Every week, Mansion Global poses a tax question to real estate tax attorneys. Here is this week’s question.

Q. I have owned a home in Washington state for about five years, which I live in. I have only been able to find exemptions for senior citizens, widows and low-income families. Are there any other ways to save on property tax through programs like a homestead exemption?

A. Washington State is one of a handful of U.S. states with a homestead exemption program that doesn’t offer property tax relief. But some state officials are pushing to extend the homestead exemption to do just that, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.

An amendment to the state constitution has been proposed that would create a property tax benefit for homesteaded properties as well, according to Mr. Wilson.

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“We are looking at ways to make property tax more affordable,” he said. “We want people to be able to stay in their homes rather than sell because of...property tax concerns.”

How the benefit would be applied has not yet been determined, Mr. Wilson explained. Options for the benefit include a standard dollar amount all qualified owners could deduct, or a percentage of a home’s value up to a certain amount.

The exemption would apply to primary residences only, the assessor added. Second homes would not qualify, and owners would only be able to set up a homestead in one state.

The proposal has a long way to go before homeowners would see any relief, however.

Because it's an amendment to the constitution, it would need to pass the Washington State Legislature by a two-thirds majority, then go to voters in a general election.

The earliest the measure could be considered by the Legislature is in January 2021, when it returns from this year’s break. If it passes through both the state’s Senate and House of Representatives, it would then be added to a future general election ballot.

“We’re hoping for November 2021 or November 2022,” Mr. Wilson said.

If approved, it’s not clear when the homeowners could apply for the exemption or when it would go into effect.

Email your questions to editors@mansionglobal.com. Check for answers weekly at www.blakcan.com.

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