Blog / Local Information / A Breakdown of Washington County, Rhode Island's Property Taxes for 2019/2020

A Breakdown of Washington County, Rhode Island's Property Taxes for 2019/2020

Graphic of a map of Rhode Island with washington county in red

Property tax in Washington County, RI costs residents about 4.61% of their annual income, an amount that is in-line with many other desirable places to live on the East Coast. This tax funds local schools, projects, and infrastructure, helping to keep the quality of life in South County among the highest in the nation.

 Because the median home value in South County is $351,100, the median property tax amount in the region is $3,845 annually. This amount is the 75th highest out of all counties in the United States, but only slightly higher than Providence County, which has the state's lowest median tax cost.

 The end result is an average property tax rate of $15.09 per $1,000 of property value, which officials apply on the assessed market value of the property. Keep in mind, however, that towns like Charlestown, Narragansett, and Westerly have tax rates far before the state and county averages.

 To figure out how much you owe in property taxes, take your assessed value, divide it by 1,000, and then multiply it by your town's tax rate.

 Here are the property tax rates per $1,000 of assessed value in South County in 2020:

  •  Charlestown - $9.64
  • Exeter - $15.69
  • Hopkinton - $20.68
  • Narragansett - $10.233
  • North Kingstown - $17.09
  • Richmond - $21.88
  • South Kingstown - $14.45
  • Westerly - $11.20

 Just because you've ended up with a high tax bill doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about it. Start by making sure all of the information is correct because a small mistake could end up costing you money.

 Here are some other ideas:

  • Appeal your assessment – The amount you'll pay in taxes is entirely dependent on your town's tax rate and your home's valuation. In reality, according to Rhode Island General Law 44-5-11.6, a full physical assessment is only required every nine years, with a statistical revaluation occurring every three years. As a result, statistics, rather than the home's current condition, drive many increases in your property's value. If you feel that your property value is over-inflated, you can appeal its value and, hopefully, save money on your tax bill.
  • Look for exemptions – There are tax exemptions available in many South County towns for the elderly, disabled individuals, military veterans, and the widows of veterans. Many exemptions are based on the homeowner's income and include either a flat deduction or a sliding scale. Some towns also offer tax reductions for permanent year-round residents. You'll have to apply for your exemption before the beginning of your town's new tax year.
  • Search for errors – Go over your tax documents and your home's assessment to look for mistakes. Even a small deviation in the size of your lot could increase the value of your property, leading to you paying more in taxes. When you notice a substantial increase in your property taxes without local rates adjusting much, there's a good chance there has been a mistake on your assessment that you'll want to appeal.
  • Speak with others in your neighborhood – If you're friendly with your neighbors, you can ask about their property values and taxes to see if yours are in the right range. When speaking with other people from your neighborhood, you can quickly figure out if your home is overvalued by comparing the houses and their assessed values.
  • Re-think your renovations – Although it's always nice to do some upgrades to your property, make sure you consider the tax adjustment before you begin. Doing something significant like adding a swimming pool or a new bedroom will increase your property value, leading to higher taxes. These renovations will also increase your resale value, however, so they could be worth it financially.
  • Get involved with your assessment – While there's no guarantee that your assessor will allow you to participate in your revaluation, you can ask to tag along to point out any flaws in the home. After all, you know your house better than anyone else, and by letting the assessor know about things that require attention in the near future, there's a chance that you can bring your assessed value down.

 Each of these methods of reducing your 2020 property taxes in Washington County, Rhode Island, will take a bit of work, but when living in an area with some of the nation's highest property tax rates, it's well worth the effort. If you feel like you're paying too much, start by having a look at your home's assessed value and researching the available exemptions in your town to lower your tax payments. By taking an active role in your property tax assessment, you can save money.

Published March 11, 2020 in Local Information, Exploring South County