section 2, chapter 305, Laws of 2001. Therefore, RCW 84.33.140 as amended during the 2001 regular legislative session embodies the pertinent and vital parts of RCW 84.33.120 and the 2001 amendments to RCW 84.33.120.
(2) The legislature intends to confirm the repeal of RCW 84.33.120, including the 2001 regular legislative session amendments to that section, as of the effective date of chapters 185, 249, and 305, Laws of 2001.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 During the regular session of the 2001
legislature, RCW 84.33.130 was amended by section 4, chapter 185 and by
section 2, chapter 249, each without reference to the other. The
purpose of section 4 of this act is to reenact and amend RCW 84.33.130
so that it reflects all amendments made by the legislature.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 During the regular session of the 2001
legislature, RCW 84.34.108 was amended by section 7, chapter 185, by
section 14, chapter 249, and by section 3, chapter 305, each without
reference to the other. The purpose of section 6 of this act is to
reenact and amend RCW 84.34.108 so that it reflects all amendments made
by the legislature and to clarify any misunderstanding as to how the
exemption contained in chapter 305, Laws of 2001 is to be applied.
Sec. 4 RCW 84.33.130 and 2001 c 249 s 2 and 2001 c 185 s 4 are
each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, lands that were assessed as classified forest land before July 22, 2001, shall be designated forest land for the purposes of this chapter. The owners of previously classified forest land shall not be required to apply for designation under this chapter. As of July 22, 2001, the land and timber on such land shall be assessed and taxed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(2) An owner of land desiring that it be designated as forest land and valued under RCW 84.33.140 as of January 1st of any year shall submit an application to the assessor of the county in which the land is located before January 1st of that year. The application shall be accompanied by a reasonable processing fee when the county legislative authority has established the requirement for such a fee.
(3) No application of designation is required when publicly owned forest land is exchanged for privately owned forest land designated under this chapter. The land exchanged and received by an owner subject to ad valorem taxation shall be automatically granted designation under this chapter if the following conditions are met:
(a) The land will be used to grow and harvest timber; and
(b) The owner of the land submits a document to the assessor's office that explains the details of the forest land exchange within sixty days of the closing date of the exchange. However, if the owner fails to submit information regarding the exchange by the end of this sixty-day period, the owner must file an application for designation as forest land under this chapter and the regular application process will be followed.
(4) The application shall be made upon forms prepared by the department and supplied by the assessor, and shall include the following:
(a) A legal description of, or assessor's parcel numbers for, all land the applicant desires to be designated as forest land;
(b) The date or dates of acquisition of the land;
(c) A brief description of the timber on the land, or if the timber has been harvested, the owner's plan for restocking;
(d) A copy of the timber management plan, if one exists, for the land prepared by a trained forester or any other person with adequate knowledge of timber management practices;
(e) If a timber management plan exists, an explanation of the nature and extent to which the management plan has been implemented;
(f) Whether the land is used for grazing;
(g) Whether the land has been subdivided or a plat has been filed with respect to the land;
(h) Whether the land and the applicant are in compliance with the restocking, forest management, fire protection, insect and disease control, and forest debris provisions of Title 76 RCW or any applicable rules under Title 76 RCW;
(i) Whether the land is subject to forest fire protection assessments under RCW 76.04.610;
(j) Whether the land is subject to a lease, option, or other right that permits it to be used for any purpose other than growing and harvesting timber;
(k) A summary of the past experience and activity of the applicant in growing and harvesting timber;
(l) A summary of current and continuing activity of the applicant in growing and harvesting timber;
(m) A statement that the applicant is aware of the potential tax liability involved when the land ceases to be designated as forest land;
(n) An affirmation that the statements contained in the application are true and that the land described in the application meets the definition of forest land in RCW 84.33.035; and
(o) A description and/or drawing showing what areas of land for which designation is sought are used for incidental uses compatible with the definition of forest land in RCW 84.33.035.
(5) The assessor shall afford the applicant an opportunity to be heard if the applicant so requests.
(6) The assessor shall act upon the application with due regard to all relevant evidence and without any one or more items of evidence necessarily being determinative, except that the application may be denied for one of the following reasons, without regard to other items:
(a) The land does not contain ((
either)) a "merchantable stand of
timber" as defined in chapter 76.09 RCW and applicable rules. This
reason shall not alone be sufficient to deny the application (i) if the
land has been recently harvested or supports a growth of brush or
noncommercial type timber, and the application includes a plan for
restocking within three years or a longer period necessitated by
unavailability of seed or seedlings, or (ii) if only isolated areas
within the land do not meet the minimum standards due to rock
outcroppings, swamps, unproductive soil or other natural conditions;
(b) The applicant, with respect to the land, has failed to comply with a final administrative or judicial order with respect to a violation of the restocking, forest management, fire protection, insect and disease control, and forest debris provisions of Title 76 RCW or any applicable rules under Title 76 RCW; or
(c) The land abuts a body of salt water and lies between the line of ordinary high tide and a line paralleling the ordinary high tide line and two hundred feet horizontally landward from the high tide line. However, if the assessor determines that a higher and better use exists for the land but this use would not be permitted or economically feasible by virtue of any federal, state, or local law or regulation, the land shall be assessed and valued under RCW 84.33.140 without being designated as forest land.
