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Document Code No.: ACO 8-21-EO
Department/Issuing Agency: Finance and Business Operations Division
Effective Date: March 30, 2020
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF,  195 KB)


ORDER PURSUANT TO PROCLAMATION OF EMERGENCY

 

WHEREAS, on February 29, 2020, the Governor of Washington State declared a state of emergency in response to the emergency caused by novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, citing his authority in, among others, chapter 43.06 RCW; and

 

WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, in my capacity as King County Executive, I issued a Proclamation of Emergency regarding the significant health emergency caused by novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 in King County; and

 

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, the Governor of Washington State issued a “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” order prohibiting all people in Washington State from leaving their homes in most circumstances except for essential activities and business; and

 

WHEREAS, COVID-19 coronavirus disease continues to spread rapidly and affect King county residents; and 

 

WHEREAS, response to the emergency requires new and different demands on county services to protect life, health, and safety and to stabilize the local economy; and

 

WHEREAS, extraordinary economic conditions currently exist in King County and providing temporary reprieve to individual taxpayers is one action that would provide short-term financial relief to county residents; and 

 

WHEREAS, the county is a home rule, charter county with broad authority under the Washington State Constitution Article XI, Sections 4 and 11, chapter 38.52 RCW and the King County charter; and

 

WHEREAS, K.C.C. 12.52.030(C)(10) authorizes the King County Executive to make and proclaim any “orders as are imminently necessary for the protection of life and property” during the existence of an emergency proclaimed under K.C.C. 12.52.030.B.  Such an emergency has been proclaimed; and

 

WHEREAS, for the safety of county staff and the public, the King County Administration Building has temporarily closed in-person customer services, including the in-person collection of any property taxes; and

 

WHEREAS, the county accepts property tax payments online and by mail and will continue to do so; and

 

WHEREAS, K.C.C. 2.16.035 vests the director of the finance and business operations division with the obligation of performing the functions of the county treasurer, including collection of property taxes levied under chapter 36.29 RCW; and

 

WHEREAS, all property taxes are due and payable on April 30 of each tax year, but if the amount due from a taxpayer exceeds $50, one half may be paid then and the balance no later than October 31 of that year, except that the half to be paid on April 30 may be paid at any time prior to October 31 if accompanied by penalties and interest accrued until the date of payment under RCW 84.56.020(4); and

 

WHEREAS, RCW 84.56.020(10) provides that during a state of emergency declared under RCW 43.06.010(12), the county treasurer, on the treasurer’s own motion or at the request of any taxpayer affected by the emergency, may grant extensions of the due date of any such taxes as the treasurer deems proper; and

 

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, the county director of the finance and business operations division determined that, as a result of the eliminated in-person customer service, and the extraordinary economic conditions facing individual taxpayers in King County as a direct result of COVID-19 crisis, it is in the best interest of King County residents to extend the property tax deadline until June 1, 2020, for individual residential and commercial taxpayers with financial hardships and to encourage those taxpayers who can pay on time to do so by the regular deadline of April 30, 2020. The intended effect is to waive the interest for May 2020 that would otherwise accrue for late payments of property tax, which has the result of extending the due date. This determination does not apply to any entity that is an intermediary or collects taxes on behalf of others, such as mortgage service companies; and

 

WHEREAS, under chapter 39.29 RCW, King County collects property taxes for the State, cities, and over 100 special districts and such taxes provide critical revenues for these governments to run daily operations and make debt service payments, and therefore it’s important that taxpayers who can pay by April 30, 2020 continue to do so;

 

WHEREAS, it would be a significant drain on limited county resources to establish and implement a process to consider individual requests, with additional anticipated difficulty implementing the process without in-person customer services; and

 

WHEREAS, it is the experience of the county treasurer that most, if not all intermediaries such as mortgage servicing companies remit property tax payment electronically and do not require in-person service; and

 

WHEREAS, intermediaries such as mortgage service companies have already collected these property taxes and are holding them in escrow.  Therefore, it is not the intended purpose of this short-term economic relief for individual taxpayers to apply to mortgage service companies; and

 

WHEREAS, the resulting interest waiver provides flexibility to individual taxpayers who may be facing unexpected financial difficulties as a result of the current economic and public health crisis, and further addresses the practical limitations on accepting direct payment from taxpayers; and

 

WHEREAS, given the county’s immediate need for revenue, under this Order taxpayers who are in a position to pay on time can do so in a safe manner by paying online or by the mail and intermediaries who have already collected and are holding property tax money are required to pay on time; and

 

WHEREAS, it is imperative that the county act quickly to respond to and mitigate this emergency;

 

THE FOLLOWING EMERGENCY ORDER IS PROCLAIMED BY THE KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE, DOW CONSTANTINE

 

It is hereby ordered that the King County treasurer is authorized to temporarily extend the property tax deadline for individual residential and commercial taxpayers with financial hardships to June 1, 2020 and to encourage all taxpayers without such hardships to pay by the regular April 30, 2020 due date.  This extension shall not apply to intermediaries, including mortgage servicing companies.

 

Dated this 30th day of March 2020 

 

 

/s/ Dow Constantine
King County Executive

Attest:
/s/ Norm Alberg
Director, Records and Licensing Services Division, Department of Executive Services