Small businesses in King County suffering from the COVID-19 economic impacts can get some relief when it comes to the property tax burden. The county is offering a potential reduction in commercial property values for 2021 that translates to a reduction in property taxes for 2022 — or possibly even sooner, depending on legislation that King County Assessor John Wilson hopes could get passed.
Wilson explained that property taxes for a given year are based on assessed property values on Jan. 1 of the previous year. Since businesses were not yet impacted by COVID-19 on the first day of this year, their lowered values would not come into play until 2021, and taxes would not be reduced in response until 2022.
However, he is hoping this could get moved up in light of the pandemic. Wilson said state law takes other disasters — such as earthquakes, tsunamis, or the current wildfires — into account when making exceptions for lowering property values quickly, but a pandemic is not included.
“We have to set values effective the date of January 1, but as we all know, the world is radically different here in September than it was January 1 of 2020,” Wilson said. “It’s just not fair to ignore that and not say, ‘Look, this has had a significant impact.’”
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Wilson said he regularly sees the devastating effect of COVID-19 on businesses when riding through Seattle neighborhoods on his bike.
“You’re struck at how many businesses are just boarded up

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