Current Use Programs
Current Use is the term commonly used to describe a set of tax deferral programs designed by the Washington State Legislature to support and protect land that falls into one of two categories:
- commercially farmed land, and
- land set aside for the enjoyment and social well-being of the state and its citizens.
Commercially farmed land participating in a Current Use program is any land that is used for the production of food, fiber, and forest crops. Land set aside for the enjoyment and social well-being of the state and its citizens includes natural resources, historic properties, and other property that supports enhancing or preserving property for the common good. Property owners that apply and are accepted into one of these tax deferral programs have their lands valued at their current use rather than at their highest and best use for property tax purposes.
To be accepted into a Current Use program, a property owner must first apply and submit the required supporting documentation. The application process is a multi-year effort that may involve a hearing with the Board of County Councilors. Once approved, a tax lien is placed on the property and property owners are required to remain in compliance with the requirements of the program they were accepted into. Properties determined not in compliance will be removed from the program with back taxes, penalties and interest becoming due.
Applications are due on December 31st each year. Incomplete applications cannot be accepted or processed. Applications are reviewed in the year after they were submitted. The assessed value is reduced beginning in the year the application is approved. Properties are taxed on the reduced value beginning in the year following the reduction in value. Taxpayers will be notified of their acceptance or denial by May 31st of the year following their application.
To learn more about the programs, you can consult either the Washington State Department of Revenue Open Space Taxation Act brochure or the Designated Forest Land brochure. Or, you can select the program button below.