Assessor records are public records and subject to full disclosure, except for records that are expressly exempt from disclosure by law. The exceptions are as follows:
For our office, records that are exempt from disclosure and treated as confidential are income and expense information for the senior citizen and disabled persons programs (RCW 84.36.389), and also commercial/industrial property and personal property asset information (RCW 42.56.070 and 42.56.210).
The Washington State Legislature passed law (RCW 40.24) in 1991 creating a program for protecting personal address information for persons who are survivors or victims of crime. These are sometimes referred to as witness protection programs. Individuals may seek to have personal address information suppressed by registering for the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) with the Washington Secretary of State. In 2011, the ACP began accepting "criminal justice employees who have been threatened or harassed because of their work". Assessors are notified by the Washington Secretary of State when individuals become enrolled for ACP.
For more information, please see the Address Confidentiality Program website here:https://www.sos.wa.gov/acp/
On their website you can view the eligibility requirements and how to apply by clicking the "Get Help" link.
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Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Our office is closed on all county observed holidays.
There is a list of exemption and tax relief programs that can be used to reduce property taxes on our website.
Assessors must annually update values to real property. The Assessor is required by state law to assess properties at market value. Properties are physically inspected every 6 years and are statistically updated the other years. If changes to value are made, the assessor mails property owners a Valuation Change Notice. The notice states the new and the previous values.
Contact the Assessor’s Office if you feel there is an error or that your property is valued at more than fair market value. If the Assessor and you cannot agree on a satisfactory valuation, you have the right to appear before the Whatcom County Board of Equalization.
Contact the Assessor’s Office first to verify information. The county Board of Equalization outlines the steps to file an appeal on the assessed value on a property. Appeals must be received by the Board of Equalization on or before July 1st of the assessment year (the year before taxes are due) or within 30 calendar days after the date of a notice of valuation. Additional information can be found on the Board of Equalization’s webpage.
You can view ownership information on the real property search website or contact us. However, it’s important to note that Assessor’s Office records are for tax purposes only and we do not guarantee or insure title.
Our results default to the most recent appraisal year with a certified value. To view the current ownership on a property, make sure that the most recent appraisal year for tax year is selected in the results display section before hitting the search button. This allows any ownership that has been changed in the current year to be viewed.
For example, if a property sold in April 2020, you’ll need to manually change the results display to 2020-2021 since values for 2020 are not yet certified, but the ownership change occurred during this calendar year.
If the property does not show the current ownership in the current appraisal year for tax year it is possible the current document for changing ownership has not been processed by the assessor’s office yet. This process can take up to two months after the document has been recorded with the county auditor’s office.
We have instructions on our website about different ways to contact us and the information we need to update a mailing address for a property. This is the address where the assessor’s change of value notice is mailed. Updating your mailing address with the Assessor’s Office will also update your address for Treasurer’s office property tax statements.
RCW 84.40.025 states, “For the purpose of assessment and valuation of all taxable property in each county, any real or personal property in each county shall be subject to visitation, investigation, examination, discovery, and listing at any reasonable time by the county assessor of the county or by any employee thereof designated for this purpose by the assessor. In any case of refusal to such access, the assessor shall request assistance from the department of revenue which may invoke the power granted by chapter 84.08 RCW.”
Appraisers do not need interior access to homes and buildings, but they do need access to all sides of the building; therefore, they may enter the backyard even on fenced properties.
When working neighborhoods, the appraiser may be on foot to reduce mileage and fuel costs. They will be carrying county issued ID. If you have a doubt, please call the Assessor main line at 360-778-5050, we can describe the appraiser working your neighborhood that day.