Seattle's priciest home will pay property tax after all

When Seattle's historic Sam Hill home hit the market for $15 million last July, it came with an equally outrageous selling point: no property tax. The King County Assessor's office now says that has changed.

KING 5 broke the story that the owners of the mansion had been paying zero dollars in property tax and just over $800 in fees, due to an exemption they received for remodeling the home.

According to the real estate agent, Terry Allen of Bellevue, the owners recently put ten million dollars into renovating the home. Based on the last assessed value of the home of $2.6 million, the homeowners applied for a tax exemption and the city’s landmark preservation board granted it, citing a 1985 law that the the property's "rehabilitation cost must equal or exceed 25 percent of the assessed valued of the improvements."

A spokesperson for the Assessor's office says once it became aware of the issue, they realized an assessment of the property was overdue. The owner refused an inspection, so the Assessor’s office used the information from the real estate listing and reassessed the property to be valued at $8.5 million.

Based on the new valuation, the home was now above the exemption limit. The property owners will get a bill in the mail for approximately $50,000 including three years of back taxes.

The bill is still far below what a normal home would pay. The Sam Hill home's historical landmark status gives it the tax break. But the Assessor’s office said it fixed the problem thanks to our story, and it plans to conduct new assessments for all of the historic landmark buildings getting the exemption.

KING 5 has reached out to the owners of the home for comment.

By the way, the home is still up for sale.

Copyright 2016 KING


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