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|State Tax Summary|
Property owners may appeal the valuation assessed by their county if the assessment is not comparable to similar properties or not comparable to fair market value. There are five levels of appeal available in South Carolina. Personal exemptions are for homeowners, seniors, those with disabilities and veterans. Exemptions include household property, government property, religious property, charitable property, education property, public libraries, inventories of manufacturers, fuel held by public utilities, pollution abatement equipment and facilities, recycling equipment, commercial inventories, non-profit hospitals and non-profit cemeteries. The Philadelphia Area Service Center (ASC) provides tax service for South Carolina.
- South Carolina Department of Revenue and Taxation
- 301 Gervais Street
- PO Box 125
- Columbia, South Carolina 29214
- Voice (803) 737-4463
- FAX (803) 733-4685
Property tax calendar
- Assessment date December 1
- Valuation Notice Date Valuations are mailed October 1. Each county tries to reassess every three to four years, but this varies by county.
- Appeal Deadline 20 days from date of mailing of notice
- Bill Payment Date Taxes are due on January 15. If this date falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the date is moved to the next business day.
Property tax rates and dates
- Annual assessment of real property Yes
- Classification of property All assessed at 4% of fair market value for residential and a statutory assessment ratio of 10.5% for industrial.
- Collections Taxes are collected one year in arrears
- Fiscal year July 1 through June 30. The collection cycle begins in late October and ends January 15, when taxes are due in the following calendar year.
- Level of government responsible for assessment County, State
- Reassessment cycle Every 3 or 4 years, varies by county
- Tax Calculation Rate
(Assessed Value – Applicable Exemption) x Mill Rate = Taxes due Mill rates are determined by local governments every year and vary throughout the state. Real property assessment ratio is 4% for legal residence, 6% for second home, 4% for agriculture individually owned, 6% for agriculture corporate owned and 6% for commercial.
All legal and primary residents are classified a lower 4% assessment instead of 6% to owner occupied homes in South Carolina. Exemption claims must be filed to receive exemption from specially treated property except for the exemption from school operating costs.
- Homeowner exemption
Each homeowner is allowed an exemption of up to $100,000 of the fair market value of a principal residence from property taxes for school operating costs. The millage rate for school operating costs in the school district of the principal resident varies and the amount of savings will vary. This exemption does not apply to second homes, vacation homes or rental homes, but the exemption does apply to a principal residence. The exemption is automatic and will be reflected in the property tax bill. An application is not needed for this exemption.
- Senior exemption
Any homeowner that is 65 years of age or older and has lived in South Carolina for at least one year, may qualify for the homestead exemption. The homestead exemption excludes the first $20,000 from the fair market value of the homeowner’s principal residence. Forms to apply for the homestead exemption are at the county auditor’s office and submit the form to the county auditor’s office.
- Disability and blind person exemption
Any homeowner that is totally disabled or legally blind and has lived in South Carolina for at least one year, may qualify for the homestead exemption. The homestead exemption excludes the first $20,000 from the fair market value of the homeowner’s principal residence. Forms to apply for the homestead exemption are at the county auditor’s office and submit the form to the county auditor’s office.
- Veteran, paraplegic and hemiplegic exemption
A house and up to one acre of land on which the house is located is exempt from property tax for veterans who are totally disabled from a service-related disability or the surviving spouse, for the surviving spouse of a military person killed in the line of duty, and for paraplegics, hemiplegics or their surviving spouses. An application may be approved for an honorably discharged disabled veteran in a principal residence that requires adapted housing because of disability. Application should be made through the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Call (803) 898-5480 for information.
- POW, Disabled veteran, Medal of Honor recipient, and people required to use wheelchairs exemption
One or two motor vehicles are exempt from property tax for prisoners of war, disabled veterans, Medal of Honor recipients and people required to use wheelchairs. Application can be made through the South Carolina Department of Revenue or call (803) 898-5480.
- Discounts and installment payments
Counties may allow a discount if property taxes are paid before January 15 of the following year. Counties may allow property taxes to be paid in installments so long as all payments are made by the January 15 deadline. Both of these provisions must be approved by the county council before they may be implemented. The county treasurer office determines if a local county will allow a discount or installment payment.
- Local option sales tax
LOST is the local option sales tax in counties when voters approved seventy-one per cent of the revenue collected from an additional 1% tax must be used for property tax relief. LOST will appear on the property tax bill if the local county voters have approved the local option sales tax.
- Agriculture Personal property tax deferment
Property used for agriculture or forestry usage may be eligible for tax deferment program. South Carolina mandates a lower use value assessment, rather than fair market value, to preserve farmland and the farming industry. Property must be owned for four years preceding January 1 of the tax year. At least one tract must be actively farmed, but there may be multiple tracts of land on the farm. Three categories of farm use are eligible. Agriculture land of at least ten acres and earning at least $1000 for the preceding three years. Horticulture land must have one tract of at least five acres and have earned at least $1000 in the tree preceding year. The tax deferred is the difference between the land use value and the fair market value. Timberland tracts must be at least five acres to qualify for an agricultural use deferment. Forest land must be used for commercial growth of trees, but there are no income requirements.
- Conservation property
A taxpayer must file a declaration with the local county assessor to claim an exemption for a seawall, jetty, groin or dike for the control or prevention of flooding or erosion caused by waters in the Great Lakes or connecting tributaries.
