Q. I live in California but would love to one day purchase a home in the San Juan Islands near Seattle. What are property taxes there like?

A. The San Juan Islands are located in the far northwestern corner of Washington, about 100 miles from Seattle.

There are several tax code areas in San Juan County, and each has its own tax rate, according to the San Juan County Assessor. The 2020 levy rates range from about $5.20 to $7.80 per $1,000 of assessed value.

For example, a property on San Juan Island itself—the most populous island in the county—is subject to a 2020 levy rate of about $7.35 per $1,000 of assessed value. A single-family home with a taxable value of about $1.8 million paid about $13,600 in property taxes in 2020, according to public records.

Normally, the first half of the annual taxes is due by April 30, with the second half expected before Oct. 31, according to the county. However, this year, a six-month payment play was established to accommodate homeowners who may have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Homes in San Juan County are reassessed annually, and inspected at least once every six years, according to the assessor.

Some state officials are hoping to get a statewide homestead exemption passed in Washington, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.

Mr. Wilson has suggested an amendment to the state constitution that would include such an exemption for Washington residents. It would apply to owner-occupied properties in an effort to help keep property taxes affordable, Mr. Wilson said.

Exactly how the tax relief will be applied has not been determined, according to Mr. Wilson. 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, he added.

At best, the Washington State Legislature could consider the idea when it next goes back into session in January. The proposal would need to pass both houses by a two-thirds majority, then go to the voters in a general election.

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

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[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the frequency in which homes in San Juan County are assessed.]

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