Bellingham- The Whatcom County Assessor’s Office is responsible for annually updating assessed values for all real and taxable personal property in Whatcom County, and calculating levy rates for all taxing districts for property tax purposes.
The 2022 assessments were established as of January 1, 2022 (July 31, 2022 for new construction), and were determined through analysis of property sales that occurred prior to the end of 2021. This assessed value data is used to determine the amount of taxes owed in 2023. An increase in assessed value due to market appreciation is not the prevalent cause for property tax increases.
Whatcom County voters approved two county-wide property tax increases, which were on the ballot in 2022:
In addition, two school districts had voter approved increases:
In addition, Whatcom County Council approved a system of rates and charges for the Whatcom Conservation District. Most properties will see a new charge on their tax bill for this, in 2023.
The total taxable assessed value in Whatcom County increased from $43.16 billion for 2022 taxes, to $52.49 billion for 2023 taxes, which is a 21.6% increase in assessed value.
According to the County Treasurer’s Office, they will begin mailing tax statements by the end of February. Property tax payment information for 2023 is also available on-line at the Treasurer’s office website: https:/whatcomcounty.us/331/Treasurer
Property taxes to be collected this year by all taxing districts in Whatcom County will show an overall 9.2% increase over last year. Property taxes will total $441,957,023 in 2023, up $37.5 million over 2022’s $404,471,919 that was levied for all taxing districts. The two county-wide voter approved measures were approx. 41% of the overall increase, at approx. $15.5 million.
While tax amounts increased, the levy rates calculated for individual taxing districts decreased as a result of higher assessed values.
The Whatcom County Assessor’s office publishes and Annual Tax Book, which provides information on taxing districts and levy rates. It is available online here: https://whatcomcounty.us/178/Annual-Tax-Book
Property tax relief is available for senior citizens and people with disabilities, who meet program requirements. In 2021, changes to the program were made by legislation which added some allowable deductions for determining qualifying income. The disposable household income qualifying threshold for Whatcom County residents is $42,043. Participants must live in the home as their primary residence, including the year prior to the first tax year the reduction is applied for.
The Assessor’s office has updated webpages with additional information online, including contact information for all taxing districts, information on the Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities exemption program, and more. https://whatcomcounty.us/177/Assessor