Spokane County property owners now have an additional month and a half to pay their property taxes due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Spokane County Treasurer’s Office, which collects taxes on behalf of every government in Spokane County, including cities, fire districts and school districts, has extended the tax collection deadline from April 30 to June 15.
The Treasurer’s Office is not normally allowed to delay tax collection, but it can under state law when the governor declares an emergency, county Treasurer Michael Baumgartner said.
“I don’t have the legal authority to make your tax bill go away, but I do have the legal authority during this emergency to extend it,” he said.
Thurston and King counties also announced they were extending property tax deadlines, to June 1.
This extension only applies to this year’s taxes and does not include those already owing back taxes. It also does not apply to those who pay their taxes through their mortgage bill every month, because those taxes have already been collected. Baumgartner estimated that about $140 million of the estimated $350 million to $400 million the Treasurer’s Office collects is through mortgage companies.
Baumgartner encouraged those who are working and can afford to pay their taxes to continue doing so because many local governments are dependent on property taxes and are anticipating receiving less money from other sources in the next few months.
“This is not a decision without some potential financial ramifications,” Baumgartner said. “If they haven’t been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and if they can pay, it would help significantly if they can pay as soon as they can.”
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