Treasurer’s office can’t take early property tax payments

Editor,

Multiple national and local (Seattle) newspapers have recently published articles urging taxpayers to consider making payments for property taxes before year-end 2017 to assure receiving the maximum federal tax deductibility prior to the changes that will result from the Tax Reform Legislation effective in 2018. Our office has received many phone calls and visitors wanting to pay 2018 property taxes, or even the next five years’ property taxes, in advance.

As the local arm of state government, we are subject to the statutes pertaining to our office in the Revised Code of Washington and the Washington Administrative Code. RCW 84.56.010 specifically forbids our office collecting taxes or issuing receipts for uncertified taxes. The county assessor certifies the tax levies in January, after which time the county treasurer establishes the tax rolls including the benefit assessments for any special districts plus any fees, and then creates the tax statements. At this time (usually by mid-February), the county treasurer certifies the taxes, and only then can payments be accepted for taxes and receipts issued.

In summary, the Island County Treasurer is forbidden by law from accepting 2018 or future year property tax payments prior to certification. Any payments received prior to that point will be returned with an explanatory note.

Wanda J. Grone

Island County Treasurer

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