King County property owners who pay their property taxes themselves, rather than through a mortgage lender, have until Monday, November 2 to pay the second half of their 2020 bill. After that date, interest charges and penalties will be added to the tax bill. The Pierce and Snohomish county treasurers are also maintaining this deadline in their respective jurisdictions.
While the first half payment deadline was extended due to the then-emerging COVID-19 pandemic, an extension of the second half deadline could create substantial financial risk for many cities, counties, school districts, fire districts, hospital districts, and other special purpose districts. These jurisdictions rely heavily on the timely receipt of the year’s second installment of property tax revenue to make December debt service payments.
To make the process easier, King County provides several ways for property owners to pay their taxes quickly and conveniently. Payments can be made:
- Online using King County’s convenient, secure online eCommerce system at kingcounty.gov/PropertyTax. Taxpayers may pay with a credit card, debit card, or an electronic check. (A service fee applies to this option.)
- By mail if postmarked no later than November 2, 2020. Taxpayers should write their property tax account number on their check or money order. Cash should not be sent through the mail. Taxpayers do not need to include a tax statement with the payment as long as the property tax account number is on the check or money order and payment is for the exact amount due.
- Because of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak, customer service counters at King County facilities remain closed to in-person payments. However, taxpayers can use the specially-marked, secure dropbox located at the King County Administration Building, 500 Fourth Ave. in downtown Seattle, to make payments by check or money order. Cash should not be left in the dropbox.
To help taxpayers impacted by COVID-19, King County initiated a payment plan program earlier this year. This program continues to be available for real property homes, commercial businesses, land, and mobile homes in King County. To participate, property owners must sign an agreement with King County Treasury. If participating owners also have a mortgage, they should notify their lender about the payment plan program. The program is administered through a third-party vendor and monthly payments are credited to the property tax account once the terms of the payment plan are met.
For those taxpayers participating in a 2020 payment plan, King County is currently waiving the program’s $75 setup fee for qualified taxpayers, but participants will need to pay a monthly processing fee charged by the vendor. Those taking advantage of this program will also need to pay interest of 1% each month on the outstanding amount of their tax bill, as required by Washington state law. However, the statutory 8% penalty applied annually on December 1 for outstanding property taxes is waived for those enrolled in a payment plan. A payment plan for 2020 taxes may be for a term of up to 18 months. For more information on the payment plan program, please visit kingcounty.gov/PaymentPlans or email [email protected].
Information on senior citizen exemption and deferral programs can be obtained from the King County Assessor’s Office at kingcounty.gov/assessor/seniors, by emailing [email protected], or calling 206-296-3920.
The above is a press release from King County. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its contents.