After being closed for one year due to the pandemic, our service counter will once again be open, but ONLY to receive property tax payments and issue receipts, beginning Monday April 12, 2021. The opening at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th Street in Tacoma is intended to assist taxpayers in meeting the April 30 due date for first-half 2021 property taxes. Hours for the service counter will be 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Other services cannot yet be offered in person at the Annex, but will continue to be conducted remotely through this website, by email, by phone or by mail.
Much of our staff continues to work from home and in the office only as necessary, to perform our duties including property valuation, exemptions, cartography and foreclosure avoidance. We encourage you to contact us by phone, live computer chat on this website, or by e-mail or U.S. Mail for assistance with these matters. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. When we are able to resume normal services, an announcement will be posted here.
Payments may also be made:
- By mail to Pierce County Finance, P.O. Box 11621, Tacoma WA 98411. Make checks payable to Pierce County and please include payment stub or parcel number.
- Online using e-check, debit card or credit card at www.piercecountywa.gov/atr or by calling our automated telephone system at (253) 798-3333. Please have your parcel number ready. A handling fee is added by an outside vendor: 50 cents for e-check, $3.50 for debit and 2.35% for credit card.
- Secure drop box at Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma. There is a 24-hour drop box near the front entrance and also a drop box inside the building. Please do not use the drop boxes for cash payments.
- Payment on parcels in property tax foreclosure status must be made at the Assessor-Treasurer’s office. Certain payment restrictions apply. Please contact the foreclosure avoidance team at (253) 798-2728 for additional information.
Applications and documentation for senior and disabled tax exemptions may be mailed or dropped in a special collection box in front of the Assessor-Treasurer’s office, inside the County Annex.
Call customer service: (8:30 am to 4:30 pm) 253-798-6111
Email: [email protected]
Mailing address: 2401 S. 35th St Rm 142., Tacoma, WA 98409
Residential Property Values Take a Big Jump in Pierce County
The latest assessed values for residential and commercial properties throughout Pierce County are in the mail to taxpayers and posted here on the Assessor-Treasurer’s website.
“Home values in all parts of our County continue to increase dramatically, typically by around $60,000 each in the past year,” said Mike Lonergan, Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer. Overall, residential properties went up 16 percent this year, compared to nine percent in 2020, due to a red-hot real estate market.
Lonergan cautioned homeowners not to jump to the conclusion that an increase in value will result in a tax increase, “It’s a math equation, and when values are rising, the legal limits on each taxing district tend to bring their tax rates down.”
He explained, “Your property tax in 2022 will be the new 2021 value multiplied by the combined tax rates of your school district, city, fire district and so forth, added to the statewide school levy that everyone pays. A lot depends on public votes in local districts, such as levy lid lifts and bond issues.”
While values Countywide are all up sharply, the change varies in different communities, based on actual sales of similar properties. “The 17.7 percent increase in Tacoma was slightly above the County average, bringing the typical Tacoma residence to $415,000, an increase of $62,000,” Lonergan explained. “By contrast Steilacoom’s increase was the lowest at 11.3 percent, or $51,000, for an average 2021 residential value of $498,000.”
Most commercial properties showed either slight or no value increase during past year, due largely to COVID-19 limitations on retail, hospitality and office activity. However apartment buildings and warehouses both had double-digit percentage increases, in response to demand for affordable housing and online ordering/distribution.
Any property owner who believes the Assessor-Treasurer has over-valued their property may appeal to the Pierce County Board of Equalization at no cost. The appeal must be filed no later than August 24, 2021, providing evidence that comparable properties have sold recently at a lower amount.
Did you forget? Late payment reminders have been mailed
April 30 was the due date for Property Tax payments for the first half of 2021. All property owners who have not yet paid, or those who owe taxes from a previous year, are receiving a reminder postcard like the one below.
Because State law requires that we charge 1% per month interest on unpaid Property Tax, the sooner payment is made, the less it costs. Any first half 2021 taxes that are not paid before June 1 are also charged a 3% penalty. We send this reminder to help taxpayers avoid as much of these additional costs as possible.
2021 Sees Moderate Increases in Property Taxes
While real estate values continue to surge in Pierce County, statutory limits on property tax rates are holding tax increases to modest levels this year. “For the past three years, tax bills fluctuated due to the McCleary court decision on school funding,” Assessor-Treasurer Mike Lonergan explained. “This year they’ve settled down in most areas, even decreasing in a couple districts.”
Property tax statements for 2021 are being mailed to the owners of residential and commercial land and buildings in Pierce County. For homes where the tax is paid through an escrow account, the statement is sent to the bank or mortgage company.
Countywide, property taxes billed this year total $1.67 billion, a 4.8% increase over 2020. In addition to schools, property taxes pay for city and county government, fire districts, emergency medical service, parks, libraries, roads, Port of Tacoma, Sound Transit and flood control. Fees for conservation, noxious weed control and surface water are also included on the property tax statement.
The state and local portions for schools add up to 59.6% of all property taxes in Pierce County. The cities and county, including the road district, add up to 21% and fire districts equal 11%. Together, these make up over 90% of Pierce County’s property tax.
The annual tax is determined by multiplying property value (in thousands of dollars) by the combined rate of all taxing districts where the property is located.
Last year (2020) saw hefty tax increases for most property owners, due to the Washington State Legislature’s increase in the maximum local school district Enrichment Levy, from $1.50 to $2.50 per $1,000 of property value.
Voters in two additional school districts, Puyallup and White River, approved supplemental enrichment levies taking effect this year, resulting in tax increases of $350 and $500 respectively, on the average home. Tacoma residents will experience the smallest increase, only $40 on the average home, largely due to a reduced Metropolitan Park District construction bond.
Residents of the Orting School District fared best this year, with taxes on the average home reduced by $170, due to decreased school levy rates. Tax rates also dropped in the Graham Fire District, to be replaced by a new Fire Benefit Charge which is calculated differently than taxes.
Property owners may view their tax statement on this website by clicking on “Property Tax and Value Search” and entering either their tax parcel number or street address. Payment is due in two halves, by April 30 and November 1, 2021.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the service counter at the Pierce County Annex remains closed, but taxpayers with questions may contact the Assessor-Treasurer staff by computer chat on the website or by calling (253) 798-6111.
Pierce County Assessor Treasurer
Here you’ll find a wealth of information about each of the 330,000 properties in Pierce County, by clicking on our popular Parcel Search. You’ll also get answers to frequently asked questions about your property taxes—how values and rates are determined, where the funds collected (about $1.4 billion per year) are used, and how to go about seeking exemptions, deferrals and appeals. You can even pay your taxes online!
As your Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, I am honored to lead a team of 77 people dedicated to serving you with respect and earning your trust. While almost no one enjoys paying taxes, we all understand that schools, roads, libraries, parks and public safety need our support. Our pledge to you is that we will make every effort to see that you are taxed fairly and correctly, and if we do make a mistake, we’ll fix it.
On behalf of over 75 taxing districts in Pierce County which are served by the Assessor-Treasurer’s office, thank you for making these public services possible by your property tax support. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed on this website—or an idea to improve our service to you, please contact us.