The role of the Assessor’s Office is to establish fair market value for all property in Grays Harbor County for tax purposes. Washington State Law requires all property to be assessed at 100% of market value according to its highest and best use, and all values are required to be fair, uniform, and equitable.
The Assessor does not create market value. Market value is the price a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller under ordinary circumstances. An individual sale does not automatically establish the market value of a property. The Assessor is required to use multiple sales of comparable properties to establish market value.
Taxable property is divided into two classes, real property and personal property. Real property includes land and all buildings, structures, improvements and mobile homes on the land. Personal property includes machinery and equipment, fixtures and furniture and other items used for commercial purposes that are movable in nature. Household goods and personal effects are not subject to a personal property tax.
The Assessor does not raise property values in order to increase taxes. The cost of providing public services determines your property tax. Local government consists of various taxing districts including fire districts, regional library, cities, roads, ports, county government, etc. A portion of the tax is distributed to the state for local school support. In addition, taxes are collected to pay for special voter-approved levies, such as school maintenance and operation levies and bonds and emergency medical levies.
The Assessor does not set budgets for these taxing districts. Budgets are established by the taxing districts themselves and approved by their legislative authority. Every year the directors or commissioners of all taxing districts meet in open session to determine the amount of taxes to be collected the following year. Public questions or comments are welcome during this process. Once the budget has been adopted, and a resolution passed by the commissioners of each taxing district, the amount of taxes to be collected is certified by the Assessor. The role of the Assessor is to then calculate the tax rates necessary to generate the revenue needed to meet the budgetary requirements of the districts. The Assessor also insures that none of the constitutional or statutory limitations are violated. The assessed value of your property multiplied by the tax rate per thousand dollars of assessed value determines the amount of tax you will pay as your equitable share of the total tax burden.
The Assessor does not bill or collect taxes. Taxes are billed and collected by the County Treasurer. After the levy rates have been certified by the Grays Harbor County Commissioners, tax statements are issued to all property within the boundaries of the respective districts. The Grays Harbor County Treasurer mails all tax statements on or around February 14th of the year in which the tax is collected, and the tax monies are then distributed back to the various taxing districts.