215 South Oak Street Colville, WA 99114
Telephone: (509) 684-6161, TTY: (800) 833-6388, Fax: (509) 684-7580

Public Access Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 3:30 PM

Page updated:  07/23/2014

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Al Taylor

 Real Estate Sales Search
  2007- 2014 Aggregate Levy Rate (in pdf)
  2014 District Values (in pdf)
  2014 School District Values (in pdf)
 2014 Tax Levy Rates (in pdf)
  Annual Revaluation Project

Welcome to the Stevens County Assessor's Office website. As your Assessor, I am committed to serve and assist you personally in any matters dealing with this office.  I am also available to speak to any interested groups.  Please contact the Stevens County Assessor's Office for more information.

  ►  Inspection Area Map
  ►  Levy Rate Trend Graph
  ►  Property Tax Explanation
  ►  Question and Answer
  Board of Equalization

Mission Statement

"Our Mission is to administer a property assessment system, that meets constitutional and statutory requirements, in an efficient and professional manner, while striving to provide excellence in service to our customers."

  Current Land Use
  Explanation of Utility Values in pdf
  Property Tax Explanation in pdf
  Email Contact:  propertyinfo@co.stevens.wa.us

Property Tax Explanation

As Stevens County Assessor, Iíve received a number of inquiries that highlight broad misunderstanding of how our property taxes are determined and where limits apply.   The best way I know of to explain Washingtonís property tax system is with some simple illustrations. 

Imagine a little city that consists of four homes, each exactly the same, and each appraised by the Assessor at $100,000.  Letís also say that the annual city budget for our imaginary city is $1000.  To raise the amount of the budget, each homeowner must pay $250.  Four homes each paying $250 raises $1000.  Our property tax system is budget based. We tax enough to raise the amount in the budget.  No more.

$1000 Budget

                   $250               $250               $250               $250           

$100,000       $100,000        $100,000        $100,000

Letís say next yearís budget remains at $1000, but the Assessor doubles the assessed value of all the homes to $200,000 each.  Do the taxes on each of the homes change?  No.  To raise the budgeted amount, each must still pay $250.  In this example, the assessed value of each home doubled, but the tax didnít change because the levy rate was reduced.

$1000 Budget

                   $250               $250               $250               $250           

$200,000       $200,000        $200,000        $200,000

Now letís get a bit more realistic and say that the values on the homes change differently.  Suppose one home goes from $100,000 to $150,000.  Two homes double in value to $200,000 and the last home jumps up to a whopping $250,000!  Now what happens to the taxes?  Well, the average value of the four homes is still $200,000.  So the taxes on the two homes that go to $200,000 are unchanged.  They are at the average and they each still pay $250.  The lowest valued home sees its tax go down to $187.50, even though the assessed value goes up 50 percent!  The home that jumped 150 percent to $250,000 in value sees its property tax go up to $312.50, a 25 percent increase.  In the end, we still only raise $1000 total to meet the budget.  Interesting, right?

$1000 Budget



                                       $187.50              $250               $250              $312.50

$150,000       $200,000        $200,000        $250,000

But wait.  Normally budgets donít stay the same; they go up, right?  Back in 2000, Washington State voters approved Initiative 747.  I-747 limited annual budget increases to 1 percent unless voters approve a greater increase.  In our imaginary city, the $1000 budget can only increase 1 percent to $1010 the following year unless the voters who live in the city approve a higher increase.  Although a Superior Court Judge ruled I-747 was unconstitutional, the governor made it part of the statutes.

Most taxpayers who call my office think there is a limit on increases to assessed values.   Not so.  The limit is on the annual budget growth of the tax districts

As assessed values have increased the rate you pay per thousand dollars of assessed value has decreased.

Our imaginary city gives simple illustrations of our property tax system.  In reality, itís not so simple.  In Stevens County, there are about 40,000 properties (all different from each other), 62 tax code areas, and 41 tax districts.  Although each property is in one tax code area, each property is in a number of tax districts because tax districts overlap.  For instance, your next door neighbor could be in a different fire district or school district, etc. The result is that even though you live right next to each other, you could be in different tax code areas, and have totally different tax rates. The 41 tax districts in Stevens County are comprised of the state, county, cities, fire districts, emergency service districts, library, sewer and water districts, resulting in 62 tax code areas.  Each tax district has an annual budget.  To further complicate taxes, three school district cross county lines.  Also some property that crosses county lines, such as railroad property and telephone lines are assessed by the state.  We also assess and tax business personal property.  And we process senior and disabled exemptions and forest land and agricultural valuation reductions.  Stevens Countyís property tax system operates just like our imaginary little city, but on a much larger scale and with all these additional factors. Nonetheless, our computer system allows very accurate calculation of property taxes.

 Now letís discuss appraisals.  In assessor jargon, Stevens County is known as an ďAnnual Reval CountyĒ. That means all property is to be adjusted to fair market value every year.  We inspect and reappraise only 1/6th of our county each year and statistically update the remainder.  All property is valued based upon the sale of comparable homes.  Many people ask if the real estate market ďbubbleĒ bursts and prices begin to decline, will the assessed value decline with it?  The answer is yes.  We will follow the market.  But recall the examples above; we will still raise the amount required by the budget.  Declining values would not necessarily mean lower taxes.

 I hope this discussion helps you understand how our system works.  You control your taxes at the ballot box.  It is vitally important that our citizens carefully consider all levy issues they are asked to vote upon.


 Al Taylor, Stevens County Assessor