State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees
Tool | November 2019

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees


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The Bottom Line
Flag of Washington


The Evergreen State is one of seven states with no broad-based personal income tax. Therefore, retirees don't have to worry about paying taxes on their pensions, Social Security benefits or other retirement income, period. However, combined state and local sales tax rates are some of the highest in the nation. The state offers some property tax relief programs.

State Sales Tax

6.5% state levy. Municpalities can add up to 3.9% to that, with the average combined rate at 9.21%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Income Tax Range

Washington has no state income tax.

Social Security

Benefits are not taxed.

Exemptions for Other Retirement Income

Washington has no income tax.

Property Taxes

In Washington, residents pay an average of $1,125 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Tax breaks for seniors: Washington has four property tax relief programs available for homeowners who meet the individual program requirements: the Property Tax Exemption Program for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons, the Property Tax Deferral Program for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons, the Property Tax Deferral Program for Homeowners with Limited Incomes, and the Property Tax Assistance Program for Widows or Widowers of Veterans.

The Property Tax Exemption Program is available to people who are 61 or older or disabled by the year before the property tax is due. The property must be owner-occupied, and household income must be $40,000 or less. For qualified applicants, the home is exempt from all voter-approved excess and special levies. In addition, if household income is $35,000 or less, a portion of the regular property tax amount may be exempt. When household income is between $30,001 and $35,000, the exemption also applies to the regular levies on the first $50,000 or 35% of the home's assessed value, whichever is greater (but not more than $70,000 of the assessed value). When household income is $30,000 or less, the exemption applies to the first $60,000 or 60% of the home's assessed value, whichever is greater.

Seniors 60 or older and disabled persons who have income of $45,000 or less may also qualify for the state's tax-deferral program. This program works in conjunction with the exemption program, and it allows qualified applicants to defer property taxes or special assessments on their residence. The state pays the taxes on behalf of the applicant and files a lien to indicate that the state has an interest in the property. The deferred taxes, plus 5% interest, must be repaid to the state when the owner passes away, sells or moves from the home.

There is also a property-tax deferral program for homeowners with limited income. It is available for homeowners with combined disposable income of $57,000 or less, and there is no age or disability requirement. This program allows homeowners to defer half of their property taxes annually. The deferred amount accrues interest until it's repaid. Deferrals must be repaid when the home is sold, the applicant passes away or the home is no longer used as the primary residence.

The state also has a property tax assistance program for spouses of deceased veterans. It applies to a widow or widower of a veteran who was 100% disabled, a disabled former prisoner of war, or a veteran who died on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability. The surviving spouse must be 62 or older or disabled, single, own a primary residence in the state and have income of $40,000 or less. He or she receives a grant based on income, the value of the residence and local levy rates. The grant does not have to be repaid as long as the applicant continues to live in the residence until at least December 15 of the year it is received.

Vehicle Taxes

For vehicle purchases, a 0.3% motor vehicle sales tax is charged on top of sales tax due at the rate of the purchaser’s residence.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

An estate tax is imposed on estates exceeding $2.193 million. Rates range from 10% to 20%. Washington offers an additional $2.5 million deduction for family-owned businesses valued at less than $6 million.