Homeowners worried about making property-tax payments this fall may ask the state to temporarily foot the bill, but it will cost them in interest.
People with an annual household income of $57,000 or less last year who have owned a home for at least five years may defer part of their second-half property taxes, which are due Oct. 31. The amount deferred cannot exceed 40 percent of the home’s equity, according to the Washington state Department of Revenue.
The taxes must be repaid – plus 5 percent annual interest – when the property is sold or no longer used as the owner’s primary residence. In exchange for paying the taxes up front, the state places a lien on the property until the taxes are repaid by the homeowner.
Now in its second year, the program has not yet been widely used, said department spokesman Mike Gowrylow.
“With the downturn in the economy, it could be that there’ll be more interest in this than there has been in the past,” he said. “It gives you a little bit of a safety valve.”