Property falls into two major categories: real property (land and buildings) and personal property. The primary difference between the two categories is that personal property is able to be moved from one location to another and typically includes most machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures associated with commercial, industrial, or agricultural enterprises.
Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding business personal property.
In Washington State, the listing of business personal property is a self-reporting system. Per WAC 458-12-060, all businesses in the state are responsible for filing a listing of their personal property each year with their county Assessor, even if a listing form has not been provided to use. If you own any business related personal property in Clark County, you are required to file a personal property listing.
Property tax is a locally-assessed state tax based on the assessed value of your real and/or personal property. Taxes reported to the federal or state governments directly are most commonly based on transactions like income or sales, not on property values.
Real property is subject to excise tax at the time of purchase, and then to property tax annually afterward. Personal property is similarly subject to sales/use tax at the time of purchase, and then to property tax annually afterward also.
Personal property tax is listed, assessed, and paid at the county level to fund the same local services as real property taxes. Examples include public schools, county services & operations, cities & towns, libraries, parks & recreation, emergency medical, hospitals, fire departments, and ports.
Electronic filing via our BPP Portal is encouraged for all businesses and required for businesses with lengthy asset detail lists. To file electronically, follow the link from the Business Personal Property web page to register and log in to the BPP Portal.
Paper listings are mailed out in January each year to existing business personal property accounts, unless they have specifically opted to use electronic filing instead. If you have not received either a listing form or an email about the BPP Portal by the end of February, please contact our office so we can verify your account information.
Instructions for completing the paper listing form are on the form itself. If you have a CPA or other tax professional who handles your property taxes, they will likely be familiar with the process.
In most cases, if you provided an asset list in a prior year, that list will be included on the following year's listing form. This allows you to simply cross-out assets you have removed from your business, and write-in assets you acquired during the previous year. The desired result is a current list of all assets used by the business as of the yearly January 1 lien date.
Yes. The law requires each business to file a listing yearly even if there are no changes from the previous year. Additionally, if you are claiming any exemptions on your business personal property assessment, those are required on the same form.
According to RCW 84.40.130, a penalty of 5% of the amount of the following year tax is assessed for each month the listing is late up to a maximum of 25%. This is a percentage of the taxes due, not a percentage of the value. For example, if the listing is returned in May the penalty is 5%. In June the penalty increases to 10%, and so on until it reaches the maximum of 25% on September 1. The penalty (appearing as a percentage on the Notice of Value) is converted into a dollar amount due on the following year's tax bill.
Clark County considers a government postmark of April 30th as a timely filing. Hand-delivered listings are date-stamped by our office on the date received, and listings submitted electronically are automatically date-stamped. A postage meter stamp is not considered proof of timely filing.
We always use the oldest postmark date available. If you need to amend a filing with more information, resubmit in a different format, or otherwise submit the same form for the second time in a year for any reason, the original filing date from the first submission will be used to determine the penalty.
Our office is legally prohibited from sharing your asset information with other parties without your express approval. The security and confidentiality of your asset list is one of our highest priorities, along with the accuracy of our assessments.
The state's Department of Revenue issues valuation guidelines annually so all Assessor's Offices in the state can assess the value of personal property uniformly. Based on each asset description you provide, the Assessor's Office locates the most appropriate depreciation trend in those guidelines. The trend, when used in conjunction with the year you report, allows us to determine a "percent good" for each asset. That percentage can then be multiplied by the asset cost you report to arrive at the current value for each asset.
When individual asset values are totaled we arrive at the current assessed value for all of your personal property, which we provide to you annually on a Notice of Value. Since this process relies so heavily on your reporting, we always ask for the clearest and most accurate information available. Unclear asset descriptions can lead to incorrect trends, which can impact your assessment as much as an incorrectly reported cost or year.
This notice is the summary of the assessed value of all the business assets you reported owning as of January 1st on your listing. Per RCW 84.40.030, the Assessor’s Office is required to value those assets each year at 100% market value.
If a business does not return a listing, the prior year’s historic value is used to establish the current year value and the maximum late-filing penalty is applied. Any late-filing penalty percentage appearing on the Notice of Value will be converted into a dollar amount due on the following year's tax bill.
Requests for asset detail should be emailed to Personal.Property@clark.wa.gov. Due to proprietary information restrictions, we can only provide a copy of the asset detail to third parties, like a tax preparer, after receiving a letter of authorization from the owner.
You have the right to appeal your value to the Clark County Board of Equalization (BOE) within 60 days of the date shown on any value notice you receive from our office. Most value disagreements on personal property accounts are the result of either an error or a misunderstanding of the process however, and these can usually be corrected without an appeal.
Whenever an error is found in your personal property assessment, regardless of cause, the Assessor's Office wants to fix it. If you believe that errors were made either in our assessment process or in your reporting, please email that information to Personal.Property@clark.wa.gov for us to review. We are able to fix errors to the current and three prior assessments without the involvement of any other departments.
Additional information about the appeal process and appeal forms, are available on the BOE web site, by visiting their office in Vancouver at 1300 Franklin Street, Suite 650, or by calling their office at 564-397-2337. Late-filing penalties are not values, so they cannot be appealed.
The tax rate is based on where the personal property was located on January 1st of the assessment year, and it is the same as the real property parcel at the same location.
The Property Information Center portion of this website will allow you to search for the physical address of a real property parcel and view certain tax information, like the levy rate for all real and personal property at that address. Personal property accounts cannot be searched by address using this tool, only by account number.
Tax bills are mailed by the Clark County Treasurer’s Office every February. Property tax payments are due by April 30th and October 31st of each year to that office. The taxes are based on the prior year’s assessment, but the Assessor's Office only has limited information about taxes beyond that. Most tax questions will be referred to the Treasurer's Office.
The current year’s assessment of your business personal property results in a tax obligation (lien) per RCW 84.56.120. If you moved or closed your business after January 1st of last year, you are liable for the full amount of this year’s tax. If you move or close your business after January 1st of this year, you are also responsible for paying the full amount of next year’s tax. All taxes must be paid before the personal property is sold to another business entity. You must request a final advance tax bill by emailing Personal.Property@clark.wa.gov.