Frequently Asked Questions
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. 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 millaoe rate (Millage Rates Table Page), The Assessor's office does not determine
the amount of taxes you pay, The taxes can increase or decrease depending on the
millage rate set by the school board, commissioners and other taxing authorities,The
assessed value provides the base for the equation.
Three major phases of the real property taxation process:
- Property appraisal and assessment (County Assessor);
- Budget and tax levy (school board, commissioners and other taxing authorities);
- Tax billing and collection (Tax Collector).
The County Assessor is involved inthe first phase as described
The Budget divided by Taxable portion of assessed value = Tax Rate (The budget is
determined by the school board, commissioners, and other taxing authorities) (County
Assessor determines assessed value)
Tax Rate mu/tiplied 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.
Q. How often does the Assessor inspect my property?
A. 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:
Q. Who is responsible for the taxes if a property is sold after
- 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
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. I've sold this property. What should I do with the 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. 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.
Q. What happens if I buy a mobile home on which the taxes are
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 (843-398-4170)
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. How do I change my mobile home to permanent dwelling?
- Complete the request form for changing a mobile home to permanent dwelling.
(Room 309, Assessment Department)
- Have S.C. D.O.T. to de-title your mobile home.