Property owners in Pacific County will soon receive their new assessed valuations for 2014 property taxes. Property owners have 30 days from the mailing date to appeal their new values to the County Board of Equalization if they disagree with their new value. The appeal deadline date will be on your notice and will be around July 1. Please read your notice for the exact date.

If you have any questions about your new value or there are any issues we might not be aware of, please call our office first. We will have sales lists upon which the new values were based on our website (www.co.pacific.wa.us) or we can send you a hard copy if you don’t have access to the internet. If after talking to us you still disagree with the new value you may petition to the Board of Equalization for a hearing.

Assessed values used to set the rates for property taxes are a little confusing since the new assessed values are based solely on sales that occurred prior to Jan. 1, 2013 with extra weight put on sales which occurred in 2012. Your new assessed value will be used to calculate taxes to be collected in 2014. This new value is what we have computed using sales prior to Jan. 1, and is a statistical answer to the question; “If your property would have been one of those which sold prior to Jan. 1, 2013, what is the most likely price it would have sold for?” The assessed values do not reflect what a person could sell their property for as of the date of the revaluation notice or as of date of the tax statement, which will be mailed in February 2014. Before 2010, by law, we could only use arm’s length sales (willing seller, willing buyer) to calculate new assessed values for tax purposes. Since the 2008 recession more foreclosure and short sales have taken place and through the efforts of the Washington State Association of County Assessors we have been allowed by the State Department of Revenue to include these sales in our calculations.

Mass appraisal for tax purposes is the process of using several sales to value large numbers of properties as of a given date. Fee appraisal (the familiar appraisal used for mortgage or sale purposes) is the process of using several sales to value one property as of a given date. Both appraisals use the same standard appraisal procedures to collect and analyze sales and differ only in the application of the data. We first view copies of every deed recorded in the auditor’s office and change the addresses and save the sales data. We then send questionnaires to every purchaser, asking questions about their purchase such as; the condition at the time of the sale, whether they feel the price they paid was fair, etc. If there are issues we try to follow up with phone calls. The bottom line is that we want to get as much information and the most correct information as possible about every sale before we begin to apply that data to all the properties in the county. In fact the Washington State Department of Revenue a few years ago sited our office as having the best practice for sales review in the state.

Pacific County went from a four-year cycle to an annual revaluation cycle two years ago and we now mail new valuation notices to almost the entire county. We previously physically inspected one-fourth of the county every year and then re-valued and mailed notices only to that area. That led to large jumps in both value and the resulting shift in taxes to that portion of the county that was inspected. The annual cycle eliminates some of the “sticker shock” and tax shift which came from only changing value once every four years. Each year we now physically inspect one of the six assessment areas and statistically update the values of the other 5/6ths of the county.

This year the physical inspection cycle included Ilwaco, Long Beach and the oceanfront south of 290th Street and west of Highway 103.

Remember that by law the calculations we used to determine your new values do not reflect or use current listing prices, sales which have occurred after Jan. 1, 2013; how many properties in an area are for sale; or how long a property was on the market before selling. The new values are set only using sales prior to Jan. 1.

We are also going to be converting to a new software system this summer and I’ll be writing more about that later. Please have patience with us while we go through this process starting in July.

Again please note that by state law you only have 30 days from the mailing date of your revaluation notice to appeal your new value. This appeal date deadline is printed on your new valuation notice.

If you have any questions about your new value or anything else at the assessor’s office visit please visit us at the Pacific County Courthouse Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or the South County annex Wednesdays 9 a.m. to noon or call us at 875-9301; 642-9301; 484-7368 or 267-8368.

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