2013-14 Property Tax Statement

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sponsored by: Assessment and Taxation Department

Property Tax Statement Mailing Begins October 18th

Approximately 189,000 property tax statements will be mailed to Washington County property owners between October 18th and the 25th. In the weeks that follow, staff in the County's Department of Assessment & Taxation will assist the public with a variety of inquiries, including how property tax bills are determined, what local services are paid for and what the options are for an appeal.

Services Paid for by Property Taxes

Property taxes in Oregon pay for local services. This year the average property tax dollar in Washington County breaks down in the following manner.

  • 17.3 cents for County government services (public safety, road improvements, libraries, elections, public health, etc.)
  • 31.4 cents for neighborhood services provided by cities and special districts (police, fire protection, parks and water, Urban Road Maintenance District, Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District and Urban Renewal Projects)
  • 48.4 cents for Education (K-12, Portland Community College, Education Service District)
  • 2.9 cents for Regional services provided by Metro, Tri-Met and Port of Portland

Tax statements reflect the amount of tax paid to each taxing district that provides service in the area where the property is located. Tax rates vary based on the unique mix of taxing districts in a given location called a tax code area. There are 306 separate tax code areas in Washington County this year.

2013/2014 Property Taxes

This year's property tax statements account for a total of $877 million, which will pay for the services mentioned above. These services are provided by 49 local taxing districts (cities, county, special districts, schools, regional governments) throughout the County. This is an increase of 7.3 percent or $59.5 million compared to last year. The increase in taxes is due to several factors including the 3 percent increase in assessed value on most properties, additional value from new construction activity and new or increased taxing district levies. Please see our 2013 Fact Sheet for more information.

  • The most common question tax payers have is, "Why did my taxes go up more than 3 percent?"

It is possible for your property taxes to increase more than 3 percent from last year based on changes in levies and/or changes in value. Voter-approved new levies may contribute to your property taxes increasing more than 3 percent. Or, your Assessed Value (AV) may have increased more than 3 percent. How is this possible? Under Oregon law, your AV is the lesser of your Real Market Value (RMV) and your Maximum Assessed Value (MAV). If your RMV has dropped below your MAV, it is possible for your RMV to increase more than 3 percent from last year yet still be less than your MAV. As the lesser of the two values, RMV then becomes your AV.

For more information, refer to Publications/A&T Brochure on our website or call (503) 846-8826.

  • The second most common question tax payers have is, "What are the new Levies or Bonds approved or reauthorized by the voters that will be reflected in this year's tax bill?"

There are new Levies or Bonds approved or reauthorized by the voters that will be reflected in this year's tax bill.

The majority of taxpayers, approximately 168,000 accounts, will receive tax statements that have increased when compared with last year. Approximately 78,000 accounts will have tax increases between 0 and 5 percent, and 90,000 accounts will increase over 5 percent. Additionally, approximately 15,700 taxpayer accounts will reflect a tax decrease. These reductions are primarily due to local option levies expiring, compression or the taxing districts levying a lesser amount. See the attached listing of Typical Residential Properties with examples of values and taxes for typical houses in various parts of the county.

Values and Appeals

The tax statement includes a section on current and prior year values. Taxpayers concerned that their Assessed Value or Real Market Value is too high should call the Appraisal Division at (503) 846-8826 to discuss the basis for their property's appraisal.

Appeals of value may be filed from October 26 until December 31, 2013. Information pertaining to the appeal process is available on the back of the tax statement and the County Website.

Taxpayers are also encouraged to call the Appraisal Division at (503) 846-8826 for assistance in determining how their property was valued.

Informational Flyer

An informational flyer is included with this year's tax statements. It is a guide to help taxpayers better understand their property tax statement and how to contact the Department of Assessment & Taxation for additional help.

Highlighted again in this year's flyer is the distinction between yellow and green colored tax statements.

  • A YELLOW statement indicates that a mortgage company or the Oregon Department of Revenue has requested a copy of the property tax bill.
  • A GREEN statement indicates that the property owner is paying the bill.

Taxpayers are encouraged to check with their mortgage company if they think their current arrangement is not reflected by the color of their statement. This has been an area of confusion in past years, resulting in double payments or late payments in some cases.

Payment Options

Taxpayers have several payment options. Taxes may be paid in three installments due November 15, February 15 and May 15. There are also provisions for full payments with a 3 percent discount or a two-thirds payment with a 2 percent discount. Payments must be postmarked by November 15 to receive a discount. Property owners who do not receive a tax statement by November 1st should call the Tax Collections Office at (503) 846-8801.

On Line Payments

Washington County is now able to accept payments via the Internet using a credit card, debit card or a direct transfer from a customer's bank account. This payment method can be accessed through the Washington County Website.

Payments by Phone

Taxpayers also have the option to pay via telephone by calling 1 (888) 510-9274.

Media Contact:

Rich Hobernicht, Director
(503) 846-8843