Real Estate Excise Tax for Conservation

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The State of Washington has authorized any county (and not cities) may impose an additional real estate excise tax of up to 1.0% for conservation areas (RCW 82.46.070). This REET option requires voter approval with a simple majority and must be periodically reauthorized by voters. The revenues must be used exclusively for the acquisition and maintenance of “conservation areas.”


  • The county must prepare a plan for the expenditure of the proceeds, and the proceeds must be spent in conformance with this plan. Prior to the adoption of the plan, the county must consult with the elected officials of cities located within the county and hold a public hearing to obtain public input.
  • As of 2019, only San Juan County has successfully imposed this conservation area REET.
  • MRSC provides an overview of REET authority,