- Enterprise zones
New and existing businesses may qualify for a city granted property tax exemption if they locate in economically distressed areas approved as an Enterprise Zone before 1994 and is exempt through the year 2004; or may qualify for exemption for 6 to 15 years. Qualified businesses may be subject to a specific tax. A local district may exempt all new personal property for an eligible business in a distressed area.
- Fee in lieu of Property Taxes
Some commercial property owners may qualify to negotiate a property tax savings of up to 40% if investment requirements are made over a five year period. The criteria includes creating 200 full time jobs with a minimum of $60 million investment; create 300 full time jobs, with a minimum of $40 million investment; or create 400 full time jobs with a minimum investment of $20 million.
- Historic property deferment
Local governments may grant deferment to certain historic properties that are in designated historic landmarks by local ordinance and adopted by the Historical Property Commission. The deferred tax does not become due unless there is a change in the historic designation of the property. The deferment is for 50% of the true appraised value.
Tax Collector and Officials
South Carolina counties assess and collect taxes. Tax assessors are appointed to a two or four year term, depending on the county. A college degree an, special education and certification are required. The county treasurer is the ex-officio collector in all counties. County Assessors maintain and set property valuations. The County Auditor certifies property valuations. The County Treasurer collects current and delinquent property tax.
Specific deduction claim forms and tax deferment forms are available from South Carolina Department of Revenue and Taxation 301 Gervais Street PO Box 125* Columbia, South Carolina 29214 Voice (803) 737-4463 FAX (803) 733-4685
Forms due dates
Applications for deductions against real property must be filed with an affidavit to the local tax collector in South Carolina by May 1 and must be filled again if the property changes owners. All deductions for real property require that the ownership must be recorded as of December 31 of the assessment year for taxes payable the following year.
State assessor's manual
There is no state assessor’s manual for South Carolina.
How property tax determined
Residential property is assessed at 4% of market value and the assessor determines the fair market value. The assessor may use one of three methods.
- Cost Approach
At current labor and material prices, estimate how much it would take to replace the property with one similar to it. Use this method when there are no sales of comparable properties.
- Income Approach
For an apartment or office building, estimate how much income the property can produce.
- Market Approach
Use other comparable properties that have sold recently, determine the most probable sales price of the subject property.
South Carolina has a property tax appeal information on their website at http://www.sctax.org/publications/propguid99.html The property tax payer should not wait for the property tax bill to arrive because it is too late to appeal. After the appeal is resolved, the property tax payer may incur an additional tax or receive a refund for the property tax paid.
Try to resolve the problem in a written objection with the tax assessor in the local county, after receiving an assessment notice and within 30 days after dated notice of assessment.
Next, within 20 days of receipt of written objection from the property owner, the assessor will schedule a conference. The property owner may request an on-site field review. The assessor may ask for all written date and evidence be provided within 30 days.
The assessor will notify the property owner after the on-site field review is complete. If the tax payer does not agree with the findings, he may appeal in writing to the County Board of Assessment Appeals.
If not satisfied, request a hearing before the South Carolina Tax Commission.
All administrative appeals must be exhausted before appeals are made to a judicial review. All current property taxes must be paid before the counts will hear the case. As a last appeal, a taxpayer may hire an attorney and appeal to the Circuit Court and then the Supreme Court.
Additional tax classifications
- Agricultural property tax
Agriculture is Class III for private agriculture use and assessed at 4% of fair market value. Agriculture is Class IV for corporate agriculture use and assessed at 6% of fair market value.
- Commercial property tax
Manufactures real and personal property is Class VII assessed at 10.5% of fair market value. Commercial and Industrial is Class IX and assessed at 6% of fair market value.
- Mobile home property tax
Mobile homes do not have a separate classification.
- Personal property tax
Personal property is Class VIII and taxed at 10.5% of assessed value. This class includes automobiles, boats, and campers.
- Utilities tax
Utilities are Class VII and taxed at 10.5% of fair market value.
Additional tax bills and charges
- Construction Work in Progress
An occupancy tax is imposed in South Carolina in lieu of property tax, on all new construction during the construction year . The tax amount is the same as if the structures were on the assessment rolls on January 1, but prorated for portion of the year based on occupancy
- Corrected bill
When an error is found on the original tax statement or when property owners go before the Board of Review, resulting in tax increases or decreases, a correct bill is issued when the corrections are made. Corrected bills are also issued when levy rates are wrong, the house is on the wrong tax lot and for homeowner exemption.
- Delinquent taxes
Delinquent balances are applied to subsequent bills. A taxpayer may apply to have late charges, interest and property taxes canceled due to undue hardship or property damaged by a casualty loss event . No notices are sent for delinquent taxes in South Carolina.
- Duplicate Bill Charge
Charges for duplicate bills vary by county.
- Penalty and Interest charges
On January 16, property taxes become delinquent and penalties are as follows: January 16 through February 1 is 3% penalty, February 2 through March 16 is an additional 7% penalty and March 17 and after is an additional 5% penalty. Advertising, notification fees and additional interest may be charged after the due date.
- Tax sale and deed transfer
Usually a tax sale is about one year after the first notice of delinquent real property taxes. The South Carolina Statute sections 12-51-10 through 170 govern the procedures for a tax sale but municipalities may contract with the county tax authority to collect delinquent taxes. On march 17, all delinquent property tax accounts are given to the county delinquent tax department. If taxes are not paid within 30 days, then the seizure for delinquent taxes process begins.
Current Legislation and Pending Issues
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