FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. How do I get the best tax rate for my home?

If you own a residence, you want to be sure to obtain the 4% assessment ratio if you live in the residence as your primary place of residency. All properties that are not owner-occupied will be assessed at a 6% assessment ratio. To obtain the 4% assessment rate, you or your agent will need to complete a legal residence application and file with the county assessor. This should be done as soon as your deed or bond-for-title is recorded and you move into your home, but may be filed anytime before the first penalty date, when taxes are due (January 15). If a person signs the legal residence certification, obtains the 4% assessment rate, and is thereafter found not eligible, or loses eligibility and fails to notify the assessor within six months, a penalty is imposed equal to one hundred percent of the tax paid, plus interest on that amount at the rate of one-half of one percent a month, but in no case less than $30 nor more than the current year's taxes.

Q. How do I apply for Homestead Exemption?

You would apply with the Auditor's Office if you are 65 years of age or older, blind or are permanently disabled.

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. Property valuation must be complete at the end of the fourth year. 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. I've sold this property. What should I do with the tax bill?

The person who owned the property on December 31st of the prior year is liable for the tax, even if he/she sold the property the following year. However, the tax lien follows the property. 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. 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 31st. 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. What if I don't receive a tax statement?

Failure to receive a tax statement does not affect the validity of the tax, penalty, interest, due date, the existence of a tax lien, or any procedure instituted to collect a tax.

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

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. For your convenience, you may download a Mailing Address Change Form from this site, complete and mail. Every year, hundreds of people don't 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. What hours are the Assessor's office open?

The Assessor's Office is open for service from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; however, there are exceptions, so it is wise to check with the Assessor's office directly. (864) 898-5872

Q. What Holidays are you closed?

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Presidents' Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • County offices providing emergency and/or public safety functions remain open on holidays.

Q. I agree with the appraised value, but I'm afraid my taxes will go up accordingly. Should I appeal my value because I feel my taxes will increase?

NO! Mill levies are set each year by taxing authorities. The mill levy determines amounts of each tax bill that goes to schools, fire districts, water and sanitation districts, governmental agencies, and other special districts.

Q. I am not sure my vacant lot is buildable since a septic tank is required. What is the basis for receiving a lower assessment from the Assessor?

The property owner must present sufficient and credible evidence to establish that the lot is not buildable. The Assessor will accept an official finding from DHEC (Dept. of Health and Environmental Control) since this is the State agency authorized to and charged with the responsibility to promulgate regulations relating to septic tank systems.

Q. What happens if I buy a mobile home on which the taxes are not paid?

Property taxes are a lien on the property. If the above happens, you would in effect be purchasing a tax lien along with the manufactured home. To ensure this does not happen to you, you should contact the Delinquent Tax Office (864-898-5890) to verify if the taxes are current and make sure that you are not inheriting unpaid delinquent taxes before you purchase the manufactured home.

Q. Does the 15% cap limit property taxes?

No, it is a cap on the assessment of a parcel, not on the taxes paid. A property's assessment could stay the same or go down but property taxes could go up any given year because of millage increases levied by the local taxing authorities.

Q. What happens to the cap when I sell my home and buy a new house?

When a property sells, the cap is removed and the value is increased to market value as of December 31st of the year the conveyance occurred. Similarly, if the home you purchased was subject to the cap, the cap is removed and the value is increased to market value as of the tax control date-December 31 of the year the conveyance occurred. There are specific transfers of property ownership which prohibit the removal of the 15% cap.

Q. Is the 15% cap applied to all real property?

No. The 15% cap is removed the year after an "assessable transfer of interest” occurs.

Q. What happens with new additions and renovations?

The new addition's value is added to the prior year (capped) value and this is the property's new base value unless the assessor's estimate of market value is less than the total capped value.

Q. What if I have other tax questions about my tax notice or other tax matters, who should I call?

Personal Property
(Vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, homestead exemption, etc.)
Pickens County Auditor's Office
(864) 898-5895

Real Property
(Land, buildings, legal residence, agriculture, etc.)
Pickens County Assessor's Office
(864) 898-5872

Tax Payments
(Billing addresses, tax payments, etc.)
Pickens County Treasurer's Office
(864) 898-5722