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Posted on April 1, 2020 at 1:42 PM by Timothy Grisham
Question: Does the Governor’s proclamation under RCW 43.06.220 supersede RCW 84.56.020 (10), which provides the
ability for county treasurers to grant extensions of property tax due dates for
taxes paid when the Governor has declared a state of emergency under RCW
Response: The Department does not
have authority to administer Chapter 43.06 RCW and this response simply
represents our best sense of how the provisions may relate. RCW 84.56.020(10)
provides County Treasurers with broad authority to extend dues date for
property taxes as they deem proper when the Governor has declared an emergency
under RCW 43.06.010(12). The Governor has declared such an emergency. Thus,
unless prohibited otherwise, RCW 84.56.020(10) should allow Treasurers to
extend due dates within their discretion.
Assuming the Governor
could and did issue a specific Proclamation extending due dates for property
taxes under RCW 43.06.220(1)(h) and (2)(e), the Proclamation would waive,
suspend, or prohibit certain statutory provisions while the Proclamation is in
effect. Given the nature of the Governor’s authority, Treasurers would be
prohibited from exercising any discretion that would violate the order during
that period. Based on our understanding, it may not be possible for an
Emergency Proclamation to waive only due dates for COVID-19 impacted persons,
but the extension may need to be applied to all tax statements.
Therefore, if you have questions about potential impacts of a Proclamation
under Chapter 43.06 RCW, you may want to contact your local prosecuting
The statute clearly includes and I’ve added underlining, “During a state of
emergency declared under RCW 43.06.010(12), the county treasurer, on his or her
own motion or at the request of any taxpayer affected by the emergency,
may grant extensions of the due date of any taxes payable under this section as
the treasurer deems proper.” I believe the affidavit is their request and
I wouldn’t need to extend to all.
Question: Under that same [statute] RCW 43.06.220(4) it says under
Section 4 [the proclamation] may continue for no longer than thirty days. If
the governor does such order, would it only be thirty days from Feb 29 or from
what date would the clock start ticking?
Response: The answer to this question would appear to depend on the
nature of the order. With respect to Governor’s Emergency Proclamation 20-20,
by it terms was effective March 18, 2020, and thus
applies prospectively for 30 days or until April 17. But it also expressly
applies retroactively to the date the emergency was declared on February 29.
The order also clarifies that waived amounts cannot be refunded if the amounts
were paid prior to the effective date of the Proclamation to avoid gift of
public fund issues. RCW 43.06.220 (4) addresses extending a Governor’s
Proclamation under Subsection 2 of the same statute.
The state of emergency has been established. The impact from the
emergency could last beyond the dates of the state of emergency. The
state of emergency will likely last beyond April 30. Affidavits will be
addressing taxes due during the state of emergency. We will not refund
anything, and we may need to add that to the affidavit if we need to do this
again in October. Something like, “No payments prior to ___date____ made
to the treasurer that include interest or penalty will be refunded.” We will
likely receive affidavits after April 30, and I believe the terms of the
affidavit are sufficient.
Question/Statement: The Governor also has the authority in 43.06.220 which is a
broad authority of “taxes”.
Response: It is our understanding that the Governor has
authority waive penalties and due dates for taxes under RCW 43.06.220(2)(e). To
obtain an answer regarding the authority granted by RCW 43.06.220, you should
contact your local prosecuting attorney.
Information as it relates to extending due dates
Interest: RCW 84.56.020(5) imposes interest if the taxes are “delinquent”:
taxes under this section are subject to interest at the rate of twelve percent
per annum computed on a monthly basis on the amount of tax delinquent from
the date of delinquency until paid. Interest must be calculated at the rate
in effect at the time of the tax payment, regardless of when the taxes were
first delinquent. (emphasis added)
Subsection (5) clearly
provides that interest is not charged until the taxes are delinquent, and
interest continues to accrue until the taxes are paid.
If the due date is
extended, the tax is not delinquent and, therefore, interest should not accrue
until after the extended due date.
Penalties: Because the statute provides specific dates upon which penalties
must accrue on delinquent taxes, and RCW 84.56.020(10) does not provide
authority for the County Treasurers to modify the penalty accrual date, the
county must adhere to the accrual dates that are provided in statute. For
· If the due date is extended to May 31st (or any
date prior to June 1) the 3% delinquency penalty will accrue on any delinquent
balance for the current tax year on June 1st.
· If the due date is extended beyond June 1st, then there
is no delinquent tax balance for the current tax year on June 1st,
and the 3% penalty will not accrue.
o Under this scenario, only interest will accrue on the delinquent
balance, and a delinquency penalty will not accrue until December 1st.
These results are due to
the fact that the treasurer does not have authority to move the penalty accrual
dates, and penalties can only accrue on delinquent tax balances. If there are
no delinquent taxes for the current tax year on the penalty accrual date, then
no penalties will accrue.
We are not extending the due date past June 1 when penalties apply. We
are waiving interest and penalties if they comply with the terms. If they
don’t comply (pay in full by the new due date), then the penalties and interest
calculate on the amount not paid (remainder of 1st half and all
of second half per RCW 84.56.020) on
May 1 and June 1. I believe our approach with the affidavit to waive per
terms complies. Pay specific attention to (c).
Except as provided in (c) of this subsection, delinquent taxes under this
section are subject to interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum
computed on a monthly basis on the amount of tax delinquent from the date of
delinquency until paid. Interest must be calculated at the rate in effect at
the time of the tax payment, regardless of when the taxes were first delinquent.
In addition, delinquent taxes under this section are subject to penalties as
penalty of three percent of the amount of tax delinquent is assessed on the tax
delinquent on June 1st of the year in which the tax is due.
An additional penalty of eight percent is assessed on the delinquent tax amount
on December 1st of the year in which the tax is due.
If a taxpayer is successfully participating in a payment agreement under
subsection (12)(b) of this section or a partial payment program pursuant to
subsection (13) of this section, the county treasurer may not assess additional
penalties on delinquent taxes that are included within the payment agreement.
Interest and penalties that have been assessed prior to the payment agreement
remain due and payable as provided in the payment agreement.