(7) The application shall be deemed to have been approved unless, prior to May 1st of the year after the application was mailed or delivered to the assessor, the assessor notifies the applicant in writing of the extent to which the application is denied.
(8) An owner who receives notice that his or her application has been denied, in whole or in part, may appeal the denial to the county board of equalization in accordance with the provisions of RCW 84.40.038.
Sec. 5 RCW 84.33.140 and 2001 c 305 s 2, 2001 c 249 s 3, and 2001
c 185 s 5 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
(1) When land has been designated as forest land under RCW 84.33.130, a notation of the designation shall be made each year upon the assessment and tax rolls. A copy of the notice of approval together with the legal description or assessor's parcel numbers for the land shall, at the expense of the applicant, be filed by the assessor in the same manner as deeds are recorded.
(2) In preparing the assessment roll as of January 1, 2002, for taxes payable in 2003 and each January 1st thereafter, the assessor shall list each parcel of designated forest land at a value with respect to the grade and class provided in this subsection and adjusted as provided in subsection (3) of this section. The assessor shall compute the assessed value of the land using the same assessment ratio applied generally in computing the assessed value of other property in the county. Values for the several grades of bare forest land shall be as follows:
Sec. 6 RCW 84.34.108 and 2001 c 305 s 3, 2001 c 249 s 14, and
2001 c 185 s 7 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
(1) When land has once been classified under this chapter, a notation of the classification shall be made each year upon the assessment and tax rolls and the land shall be valued pursuant to RCW 84.34.060 or 84.34.065 until removal of all or a portion of the classification by the assessor upon occurrence of any of the following:
(a) Receipt of notice from the owner to remove all or a portion of the classification;
(b) Sale or transfer to an ownership, except a transfer that resulted from a default in loan payments made to or secured by a governmental agency that intends to or is required by law or regulation to resell the property for the same use as before, making all or a portion of the land exempt from ad valorem taxation;
(c) Sale or transfer of all or a portion of the land to a new owner, unless the new owner has signed a notice of classification continuance, except transfer to an owner who is an heir or devisee of a deceased owner shall not, by itself, result in removal of classification. The notice of continuance shall be on a form prepared by the department. If the notice of continuance is not signed by the new owner and attached to the real estate excise tax affidavit, all additional taxes calculated pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall become due and payable by the seller or transferor at time of sale. The auditor shall not accept an instrument of conveyance ((
regarding classified land for filing or recording unless the new owner
has signed the notice of continuance or the additional tax has been
paid, as evidenced by the real estate excise tax stamp affixed thereto
by the treasurer. The seller, transferor, or new owner may appeal the
new assessed valuation calculated under subsection (4) of this section
to the county board of equalization in accordance with the provisions
of RCW 84.40.038. Jurisdiction is hereby conferred on the county board
of equalization to hear these appeals;
(d) Determination by the assessor, after giving the owner written notice and an opportunity to be heard, that all or a portion of the land no longer meets the criteria for classification under this chapter. The criteria for classification pursuant to this chapter continue to apply after classification has been granted.
The granting authority, upon request of an assessor, shall provide reasonable assistance to the assessor in making a determination whether the land continues to meet the qualifications of RCW 84.34.020 (1) or (3). The assistance shall be provided within thirty days of receipt of the request.
(2) Land may not be removed from classification because of:
(a) The creation, sale, or transfer of forestry riparian easements under RCW 76.13.120; or
(b) The creation, sale, or transfer of a fee interest or a conservation easement for the riparian open space program under RCW 76.09.040.
(3) Within thirty days after such removal of all or a portion of the land from current use classification, the assessor shall notify the owner in writing, setting forth the reasons for the removal. The seller, transferor, or owner may appeal the removal to the county board of equalization in accordance with the provisions of RCW 84.40.038.
