Real property is land and any improvements (such as dwellings, septic, power, water, driveways, and outbuildings) attached to the land. Land for valuation purposes is bare land only. We do not value trees, landscaping or vegetation on the land. Improvements for assessment purposes is everything that is added to the land (it is not to indicate that you improved the property).
The assessor values real property using one or more of three professional appraisal methods using guidelines from the Department of Revenue and International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO):
- Market or sales comparison method uses sales to provide estimates of value for similar properties.
- Cost approach considers what it would cost to replace an existing structure with a similar one that serves the same purpose. The cost method is also used in valuing new construction.
- Income method is used primarily to value business property when the property tends to be worth its income-producing potential.
Most residential property is valued by using the market or sales comparison method. An individual sale does not automatically establish the value of a property. The assessor uses multiple sales to establish market value. For information on Washington State Department of Revenue's guidelines, click here for the Homeowner's Guide to Property Tax.
Property Value Change
Beginning with the 2012 tax year, Lewis County became an annual reval County. Each year, 1/6th of the County is physically inspected and revalued. The other 5/6th's of the County is statistically updated. After determining the value, the assessor mails property owners a "Change of Value Notice" if your value changes from the prior year. The notice states the new and the old values. By comparing the two values, property owners can tell whether their property has increased or decreased in value. The notice also breaks down the value between land and improvements. "Improvements" definition for the purposes of the Reval Notices is anything other than the land, it does not mean you have improved your property.
Lewis County’s annual revaluation cycles are scheduled by school district, not by city, town or geographical area. The schedule below indicates the year in which the property in each school district will be physically inspected and appraised. All other property in the county will be statistically appraised that year.
Using the chart below, for example, all property in the Adna, Boistfort, Evaline, Napavine, and the Pe Ell School Districts will be physically inspected in 2019 which provides a value for calculating taxes due in 2020.
Click here to access individual revaluation area maps. Valuation notices are NOT tax bills! An increase in value does not mean that next year's property taxes will increase at a proportionate rate.
Appeal of Assessed Value
You may contact the Assessor's Office to review your valuation any time you have a question about your property value. Property owners can often settle disagreements at this level without filing a formal appeal. If you are not satisfied, you may file a written appeal with the County Board of Equalization and they will schedule a hearing before the Board of Equalization where evidence from the Assessor and Taxpayer will be presented. At the hearing, you must present clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption of correctness of the Assessor's opinion of value.
The completed petition must be filed by July 1 of the assessment year or within 60 days of the date the change of value notice was mailed, whichever date is later; this deadline date is identified on all change of value notices. Appeal forms are available from the Clerk of the Board of Equalization located in the Lewis County Commissioner's office.