Honorable R. Ted Bottiger
State Representative, 29th Dist.
8849 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98444
Cite as: AGLO 1972 No. 54 (not official)
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion with regard to the meaning of the phrase "preceding calendar year" as used in RCW 84.36.370 (4), relating to property tax exemptions for certain senior citizens, and providing that:
"The amount that the person shall be exempt from an obligation to pay shall be calculated, on the basis of the combined income, from all sources whatsoever, of the person claiming the exemption and his or her spouse for the preceding calendar year, in accordance with the following schedule: . . ." (Emphasis supplied)
You have indicated in your letter that you are posing your question at the behest of the Pierce county assessor. However, you have not indicated whether the assessor first inquired of his own attorney, the Pierce county prosecuting attorney, with regard to this matter. See, RCW 36.27.020, which designates the prosecuting attorney of each county as the legal adviser for all county officers.
Upon reflection it must be our surmise that this was not done, for had the Pierce county assessor gone to his prosecuting attorney for advice with respect to this matter, we trust that the prosecutor would have directed the assessor's attention to the definition of "preceding calendar year" which is expressly stated in RCW 84.36.380 (2), as follows:
"The term 'preceding calendar year' shall mean the calendar year preceding the year in which the claim for exemption is to be made."
We believe that this definition provides a direct and complete answer to the question upon which you have been asked to obtain our opinion.