Friday, May 08, 2009 | Taking the mystery out of your tax bill

Now there is a place citizens of Washington can go to see what goes into their property tax rate in one place. There are countless taxing districts - water districts, fire districts, school districts, and more, in addition to the obvious city, county and state that are happy to tax you and always need more. Their districts overlap, so its hard to know which ones your property is in. Its also useful for comparing the property tax rates for different cities and even neighborhoods. It also has some other features I haven't explored yet. sponsored by Evergreen Freedom Foundation. I was shocked by what I found. We looked at buying in a major Washington city, but noticed the tax rates seemed high. But looking up the total actual tax rates I find that our suburban city is one of the worst. This is a nonscientific sample of places that interest me. The data: The number shown is the total property tax rate on the assessed value of the property as a per cent per year. 1.0 means you pay 1.0 per cent of the assessed value, i.e., $1,000 on $100,000 value every year. Not that bad: Mountlake Terrace .80 Bellevue .85 Lake Bay on Key Peninsula .86 Seattle .88 Even better: Hunts Point .79% Anacortes .75 Oak Harbor .70 Langley (Whidbey Island) .59 Much worse: Tacoma 1.09 Lake Forest Park 1.13 in parts; 1.07 in other parts. Shoreline 1.19 - But its not the worst. Look up where you live and ask your elected officials why your tax rate higher than sleepy Anacortes. Of course the answer will be "It's Ron Sims' fault," since he is out of bounds.

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