- Why do we pay property tax? Property tax is collected by local governments to provide for the many services most of us take for granted. Schools, police and fire protection and public libraries are possible because of revenue from the property tax. We are all asked to pay our fair share of the cost of these services by paying tax in proportion to the value of our property.
- How is property taxed? South Carolina's Constitution requires that property be taxed in accordance with the properties value. From the time your property is added to the tax rolls, the tax assessment does not change unless physical changes have been made or a reassessment program is implemented or an assessable transfer of interest occurs.
In determining the County's annual budget, County Council sets the tax levy each year. The rate is reflected in "mills" or "millage rate", and one mill is one thousandth of one dollar (.001). The County Assessor appraises real property, the Auditor maintains the property tax rolls and calculates individual property taxes, and the County Treasurer collects the property taxes.
All property is appraised at its fair market value and is multiplied by the appropriate assessment ratio for the type of property. All real property is assessed at a four percent (owner occupied primary residence) four or six percent (farm) or a six percent (all other) rate. Therefore, property taxes are determined by multiplying the fair market value, times the assessment ratio, times the millage rate.
For example, the tax on your legal, full-time residence is determined this way:
***Although a taxpayer receives just one property tax bill, there are other agencies that utilize that one tax bill to collect their own taxes. These agencies are itemized out on your bill, which include the School District, municipalities, special tax districts, etc. Any increase by any of these agencies will result in an increase to the overall tax bill.
- How do I get the best tax rate on my home? If you own a home, you want to be sure to obtain the 4% assessment rate if you live in the home and claim it as your legal residence. Otherwise, your tax rate will be 6%. To obtain the lower rate, you will need to complete an application with the county assessor. This should be done as soon as you move into your home. Once you have filed the application, you will not need to complete another one, unless there is a deed name change, or use of the property changes.
- What is Reassessment? South Carolina State Law requires that each County within the State conduct a countywide reassessment every five years. A one year extension is allowed by County ordinance. During a Countywide reassessment all real property within the County is reappraised at its current market value as of its reassessment date. New Legislation requires that in the year in which a reassessment is implemented each parcel of real property, be adjusted for improvements and losses, and does not increase more than fifteen percent every five years unless an assessable transfer of interest occurs. Only real property values are affected by reassessment. Values of personal property such as cars, boats and motorcycles are kept current through annual updates by the Department of Revenue.