General Information

Short-term rental permit requirement

Vacation rentals are considered a business in Washington and state law requires every business to file their business personal property each year to the county assessor for assessment purposes. To this end, filing a personal property listing for your vacation rental is a requirement for your Vacation Rental Certificate of Compliance .

If your permit status is "active", please complete the personal property listing. This listing will be used to set-up an account for your business. The personal property listing may be submitted by e-mail to, regular mail to PO Box 1519, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 or dropped in a secure dropbox labeled “Assessor” located next to the Sheriff’s Office. Please put all listings deposited in the dropbox in an envelope, stapled or use a paper clip.

If your permit status is "inactive" and you are not engaged in the business of short-term rental, please send an e-mail to stating:

  • Location of the vacation rental (parcel or street address).
  • Permit Number.
  • Statement saying that the vacation rental permit is “inactive”.
  • Statement saying you were not engaged in the business of short-term rental for 2023.

Reference Material

If you own or operate a business in San Juan County, the assessed value of the equipment you use to run your business is taxed. This tax is called a personal property tax and it applies to businesses in every county in Washington State and most states across the nation. State law requires every business to report their personal property each year to the Assessor for assessment purposes. Our goal is to assess equipment your business owns at a fair value. 

Below is a brief description of the Personal Property Appraisal Process:

2024 Personal Property Timeline

The primary characteristic of Personal Property is its mobility. It includes most machinery, equipment, furniture, and fixtures associated with commercial, industrial, short-term rental, or agricultural enterprises. Business inventories are exempt from property tax. However, supplies consumed in the operation of a business are taxable. The Assessor uses the Listing provided by the business owner to value property for taxes due the following year. Personal Property tax rates are the same as for real property. An example of real property is your home.