Homeowners with Limited Income Deferral

The homeowners with limited income deferral program postpones payment of your property taxes or special assessments. Unlike exemption programs, this program is not a reduction of your taxes. On your behalf the Department of Revenue pays the deferred property taxes and special assessments to your local county treasurer.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this program, you must meet the ownership, occupancy, income, and equity requirements. In addition, your first property tax installment for the year, due April 30, must already be paid and your application must be filed with your county assessor no later than September 1.

Ownership and Occupancy

You must have owned your home for five years before you can apply for a deferral, and the home must be your principal place of residence when you apply for a deferral. You must have been living in the home as of January 1st of the application year, and you must live there for more than nine months during that year and every subsequent year.

Income Limit

Your annual household disposable income for the previous year must be $57,000 or less. Household income includes your disposable income as well as the disposable income of your spouse or domestic partner and any co-tenants. Disposable income is defined in statute and is not the same as your taxable income used for federal income tax purposes.

Equity

Equity is the difference between the assessed value of the property and any debts secured by the property. Debts include mortgages, lines of credit, special assessments, and any other liens against the property. The taxes deferred cannot exceed 40% of your equity.

You must carry fire and casualty insurance, and the State of Washington Department of Revenue must be listed as a “Loss Payee” on your policy, otherwise, we cannot include the value of your dwelling in the calculation. Provide a copy of the summary declaration for your policy when you submit your application.

When Deferred Amounts Must Be Paid

At any time, you may choose to pay any or all of your deferral balance. However, you must repay the deferred taxes and/or special assessments and accrued interest if any of the following circumstances occur:

  • Your property is transferred or conveyed to someone else.
  • Upon your death, unless your surviving spouse or domestic partner meets the qualifications and elects to continue in the program.
  • You no longer permanently reside at the residence.
  • Your property is condemned.

How to Apply

New Applications

Please submit your application with all supporting documentation after you have paid the first half of your property tax and prior to September 1 in the year the taxes are due.

Renewal Applications

As long as you qualify for the program you can continue to defer your property taxes by submitting a renewal application each year.

Questions?

For any questions please reach out to us by calling 360-778-5050 or emailing assessor@co.whatcom.wa.us.

Links and Forms