'A double whammy:' Pierce County assessor warns of big property tax bills

TACOMA, Wash. -- Brace yourself, property owners.

Tax bills are coming.

Homeowners in Pierce County will see anywhere from a 6.47 percent year-to-year increase at the low end, to a 24.52 percent increase at the high end, according to Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Mike Lonergan.

"This is going to be a year of pretty big surprise when people open up their tax statement," Lonergan said.

Tax bills will be mailed out Thursday, hitting mailboxes Friday or Saturday.

A new state-mandated property tax increase for education will be added to existing school taxes, adding about $1.03 per $1,000 of assessed home value. If your home is worth $400,000, taxes will bump up about $400 for the one tax, Lonergan said.

The state tax is coupled with the typical 1 percent per year increases in local school districts. Other districts - such as fire or emergency services - may have also levied new taxes. And then there's the increase in home values on top of that, Lonergan said .

Some local school levies will start to expire or reduce next year, Lonergan said. But this year's taxes means a heavy burden.

"So this year there's kind of a double whammy," Lonergan said. "Or you could call it the perfect storm. You've got higher local taxes carrying forward one more year. And you've got this new state tax on top of it."

The tax increase will differ depending on where you are in the county, with it's differing districts.

In Auburn, an average single family home is valued at $378,360. Property taxes amount to $4,903.46. But with taxes increasing in Auburn by 10.75 percent, the 2018 tax bill will be $5,431.04, a change of $527.58.

In Gig Harbor, taxes will climb $851 this year. But in South Prairie, which will see the lowest tax increase, they'll only climb $170.73.

Of course, it's not just Pierce County. Carnation homeowners are seeing a 31 percent increase in their property taxes. King County property taxes are going up an average of 17 percent this year.