Washington state law classifies property under two specific categories, real and personal property. The Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer's Office has the responsibility for appraising and taxing all property, unless otherwise exempted by law. Revised Code of Washington RCW Title 84.
Real property includes land, all buildings, manufactured homes, structures or permanent improvements built upon or attached to privately owned land, including machinery and equipment which may become a fixture. (RCW 84.04.090)
For the purposes of taxation, personal property falls into two categories, including tangible and intangible. Tangible items which have physical existence and intangible items which consist of rights and privileges having a legal but not a physical existence.
The chief characteristic of personal property is its mobility. Personal property includes, but is not limited, to furniture and fixtures machinery and equipment, supplies and materials not held for sale or do not become an ingredient or component of an article being produced for sale.
Many types of personal property are excluded from taxation. These include livestock, inventories held solely for resale, intangible property and personal effects and household goods in actual use by their owner. (RCW 84.04.080)
Real and personal property owned by public utilities such as railroad companies, telephone companies and gas or electric companies are classified as operating property. The Washington State Department of Revenue values the operating properties and provides that information to the Assessor-Treasurer's Office to be included on the county's assessment and tax rolls. (RCW 84.12.270)