(4) Unless the removal is reversed on appeal, the assessor shall revalue the affected land with reference to its true and fair value on January 1st of the year of removal from classification. Both the assessed valuation before and after the removal of classification shall be listed and taxes shall be allocated according to that part of the year to which each assessed valuation applies. Except as provided in subsection (6) of this section, an additional tax, applicable interest, and penalty shall be imposed which shall be due and payable to the treasurer thirty days after the owner is notified of the amount of the additional tax. As soon as possible, the assessor shall compute the amount of additional tax, applicable interest, and penalty and the treasurer shall mail notice to the owner of the amount thereof and the date on which payment is due. The amount of the additional tax, applicable interest, and penalty shall be determined as follows:
(a) The amount of additional tax shall be equal to the difference between the property tax paid as "open space land", "farm and agricultural land", or "timber land" and the amount of property tax otherwise due and payable for the seven years last past had the land not been so classified;
(b) The amount of applicable interest shall be equal to the interest upon the amounts of the additional tax paid at the same statutory rate charged on delinquent property taxes from the dates on which the additional tax could have been paid without penalty if the land had been assessed at a value without regard to this chapter;
(c) The amount of the penalty shall be as provided in RCW 84.34.080. The penalty shall not be imposed if the removal satisfies the conditions of RCW 84.34.070.
(5) Additional tax, applicable interest, and penalty, shall become a lien on the land which shall attach at the time the land is removed from classification under this chapter and shall have priority to and shall be fully paid and satisfied before any recognizance, mortgage, judgment, debt, obligation or responsibility to or with which the land may become charged or liable. This lien may be foreclosed upon expiration of the same period after delinquency and in the same manner provided by law for foreclosure of liens for delinquent real property taxes as provided in RCW 84.64.050 now or as hereafter amended. Any additional tax unpaid on its due date shall thereupon become delinquent. From the date of delinquency until paid, interest shall be charged at the same rate applied by law to delinquent ad valorem property taxes.
(6) The additional tax, applicable interest, and penalty specified in subsection (4) of this section shall not be imposed if the removal of classification pursuant to subsection (1) of this section resulted solely from:
(a) Transfer to a government entity in exchange for other land located within the state of Washington;
(b)(i) A taking through the exercise of the power of eminent domain, or (ii) sale or transfer to an entity having the power of eminent domain in anticipation of the exercise of such power, said entity having manifested its intent in writing or by other official action;
(c) A natural disaster such as a flood, windstorm, earthquake, or other such calamity rather than by virtue of the act of the landowner changing the use of the property;
(d) Official action by an agency of the state of Washington or by the county or city within which the land is located which disallows the present use of the land;
(e) Transfer of land to a church when the land would qualify for exemption pursuant to RCW 84.36.020;
(f) Acquisition of property interests by state agencies or agencies or organizations qualified under RCW 84.34.210 and 64.04.130 for the purposes enumerated in those sections. At such time as these property interests are not used for the purposes enumerated in RCW 84.34.210 and 64.04.130 the additional tax specified in subsection (4) of this section shall be imposed;
(g) Removal of land classified as farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020(2)(e);
(h) Removal of land from classification after enactment of a statutory exemption that qualifies the land for exemption and receipt of notice from the owner to remove the land from classification;
(i) The creation, sale, or transfer of forestry riparian easements under RCW 76.13.120;
(j) The creation, sale, or transfer of a fee interest or a conservation easement for the riparian open space program under RCW 76.09.040;
(k) The sale or transfer of land within two years after the death of the owner of at least a fifty percent interest in the land if the land has been assessed and valued as classified forest land, designated as forest land under chapter 84.33 RCW, or classified under this chapter continuously since 1993. The date of death shown on a death certificate is the date used for the purposes of this subsection (6)(k); or
(l) The sale or transfer of land after the death of the owner of at least a fifty percent interest in the land if the land has been assessed and valued as classified forest land, designated as forest land under chapter 84.33 RCW, or classified under this chapter continuously since 1993 and the sale or transfer takes place ((
two years)) after July 22, 2001, and on or before July 22, 2003, and
the death of the owner occurred after January 1, 1991(( ; or)). The date of death shown on a death certificate is the date
used for the purpose of this subsection (6)(l).
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7 RCW 84.33.120 (Forest land valuation--Assessor to list forest land at grade and class values -- Computation of
assessed value -- Adjustment of values -- Certification -- Use -- Notice of
continuance -- Appeals -- Removal of classification -- Compensating tax) and
2001 c 305 s 1, 2001 c 185 s 3, 1999 sp.s. c 4 s 702, 1999 c 233 s 20,
1997 c 299 s 1, 1995 c 330 s 1, 1992 c 69 s 1, 1986 c 238 s 1, 1984 c
204 s 23, 1981 c 148 s 7, 1980 c 134 s 2, 1974 ex.s. c 187 s 5, 1972
ex.s. c 148 s 5, & 1971 ex.s. c 294 s 12 are each repealed.