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Tax Guides

Appealing Your Property Tax

Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes

Open Space Taxation

Annual Tax Book

Washington Tax Structure

 

 
Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes
  1. Property Tax History and Allocation
  2. Real Property and How it is Assessed
  3. Personal Property
  4. Calculating and Paying your Taxes
  5. Property Tax Relief and Exemption

3. Personal Property:

Characteristics - Personal property's primary characteristic is its mobility. It includes most machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures associated with commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprises. Business inventories are exempt from property tax.  However, supplies consumed in the operation of a business are taxable.  The assessor uses the affidavit to value property for taxes due the following year.  Personal property tax rates are the same as for real property.

Affidavit Deadline and Tax Rates - Everyone who uses personal property in a business must complete a personal property affidavit by April 30 each year.   When completing the form you must:

  • List all assets you own as of January 1, including those assets fully depreciated in your accounting records and assets in storage.
  • Identify each personal property category.  For example, office equipment should be broken into separate categories of personal computers, network servers, printers, phones, etc.
  • Include the total purchase cost of each item.  This excludes sales or use tax, but includes costs to make the item usable such as installation and freight.
  • Include the date each item was acquired. 

Return listings to:

Whatcom County Assessor's Office, Personal Property Department

311 Grand Ave #106

Bellingham WA  98225

Phone: (360) 676-6790; Fax: (360) 738-2472

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Property Owner's Responsibility -As a property owner, you are responsible for filing a personal property listing each year that you have taxable property even if you do not receive the form by mail. If you have multiple business locations, you must complete a separate listing for each location. The assessed value is allocated to the taxing district based on where the property is located.

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Types of Personal Property - Unless specifically exempt, all tangible personal property is subject to personal property tax. The major categories of taxable personal property include the following:

  • Machinery and Equipment, Fixtures and Furniture:
    • Office furniture and fixtures such as desks, chairs, etc.
    • Office equipment such as computers and printers.
    • Store fixtures and equipment.
    • Computer software (canned and embedded).
    • Manufacturing machinery and equipment.
    • Construction equipment.
    • Office trailers.
    • Signs.
    • Commercial fishing equipment.
  •  
  • Farm Equipment, Machinery, Supplies, and Tools: Most farm equipment, machinery and supplies are subject to personal property tax. An exemption or partial exemption may apply to some farm machinery and equipment. Contact the Assessor's Office for exemption information.
  • Leasehold Improvements: Personal property tax applies when the lessee/tenant retains ownership of the leasehold improvements, or is required to remove them at the end of the lease.  For example, the improvements a lessee makes to a leased space are taxable as leasehold improvements.
  • Supplies, Materials and Tools: Taxable materials and supplies include office, shop, janitorial, brochures, promotional materials, fuel, spare parts, etc. Tax does not apply to items that are held for resale or that become an ingredient or component of an article manufactured for sale.

Forms and Additional Information - More information can be found by contacting the Assessor's Office at 360-676-6790

 

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