Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How often does a county wide reassessment occur?
Once every fifth year, each county in South Carolina must reassess the properties under its jurisdiction. Counties are on a staggered reassessment schedule. The Assessor must notify every person who is listed as the property owner as of December 31 of the prior year of any change in value or classification if the change is $1,000 dollars or more. In the fifth year, the County shall implement the reassessment program and assess all property on the newly appraised values.
Q. My property is mortgaged. Do I pay the taxes?
Your mortgage company usually pays your property taxes. Property owners whose mortgage company pays the property taxes may NOT receive a tax bill. If you receive a bill, it is your responsibility to forward it to your mortgage company for payment. The property owner is responsible to make sure that the mortgage company has paid the property taxes owed.
Q. How often does the Assessor inspect my property?
The assessor inspects property once every five years, according to the State mandated Assessor's revaluation plan as approved by the South Carolina State Department of Revenue. If property is inspected more often it could be the result of one or a combination of the following:
- New Construction (with or without a building permit) value added to property
- Renovation and modernization
- Board of Equalization or State Board of Tax Appeal
- Appraisal Review
- Sales Verification
- Segregation of Property
- Changing highest and best use (i.e. residential to commercial)
Q. Who is responsible for the taxes if a property is sold after December 31?
The tax bill will bear the name of the assessed owner as of December 31. If you receive a tax bill for the sold property, please forward it to the new owner since the new or current owner is responsible for all taxes once the sale is finalized.
Q. I've sold this property. What should I do with the tax bill?
The tax statement may either be forwarded on to the purchaser or returned to the Treasurer's Office. If you choose to return the statement please note the purchaser's name and address.
Q. What if I change my mailing address?
It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Assessor's Office of any change in mailing address. To protect the taxpayer from an erroneous address change, the address used by the Assessor's Office will not be changed without the property owner's written consent. Every year many people do not receive the notices the Treasurer sends because they have not kept us advised of their changed addresses. Don't let this happen to you!
Q: When are the taxes due on my motor vehicle?
A. Taxes on motor vehicles and recreational vehicles must be paid before your license plate tags can be renewed. These taxes are due by the last day of the month in which your tag expires.
Q: What is the Homestead Exemption program?
A: In 1972, the S.C. General Assembly passed the Homestead Exemption Law which provides real estate property tax relief for South Carolinians who are age 65 and over, totally and permanently disabled, or legally blind. The exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of your legal residence.
Q: How do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?
A: You may qualify for the Homestead Exemption if you ARE at least 65 years of age on or before December 31, preceding the tax year in which you wish to claim the exemption; OR ARE certified totally and permanently disabled by a state or federal agency; OR ARE legally blind; OR ARE a legal resident of South Carolina for at least one year on or before December 31 of the year prior to the exemption; AND HOLD fee simple title or partial title to your house, mobile home, or life estate on or before December 31 of the year prior to the exemption, and have been approved to receive the 4% legal residence tax assessment ratio, AND WERE a legal residence of South Carolina for one year
For Your Information
- In South Carolina, vehicle taxes are paid a year in advance.
- If you are renewing your vehicle license tag, you can pay your taxes and renewal fee to the Treasurer's Office and eliminate having to go to the Highway Department.
- The Treasurer's Office issues decals on renewals of vehicle license tags. You should receive the decal from the Treasurer's office when taxes are paid unless a discrepancy occurs when we transmit data to the DMV.
- If you receive a tax notice for a boat or motor that you no longer own, you must notify the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at Post Office Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.
- If you receive a tax notice for a vehicle you no longer own, you will need to contact the Auditor's Office.
- Sales Tax in Colleton County is 8% plus a 1% capital project sales tax.
- Sales Tax in Charleston County is 9%.