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Trustee Support Resources

Property Taxes

Property taxes are the chief source of revenue for library districts in Washington, but the laws governing them are extremely complex. As expressed by MRSC in the opening line of both of their revenue guides, “One longtime legislative analyst from Olympia says that the Washington property tax is the most complicated in the nation. We plan to limit this discussion to what officials and staff… really need to know. Even that is pretty complicated.”

Check out the MRSC revenue guides where you will find clear explanations of property taxes, levy lids, and related topics:

The MRSC also provides a summary of “Property Taxed Based Revenue Sources” on its web page devoted to Revenues of Special Purpose Districts. In describing taxing districts, it states:

“Taxing districts are defined in RCW 84.04.120. They have the power to impose tax burdens upon district property in proportion to property value, as opposed to obtaining revenue for public purposes in proportion to the benefits accruing to it. The statutes classify taxing districts into senior taxing districts (the state, the county, city or town, county road, port, and public utility districts) and junior taxing districts (all others).”

A wealth of information on property tax levies may be found in the Property Tax Levies Operations Manual (also known as the Property Tax Levy Manual) from Washington’s Department of Revenue. A link to this document has been provided by MRSC on their web page, Revenues of Special Purpose Districts.

An in-depth look at Special Purpose Districts may be found in MRSC’s online publication, Special Purpose Districts in Washington State.

The Washington State Department of Revenue is another rich resource, offering workshops, publications, and information related to taxes in Washington State. Need to find a county assessor or treasurer? The Department of Revenue makes it easy - just go to their “County Assessor and Treasurer Websites” page.