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Online filers flood county assessors office

The Kitsap County Assessor’s Office has already exceeded its expectations for a new program that allows business owners to file their property taxes online.

“We expected that about 500 people would file online as opposed to filing with paper,” said Program Specialist Shannon Lewis. “But we already have 436 online filers with a week to go. People always wait until the last minute.”

This year, the last minute is the close of business May 1. Taxes are due by April 30 in order to avoid penalty, but that date falls on a Sunday.

The filings need to have a May 1 postmark, or be dropped off at the Assessor’s Office on that day.

As for online, Lewis said the filings take a day to go through the firewall, so any submissions on May 1 will not be assessed a delinquent charge.

The assessors sent out around 3,500 business property tax notices. As of April 21, about 1,500 businesses had filed.

Kitsap County is the first county in the state to offer the online filing option.

Washington state law requires all business owners must file their personal property listings with the assessor by April 30 to avoid penalty. This is an annual requirement of every sole proprietorship, corporation, association, partnership, trust or estate.

The assessor uses the information reported to update existing accounts or establish new ones and determine the assessed value of the personal property applicable to each business. Shortly following receipt, the owner will be notified by mail of the established value. This value will be the basis for personal property taxes to be paid in 2007.

All items used to operate a business are considered “personal property,” including office furniture and equipment, computers, software, store equipment and fixtures, manufacturing equipment, signs, communication equipment, professional libraries, rental videos, farm machinery and small tools.

Lewis said the on-line system was working well and did not expect it to change perceptibly next year.

For more information, visit www.kitsapgov.com/assr/ or call (360) 337-7160.

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