Payment Under Protest

Paying Your Taxes Under Protest

If a taxpayer believes a tax is unlawful or excessive and wishes to preserve their right to seek a refund in court, the taxpayer must, at the time of payment, provide Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer with a separate written statement. The statement needs to state the tax or a portion thereof is being paid under protest and state all the reasons why they believe the tax paid under protest is unlawful or excessive. If the tax is paid in two installments each payment must have a written protest or the first written protest must indicate that it is in respect to the tax payable for the entire year.

Any person, firm or corporation whose property is taxed may submit to the county treasurer a written protest setting forth all of the grounds upon which the tax, or any portion of the tax, is claimed to be unlawful or excessive (RCW 84.68.020). This statute requires that tax be paid under protest in order to preserve the taxpayer's right to bring a court action for a refund. Any tax paid without a written protest is considered to be voluntarily paid.


Taxpayers are required to:
  • Submit a separate written statement to the county treasurer at the time you pay each installment on the tax. A statement on a check or money order is not sufficient to preserve the right to seek a refund in court.
  • If the tax is paid in two installments, a written protest must accompany each installment, or the written protest must indicate that the total year's taxes are being paid under protest. The written protest is for current year tax only.
  • List all of the reasons why you believe the tax paid is unlawful or excessive.
The assessor-treasurer cannot provide you with any form of legal advice. The responsibility of the assessor-treasurer is limited to accepting the written protest.