South Carolina Property Taxes
Overview of South Carolina Property Taxes
South Carolina property taxes are administered and collected by the local governments with assistance from the state's Department of Revenue. The state and its local governments collect $42.9 billion in total annual revenue, with $6 billion or 14.1% of the total revenue coming from property tax. The states where property taxes make a lower percentage of the total revenue collected indicate low property tax rates. On average, homes across South Carolina are worth $185,189. The average South Carolina property tax bill adds up to 0.56% of home value or $5.59 for every $1,000 in home value. Subsequently, South Carolina property tax rates are some of the lowest in the country.
South Carolina property taxes are based on your home's assessed value and the tax rates set by the local taxing authorities. The assessed value is a percentage of your home's market value, also known as the assessment ratio. Owner-occupied residences have a 4% assessment rate compared to the 6% rate for non-principal residences. If your home is worth $100,000, the assessed value would be $4,000. South Carolina property tax rates are applied to that amount.
Every county in South Carolina has local assessors who are tasked with appraising property in five-year cycles. The purpose of the appraisal is to determine your home's current full market value (FMV). This is the amount a typical buyer would pay for the property. However, the state caps increases in home value as determined by the appraisals at 15%. This means your full home value cannot increase by more than 15% from its previously determined FMV. Assuming your home was previously worth $100,000, the next reappraisal cannot value the home for more than $115,000. The state provides you with options to appeal property taxes if you feel your home has been wrongly valued.
The South Carolina property tax rates are set by local taxing jurisdictions by dividing their budgetary requirements for the year with the total assessed values of the properties within their jurisdiction. The rates are conveyed in mills, with a mill equal to $1 of tax in every $1,000 of assessed value. However, the rates can vary from county to county.
If you are planning to buy a home in South Carolina and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our South Carolina Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
South Carolina Property Tax Due Dates
South Carolina property tax bills are sent to homeowners through the address furnished to the County Assessor's Office. The property tax bill you receive for the current year is based on the property ownership status from December 31st of the previous year. But when are property taxes due in South Carolina? You are required to pay your property taxes for the current year by January 15th of the subsequent year. TaxProper's search tool can help you determine if you are overpaying your property taxes.
South Carolina property taxes paid after January 15th result in a 3% penalty. The penalty increases to 10% if the payment is made after February 1st and 15%, plus execution costs if paid after March 16th. After April 21st, a 2.5% penalty is added to your tax bill. Additionally, the unpaid taxes are handed over to the Delinquent Tax Collector for collection.
It is noteworthy that failure to receive a tax bill does not excuse you from abiding by the South Carolina property tax due dates, and it does not protect you from the penalties. However, South Carolina's state laws allow the County Treasure to waive the penalties if you provide clear and sufficient evidence supporting your cause of late payment. Delinquent taxes become a lien to your home, and the tax collector is permitted to sell it through a Tax Sale to satisfy the lien. The tax sale is a public auction in which the highest bidder is the winning buyer. After the tax sale, homeowners have 12 months to "redeem" the sale by paying off all the delinquent South Carolina property taxes plus additional costs.
South Carolina Property Tax Exemptions
Apart from the ability to appeal your home's assessment value, the state of South Carolina also offers tax exemptions to eligible homeowners. The most common are senior and homestead exemptions. The exemptions can reduce your South Carolina property tax bill, but they don't apply to the tax rates. Also, eligible homeowners are still subject to South Carolina property tax due dates.
South Carolina Homestead Exemption
The South Carolina Homestead Exemption exempts $50,000 of assessed value from South Carolina property taxes for eligible homeowners. To qualify, you must be using the home as your primary residence and be a legal South Carolina resident for the year preceding the tax year. A surviving spouse of someone eligible for the homestead exemption also qualifies for the exemption notwithstanding their age on the condition they remain unmarried.
South Carolina Senior Citizens Exemption
The senior exemption exempts $50,000 of home value from South Carolina property taxes. Qualifying homeowners must be at least 65 years of age and meet certain income limit requirements. For homeowners who jointly own a home, only one of them is required to be 65 years. Also, the property must be their principal residence.
Other South Carolina property tax exemptions include the disabled veterans' exemption. This exemption grants a disabled veteran or their surviving spouse a full property tax exemption. To qualify, the veteran's disability has to be 100% military-related. Veterans who are completely disabled are fully exempt from South Carolina property taxes. The exemption is transferable if the veteran buys a new home to be used as a principal residence. If the veteran is 50-60% disabled, they receive a $10,000 property tax exemption.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in South Carolina
Like in other states, you can appeal your property taxes in South Carolina if you believe your home has been wrongly valued. An assessment reduction appeal starts with the Assessor's Office within 90 days of receiving the Assessment Notice. The assessor can respond by correcting the error or declining the request. If you and the assessor fail to resolve the dispute, an appeal can be filed with the respective County Board of Assessment Appeals. Both the homeowner and the assessor can appeal the decision by the county board by requesting a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Court (ALC).
It is noteworthy that you will be appealing to your home's assessment, not the tax. Therefore, it is advisable to pay your South Carolina property taxes as you await the outcome of your appeal to avoid penalties.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across South Carolina, though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Greenville County
For a better demonstration of how to appeal property taxes in South Carolina, here is a breakdown of the process in Greenville County, the most populous county in South Carolina.
Obtain your assessment
If you are a homeowner in Greenville County, you can obtain your assessment from the Assessment Notice or consult the Greenville County local Tax Assessor.
Determine if you are over-assessed
A successful appeal must include evidence showing your home was overvalued. For that, you need to look at comparable sales for properties similar in profile to yours. Use TaxProper's search tool to search similar properties and determine their market value.
Complete forms needed to appeal
Residents of Greenville County can obtain the forms needed to appeal property taxes from the Greenville County website.
File property tax appeal
Greenville County homeowners can file their appeals directly with the Greenville County Board of Assessment Appeals. Because of the current COVID-19 situation, you are advised to use the online filing process.
Prepare for hearing
With the assessor presumed by law to be right, the burden of proof lies with the appellant. You are therefore expected to present compelling evidence disputing the assessor's valuation of your property and supporting your opinion of assessment. This can include comparable sales, images of damage to the property, and your home's undesirable features like poor access.
The Greenville County Board of Assessment Appeals requires you to attend the appeal hearing in person to present evidence and arguments and answer any questions the members of the County Board may have. If you fail to attend the hearing, your appeal can be dismissed.
Appeal the decision
Decisions by the County Board can be appealed to the Administrative Law Court (ALC) within 30 days of receiving the County Board's written decision. As a last resort, you can appeal decisions made by the ALC to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
Property Tax Information for South Carolina Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each South Carolina county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific South Carolina county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|