Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1991 NO. 2 > Jan 22 1991

1.  RCW 84.56.023 authorizes counties to accept payment of property taxes by credit card.  If the county utilizes this procedure, it must collect fully payment of taxes, interest and penalties without discount.  2.  RCW 84.56.023 does not grant the county the authority to collect from the taxpayer a service fee on behalf of the bank issuing the credit card.

AGO 2010 NO. 5 > Jul 7 2010
  1. When county timber excise tax revenues received during the third and fourth quarters of a year are insufficient to fully satisfy the first and second priorities for revenue distribution under RCW 84.33.081(2) and (4), distributions made to lower-priority districts during the first and second quarters of that year may not be taken back and redistributed to first- or second-priority districts.
  2. School district property tax rates may not be adjusted during a tax year when timber excise tax revenues fall short of projections used in calculating the tax rate and levying property taxes for the year.
AGO 1993 NO. 8 > Apr 27 1993

1.  Article 8, sections 5 and 7, and article 12, section 9 of the Washington Constitution prohibit gifts or loans of public money or credit and the acquisition of interests in private stocks or bonds. 2.  RCW 43.84.080(7) authorizes the state treasurer, under certain circumstances, to invest public funds in commercial paper.  RCW 39.59.020 empowers local governments to make investments authorized by law for the state treasurer. 3.  Under article 8, sections 5 and 7, and article 12, section 9 of the Washington Constitution, state and local governments can invest in commercial paper purchased on the secondary market.

AGO 1993 NO. 13 > Jun 21 1993

Membership in the State Investment Board includes the State Treasurer and one member each of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Members of the Board are subject to the Executive Conflict of Interest Act, chapter 42.18 RCW.  Although the Act does not apply to elected state officers and legislators when they are acting in their capacity as elected officials, these elected officials are subject to the Act when they are acting in their capacity as a member of the Board.

AGO 1959 NO. 14 > Feb 19 1959

The county treasurer cannot refuse to accept the first half of either irrigation or drainage district assessments after such first half assessments are delinquent but before the second half are delinquent and require the assessment to be paid in full.

AGO 1976 NO. 16 > Sep 22 1976

All reasonably necessary costs of foreclosure, distraint and sale of property for delinquent taxes that can be traced by a reliable accounting method to the particular taxpayer and property involved may be (1) charged against the revolving fund created by RCW 82.56.020 and (2) recovered as costs of foreclosure or costs of distraint against the taxpayer or other party against whom that statute authorizes the charging of "costs."

AGO 1963 NO. 19 > Apr 22 1963

(1) It is the duty of the county treasurer to check the tax rolls upon the request of mortgagees and to give a statement as to what real property taxes, if any, are owing on property in which the mortgagee has an interest. (2) Same :  The treasurer may not charge any fee for such service. (3) Same :  The treasurer would be subject to liability if he fails to exercise reasonable care in making a search. (4) Same :  There is no duty upon the treasurer to sign the report he prepares, but because liability may arise as the result of negligently prepared reports, it may be advisable to sign the report for authentication purposes.

AGO 1983 NO. 19 > Sep 30 1983

(1) A county treasurer continues to be authorized to invest funds under his/her control within the provisions of RCW 36.29.020 in savings or time accounts in mutual savings banks or savings and loan associations up to the insurance limits afforded such accounts by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation even though the particular institution has not also been approved as a qualified depositary under chapter 66, Laws of 1983‑-except to the extent that specific statutes which were repealed or amended by chapter 66 might come into play. (2) Consideration, and identification, of certain specific municipal funds which, by virtue of the enactment of chapter 66, Laws of 1983, may no longer be invested or deposited with thrift institutions which have not been approved as qualified public depositaries.

AGO 1974 NO. 20 > Sep 20 1974

(1) The governing body of a municipal corporation whose funds are in the custody of a county treasurer may not authorize such treasurer, by a single blanket resolution, to invest all of its present and future surplus funds in a certain specified way or ways, and thus avoid having those funds invested as county residual funds under the second paragraph of RCW 36.29.020. (2) The governing body of a municipal corporation may enact a blanket ordinance or resolution permitting either a single member of that body or some other officer or employee thereof to authorize the county treasurer having custody of its funds to invest those funds as and when indicated, provided that the ordinance or resolution contains sufficient standards to guide that officer or employee in the exercise of the power thus delegated.

AGO 1977 NO. 22 > Nov 10 1977

The provisions of RCW 36.24.130 and 36.24.140 do not authorize a county to probate the estate of the person who has died without heirs or to place to the credit of the county other assets of the decedent except ". . . money or other property which may be found upon the dead body . . ." 

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