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The levy process has two entities:



The Taxpayers (you, me, ABC Company, etc.)



The Taxing Districts (fire departments, schools, cities, counties)

The Assessor needs to know only one piece of data from each entity:


From the Taxpayers: The assessed value of their parcels


From the Taxing Districts: Their budget

With this information, the basic levy process is very easy and quite simple: The tax rate (or levy rate) for the taxing district equals the taxing district’s approved budget divided by the value of all the taxpayer’s parcels in the district.

Tax District Budget ÷ Value of Parcels in the District = the Tax Rate

Each taxpayer then pays property taxes based on the total value of the parcels they own multiplied by the tax rate for the district.

Value of Parcels in District x the Tax Rate = Amount of Tax Due

The taxes are then collected by the Grays Harbor County Treasurer’s Office and distributed to the Taxing Districts.


To most taxpayers, taxing districts are Fire Districts, Library Districts, School Districts, Counties, Cities, Ports, Hospital Districts, Park Districts, PUD’s.

It is easy to calculate one person’s tax for one taxing district using the “Simple Levy Process”. To calculate tax for 10,000 taxpayers and 100 taxing districts, using the “Simple Levy Process” is a little more complicated. This is because one person’s parcel could be located in multiple districts and each district has a budget. For instance one person’s parcel could be located within a school district, a fire district, a public utility district, and hospital district, with each district submitting an approved budget.

In calculating the tax rate for the taxing district, the process is: The amount of money approved for the taxing district is divided by the value of all the taxpayer’s parcels in the district.

However, the problem is two-fold:



Knowing which parcels are in which district.



Since each parcel is in several districts, the Assessor would be required to sum each parcel many times.

To allow the Assessor’s Office to operate in a more efficient manner, tax code areas (puzzle pieces on a levy map) are created and used in the “Real Levy Process”. Tax code areas and levy maps solve both the problem of matching parcels to districts and the problem of multiple summations per district.

The Assessor keeps maps of the individual types of districts. Each map shows a different type of district, i.e. cemeteries, roads, ports, schools, and fire districts. If these districts are overlaid, one would have the final tax code map. The Assessor keeps a record of all taxing district boundaries. All changes are sent to the Washington State Department of Revenue whose responsibility it is to keep track of levy maps for each district in every county in the state of Washington. The Department of Revenue makes the changes to the official county tax code map and sends a copy of it to the county once each year. Changes may result from annexations, mergers, new districts, etc.

The Assessor keeps track of each parcel by tax code area numbers. The sum all the parcel values for each tax code area are calculated to arrive at the value of each individual taxing district. This is done for all districts at the close of the rolls and again when levies are set. Since taxing districts are allowed by law to collect a specific tax rate on the total value in their district to do their business, they use this data to prepare their budgets. When the Assessor calculates the tax rates for all the districts, rates are calculated for each tax code area to arrive at the combined rate for all its parcels.

Taxing Districts also receive extra money for the value of all new construction added to the tax roll each year.

Tax code areas play a critical roll in arriving at how much money each taxing district can levy each year. If parcels are not assigned to the correct tax codes, the taxing district may not receive money it could levy, or the district could levy more than it is actually entitled to.