BILL REQ. #:  H-4217.1 


State of Washington63rd Legislature2014 Regular Session

By House Finance (originally sponsored by Representatives Springer, Rodne, Magendanz, Pettigrew, Farrell, Freeman, Moscoso, Senn, Gregerson, Pollet, Tarleton, and Bergquist)

READ FIRST TIME 02/11/14.   

     AN ACT Relating to the imposition of a filing fee for certain property assessment appeal petitions; and amending RCW 84.40.038.


Sec. 1   RCW 84.40.038 and 2011 c 84 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) The owner or person responsible for payment of taxes on any property may petition the county board of equalization for a change in the assessed valuation placed upon such property by the county assessor or for any other reason specifically authorized by statute. Such petition must be made on forms prescribed or approved by the department of revenue and any petition not conforming to those requirements or not properly completed may not be considered by the board. The petition must be filed with the board on or before July 1st of the year of the assessment or determination, within thirty days after the date an assessment, value change notice, or other notice has been mailed, or within a time limit of up to sixty days adopted by the county legislative authority, whichever is later. If a county legislative authority sets a time limit, the authority may not change the limit for three years from the adoption of the limit. To offset processing costs, the county legislative authority may require that a petition to the board challenging the assessed value of a commercial property be accompanied by a reasonable filing fee, to be waived in cases of financial hardship. The county legislative authority may require the petitioner to submit reasonable documentation establishing the petitioner's eligibility to receive a waiver. Filing fees imposed by a county under this section must be awarded as costs to a petitioner that substantially prevails in proceedings before the board. A filing fee may not be imposed if the petitioner has not previously petitioned the county board of equalization under this section.
     (2) The board of equalization may waive the filing deadline if the petition is filed within a reasonable time after the filing deadline and the petitioner shows good cause for the late filing. However, the board of equalization must waive the filing deadline for the circumstance described under (f) of this subsection if the petition is filed within a reasonable time after the filing deadline. The decision of the board of equalization regarding a waiver of the filing deadline is final and not appealable under RCW 84.08.130. Good cause may be shown by one or more of the following events or circumstances:
     (a) Death or serious illness of the taxpayer or his or her immediate family;
     (b) The taxpayer was absent from the address where the taxpayer normally receives the assessment or value change notice, was absent for more than fifteen days of the days allowed in subsection (1) of this section before the filing deadline, and the filing deadline is after July 1;
     (c) Incorrect written advice regarding filing requirements received from board of equalization staff, county assessor's staff, or staff of the property tax advisor designated under RCW 84.48.140;
     (d) Natural disaster such as flood or earthquake;
     (e) Delay or loss related to the delivery of the petition by the postal service, and documented by the postal service;
     (f) The taxpayer was not sent a revaluation notice under RCW 84.40.045 for the current assessment year and the taxpayer can demonstrate both of the following:
     (i) The taxpayer's property value did not change from the previous year; and
     (ii) The taxpayer's property is located in an area revalued by the assessor for the current assessment year; or
     (g) Other circumstances as the department may provide by rule.
     (3) The owner or person responsible for payment of taxes on any property may request that the appeal be heard by the state board of tax appeals without a hearing by the county board of equalization when the assessor, the owner or person responsible for payment of taxes on the property, and a majority of the county board of equalization agree that a direct appeal to the state board of tax appeals is appropriate. The state board of tax appeals may reject the appeal, in which case the county board of equalization must consider the appeal under RCW 84.48.010. Notice of such a rejection, together with the reason therefor, ((shall)) must be provided to the affected parties and the county board of equalization within thirty days of receipt of the direct appeal by the state board.
     (4) For purposes of this section, "commercial property" includes any real property except:
     (a) A single-family residential lot; or
     (b) A townhouse, manufactured home, or unit within a residential condominium that is not being operated as apartments.

--- END ---