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Appealing your property tax

Questions on the Board of Equalization

Who is the Board of Equalization?
How soon will I receive a decision from the Board?
What if I'm not satisfied with their decision?
Should I wait until after my hearing to pay my taxes?
Additional Questions

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Who is the Board Of Equalization?

The Board is wholly separate and apart from the Assessor's Office. They are comprised of three County residents appointed by the Whatcom County Council to three year terms. Board members are selected for their knowledge of real estate values and each member is required by law to attend an intensive five day course on the valuation of real property. Board members are salaried while they are in session and receive yearly continuing education from the Washington State Department of Revenue. The Board is directed by state law (Revised Code of Washington, RCW, and Washington Administrative Code, WAC). A list of Whatcom County's current Board members is available upon request.

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How Soon Will I Receive a Decision from the Board of Equalization?                                                                     

You will receive a written decision from the Board usually within 30 days of the hearing. The Board can either raise, lower, or sustain the Assessor's value.  Summaries of Board actions are available on the County Council's website.

What if I'm Not Satisfied With the Board of Equalization's Decision?

You may appeal the County Board's decision to the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals by filing an appeal directly with the State within 30 days of the mailing of the County Board's decision. Forms are available at the County Council or the Assessor's Office. An information brochure is available as well. You may also pay your property taxes "under protest", (consult with the Whatcom County Treasurer's Office for direction) and petition the Superior Court for a refund by filing a lawsuit under Chapter 84.68 RCW.

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If I Do Not Meet the Appeal Deadlines, Can the Board be Reconvened to Consider a Late Filed Petition?

Forms to request reconvening the Board are available from the Board of Equalization Office, the Assessor's Office or the Washington State Department of Revenue.  There are only limited reasons, by law (RCW 84.08.060, WAC 458-14-127), that allow the Board to reconvene to consider assessments when an appeal was not timely filed.  If a taxpayer did not receive a change of value notice and submits a sworn affidavit to attest to that fact, a petition may be accepted until April 30th of the following year.  If a new purchaser bought a property in an arms-length transaction after July 1st and before December 31st of the assessment year and the sale price was less than 90% of the assessed value, a petition may be accepted as well.

Should I Wait Until After My Hearing to Pay My Property Taxes?

Pay your property taxes when due. After your hearing and the finalization of the Board of Equalization's decision, the County Treasurer will notify you of the appropriate adjustments in your tax responsibility or refunds.

Additional Questions?


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