Property tax statements are in the mail this week to 174,000 owners of residential and commercial land and buildings in Pierce County. For homes where the tax is paid through a mortgage escrow account, the statement is sent to the bank or mortgage company. The 2023 statements are also posted on the Assessor-Treasurer’s website, www.PierceCountyWa.gov/atr.
While real estate values surged again in 2022, statutory limits on property tax rates reduced the tax rate (per thousand dollars of value) by over a dollar in nearly every taxing district. “The only significant tax increases are in areas where voters approved new levies or bonds,” Assessor-Treasurer Mike Lonergan explained. “As a result, we see moderate tax increases in most of Pierce County, even small decreases in Edgewood and Sumner, where a school bond was paid off.”
Countywide, property taxes billed this year total $1.85 billion, a 5.1% increase over 2022. 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 are also included on the property tax statement for conservation, noxious weed control and surface water.
(NOTE: Click here to view a pie chart showing the percentages of total 2023 property taxes in Pierce County that will go to various services of local government.)
The state and local levies for schools make up 59% of all property taxes in Pierce County. The cities and county (including the road district) add up to 19.6%, and fire/EMS districts equal 11.8%. Together, these account for 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. Unless there is a vote of the people, most taxing districts are limited to receiving 101% of last year’s property tax revenue, plus significant taxes resulting from new construction.
Seventeen new school levies in ten school districts were approved by the voters last year and voters in five fire districts approved multi-year levy lid lifts or renewed EMS levies. Gig Harbor Fire District #5 also passed a 20-year bond and Tacoma Metro Parks approved a levy lid lift. Overall, the average 2023 tax bill Countywide is $5,579, a 5.1% increase over last year.
(NOTE: Click here to view a spreadsheet showing the 2022 to 2023 net effect of higher property values multiplied by reduced tax rates. The result is shown as both a 2023 tax amount for the average home and the percentage change from the previous year.)
Tax payments are due in two halves, by May 1 and Oct. 31, 2023. The service counter at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S 35th in Tacoma, is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday to receive payments and issue receipts. Taxpayers with questions may also contact the Assessor-Treasurer staff by computer chat on the website or by calling 253-798-6111.
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Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer