Business Personal Property Exemptions

Four exemptions are available for Business Personal Property: Head of Family, Farm Machinery & Equipment, Non-Profit Entities, and Destroyed Property. These are each described in more detail below.

The Head of Family Exemption reduces the taxes owed by making the first $15,000 of the total assessed value non-taxable. Any assessed value remaining after the exempted portion is still taxable, and other exemptions may be claimed in addition to this one. 

To qualify for the Head of Family Exemption, the business must be a sole proprietorship, and the owner of the business must meet at least one definition of "head of family" as described in WAC 458-16-115. That definition includes the following residents of the state of Washington:

  • Any person receiving an old age pension under the laws of this state;
  • Any citizen of the United States, over the age of sixty-five years, who has resided in the state of Washington continuously for ten years;
  • The husband, wife, or domestic partner, when the claimant is a married person or has entered into a domestic partnership, or a surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner, who has neither remarried nor entered into a subsequent domestic partnership; and
  • Any person who resides with, and has under his or her care and maintenance, any of the following:
    • His or her minor child or grandchild, or the minor child or grandchild of his or her deceased spouse or deceased domestic partner;
    • His or her minor brother or sister or the minor child of a deceased brother or sister;
    • His or her father, mother, grandmother, or grandfather, or the father, mother, grandmother, or grandfather of a deceased spouse or deceased domestic partner; or
    • Any of the other relatives mentioned in this subsection who have attained the age of majority and are unable to take care of or support themselves.

PLEASE NOTE: This exemption is not available to any partnerships or corporations, including those with only one governing member, because those types of businesses are not sole proprietorships.

To claim this exemption, mark the appropriate box(es) shown on the asset listing form to which it pertains. This exemption is shown on every asset listing form (both online and on paper) available from our office, but it cannot be claimed retroactively.

The Farm Machinery & Equipment Exemption reduces the taxes owed by removing the state-portion of the levies from the resulting tax statement. Local levies are not affected by this exemption, so claiming this exemption will normally remove all of the taxes owed. Other exemptions may be claimed in addition to this one. 

To qualify for this exemption, the business must conduct farming as its primary operations, and only the equipment used for farming is eligible. The definition of "farming" is provided in RCW 82.04.213, and it specifically excludes the growing of marijuana and related products.

To claim this exemption, the exemption's application form must be completed, signed, and submitted annually with the asset listing form to which it pertains. A copy of that exemption form is provided by our office attached to every asset listing form (both online and on paper) for eligible businesses with existing accounts. Blank copies of the exemption application form are available here.

Determination of the exempt status from personal property assessment and taxation for non-profit entities is a function of the Washington State Department of Revenue. Application must be made annually to the State Department of Revenue. RCW 84.36.020 allows exemption of church-owned property used for church purposes. Property must be used for such things as a church, parking, parsonage, convent, and caretaker’s residence. The land for which an exemption is granted may not exceed five acres. After initial application, a renewal application must be submitted annually.

RCW’s 84.36.030 through 84.36.350 allow tax exemptions for property used in character building, benevolent, protective or rehabilitative social services, camp facilities, veterans and relief organizations, libraries, orphanages, day care centers, nursing homes and hospitals, schools and colleges, art, scientific and historical collections, fire companies, humane societies, musical and artistic associations, public assembly halls, certain public authorities, and sheltered workshops for the disabled. Exemption must be claimed annually and ceases upon cessation of the exemption-qualifying use of the property. Applications must be made to the State Department of Revenue.

A brochure about this exemption is available here.

RCW 84.70.010 provides that, if on or before December 31st in any calendar year, any property placed upon the assessment roll in that year is destroyed in whole or in part, the true cash value of such property shall be reduced for that year in an equitable amount as determined in other provisions of the law. To apply for this tax relief, complete Taxpayer's Claim for Reduction of Assessments and a Petition for Property Tax Refund. After printing and completing these forms, you may use one of the following methods to submit:

Mail:
Clark County Assessor’s Office
P.O. Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666-5000

Email: Personal.Property@clark.wa.gov.

Or bring the form to our department located on the 2nd floor of 1300 Franklin Street, in Vancouver, Washington.