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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1956 No. 233 - Mar 26 1956
Attorney General Don Eastvold


One wishing to protest part or all of his property taxes, may pay his tax in two installments as permitted by RCW 84.56.020 and file his protest with the payment of each installment.

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                                                                  March 26, 1956 

Honorable John H. Happy
State Senator, 6th District
311 Paulsen Building
Spokane, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 233

 Dear Sir:

             You have requested our opinion as to whether one must pay all of his 1956 taxes by April 30 if he wishes to protest a portion of the taxes imposed pursuant to chapter 253, Laws of 1955.

             It is our conclusion that any person who pays his taxes in two installments as permitted by RCW 84.56.020 and files a proper protest with each installment, perfects his right to a refund should chapter 253, Laws of 1955, be declared unconstitutional.


             Only taxes paid under proper protest may be refunded.  RCW 84.68.020.  This section simply provides that a taxpayer may pay his tax or any part thereof deemed unlawful under written protest, setting forth all of the grounds on which he claims the tax unlawful and thereafter bring an action for refund of the tax.  By RCW 84.68.070 this is made the exclusive remedy by which the validity of any tax may be attacked, except in instances covered by RCW 84.68.010.

             RCW 84.56.020 provides that all taxes shall be due and payable on or before the 30th day of April in each year, except if one half of the taxes are paid on  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] or before said date, the remaining half are not due until the 31st of October.  The antecedent of this provision was enacted by § 83, chapter 130, Laws of 1925, and was extant at the time of the enactment of RCW 84.68.020.  There was, of course, no express repeal of the 1925 act by RCW 84.68.020, nor is there any reason to conclude that the latter act effected a repeal by implication contrary to the normal presumption under rules of statutory construction.  But to conclude that the legislature intended that anyone wishing to protest his tax cannot take advantage of the installment provisions, would require a conclusion that RCW 84.68.020 impliedly repealed to such extent the prior statute relating to installment payments.

             We conclude that a tax paid in two installments can be as effectively protested as when paid in a single installment.  In the former case, protest should simply accompany each installment, and when this is done, the person so paying has fully protected his right to bring an action for refund of the claimed excessive or unlawful amount.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General 

Assistant Attorney General