Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get the best tax rate for my home?
How often does a county wide reassessment occur?
My property is mortgaged. Do I pay the taxes?
Who is responsible for the taxes if a property is sold after December 31st?
What should I do if I recently sold my property, but I received a tax bill?
What if I change my mailing address?
What happens if I buy a mobile home on which the taxes are not paid?
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.
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?
I did my own construction work to save money, but the appraised value (assessment) increased more than my actual cost. Should my assessment reflect the actual cost?
Q. How do I get the best tax rate for my home?
A. 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 often does a county wide reassessment occur?
A. 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. My property is mortgaged. Do I pay the taxes?
A. 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. Who determines the amount of taxes I pay?
A. While the County Assessor determines the value of the property for tax purposes, the local taxing authorities (County, City, School District, Water and Sanitation Districts, etc.) decide how much money is required to provide services and establish the millage rate. Three major phases of the real property taxation process:
- Property appraisal and assessment (County Assessor)
- Budget and tax levy (School Board, Commisssioners, and other taxing authorities)
- Tax billing and collection (Tax Collector)
The County Assessor is involved in the first phase as described below:
The Budget divided by taxable portion of assessed value = Tax Rate.
The budget is determined by the School Board, Commissioners, and other taxing authorities. The County Assessor determines assessed value.
Tax Rate multiplied by the taxable portion of assessed value = Tax Bill
The County Assessor is not the Tax Collector and the County Assessor has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. However, as a property owner, you are not only interested in what value the County Assessor places on your property, but in the way the amount of taxes you pay is determined.
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Q. Who is responsible for the taxes if a property is sold after December 31st?
A. 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. What should I do if I recently sold my property, but I received a tax bill?
A. 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?
A. 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 happens if I buy a mobile home on which the taxes are not paid?
A. 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 (843-726-7801) 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. 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?
A. 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?
A. 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. I did my own construction work to save money, but the appraised value (assessment) increased more than my actual cost. Should my assessment reflect the actual cost?
A. Your construction cost may or may not reflect the current market value of your property. It is only one element that is considered. Assessments are based on fair market value, whether you did the work yourself or hired a contractor. Most residential improvements are based on what is known as contributory value. This contributory value is not based on cost, but rather the added value it "contributes" to the overall worth of the property. Cost estimates from three builders may range from $75-$85 per square foot. IF you decided to build or subcontract the construction project yourself, your construction cost may be between $65 to $70 per square foot. The Assessor must provide an opinion of market value.
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