Property tax is one of the principal ways that we pay for the many services of local government. Pierce County’s Assessor-Treasurer will collect $1.27 Billion this year for education, public safety, parks, roads, libraries and other valuable community services.
During the past year, citizens in 21 taxing districts around Pierce County (school districts, fire districts, and towns), voted to increase or renew property tax levies. In addition, a new property tax was added in most of the County for Sound Transit. This, coupled with increasing property values, results in an average tax increase Countywide of 5.6 per cent. Four out of five property owners will see some increase in their tax this year, with the remainder seeing a reduction, especially in districts where certain levies have expired.
Tax rates per $1,000 of property value continue to go down again in 2017, as property values rise. These rates vary from under $10 per thousand in Gig Harbor to around $16 in Tacoma, with the average throughout the County being approximately $14 per thousand.
As you will see on your tax statement, your total tax is a combination of all the taxing districts where your property is located, including schools, fire districts, EMS, roads, cities and towns, county, parks, library, port, flood district and transit. Just over one-half of all property taxes are the result of voted levies, with the remainder being regular property taxes, allowed by law to grow at only one percent per year.
Your property tax bill may also contain small assessments that are not taxes, such as conservation district, surface water management and noxious weed control. These are included in your total due and collected in the same way as taxes.
The first half payment is due no later than May 1, 2017 (because April 30 falls on a Sunday), and the second half must be paid by October 31, to avoid interest and penalties. Property taxes on homes with mortgages are typically paid by the bank or mortgage company from an escrow account, in which case the homeowner does not receive a tax bill from the Assessor-Treasurer.
The Assessor-Treasurer’s office is ready to answer your questions and assist you with paying your taxes. You will find lots of information on this website. If you don’t find what you need here, please click on our “live chat” feature or call Customer Service at (253) 798-6111.