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Washington legislators change tax exemption income levels for seniors, disabled homeowners

This session Washington lawmakers expanded who is eligible for property tax exemptions. Spokane County’s assessor says some Spokane County residents could benefit.

The state grants tax breaks to seniors with low incomes and to disabled homeowners, including veterans. The income levels differ from county to county. In Spokane County, people in those categories who make less than $40,000 a year qualify.

This year, the legislature adjusted the law to increase the income levels to adjust for inflation. The state will calculate this summer what those levels will be for next year. Spokane County Assessor Tom Konis estimates it will be about $44,000, making the benefit available to more people.

“We had about 160 people from January 1 of last year that were rejected because they made over the $40,000, below the $44,000, so we are going to be sending out to those individuals letters stating that this is going to change," Konis said.

He says about 10,000 people in his county benefit from some type of property tax exemption. He thinks another 300 or 400 will qualify under the new guidelines.

“Most of us truly believe that they deserve a break on their taxes when they get to retirement age and older. Historically speaking, these are also people that have paid into the system for a number of years or decades even," he said.

He urges property owners who think they might qualify for one of the tax exemptions to contact their county assessors’ offices early next year.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.