Pierce County Assessor: Property value cards in the mail

Pierce County residents will receive notification of the 2009 assessed value of their property beginning July 18. The Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer’s office will be mailing 302,119 notices of value for residential and commercial properties. The notices will inform taxpayers of their 2009 assessed value for taxes due in 2010. Notices for mobile homes were mailed on June 29. This year, for the first time, all property owners in Pierce County will be receiving notices, whether their value changed or not. Assessed value information is also available on the Assessor-Treasurer’s Web site at http://www.piercecountywa.org/atr .

In Washington State, the assessment date is set Jan. 1 of the year prior to when the taxes are due, by state law. These 2009 values are based on sales that took place in 2008. Sales that take place between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2009 will be used next year to estimate 2010 values for taxes due in 2011.

The following statistics are averages only (individual assessments will vary):

— For 2009, the overall average value of Pierce County residential property, which includes single-family dwellings, multi-family homes, condominiums and vacant land, fell 7.53% from $277,674 for 2008 to $256,571 for 2009. Ninety percent of Pierce County’s taxpayers will see a decrease in their assessments.

— Overall in the county, condominium assessments dropped from the 2008 average assessed value of $228,125 to $211,572 a total of 7.28%. Single family residences went from an average assessed value of $306,936 for 2008 assessments to $284,758 for 2009 (-7.18%), while vacant land went from an average of $125,188 for 2008 to $109,812 for 2009 (-12.32%).

— Average residential assessments for 2009 range from the low of $149,068 in Wilkeson to $354,214 in Gig Harbor. Average residential property assessments decreased in Tacoma 7.41%, in Lakewood 7.52% and in Puyallup 5.69%. Values in unincorporated Pierce County went down an average of 7.53%. The largest percentage decrease in residential property values last year occurred in Pacific, where values dropped on average 19.96% and the smallest was in the Town of Wilkeson where residential assessments decreased just 1.64%. None of the 23 cities and towns in Pierce County saw increases in their average assessed values.

— The commercial and industrial assessments have remained essentially flat, with an overall average increase of less than one percent for the year. The largest average decrease was seen in Roy, where its limited commercial sector saw an 8.1% reduction on their average assessed values, while the highest increase took place in the small city of Pacific, where these types of properties are trending up by 4.1 percent.

If property owners have questions or concerns about their value, Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam has announced he would like them to call his office and talk to an appraiser. You can reach the customer service hotline at (253) 798-6111 or (800) 992-2456.

Appeals to the Pierce County Board of Equalization must be filed within 60 days of the date the notice was mailed. The appeal process doesn’t require that you hire an attorney, pay for an appraisal or hire a tax representative, but homeowners will need to present evidence that the assessment is not indicative of the true and fair market value as of Jan. 1, 2009. Appeal forms are available on the Assessor-Treasurer’s Web site, in the Assessor-Treasurer’s office or from the Board of Equalization. The Clerk of the Board can be reached at (253) 798-7415.