General Tax Information

General Tax Information

Under the South Carolina Constitution, there must be a uniform statewide system of ad valorem property taxation.

  • The SC General Assembly has enacted a number of laws to accomplish this through the SC Department of Revenue and the County tax offices
  • (Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer).
  • Specific assessment classifications, tax exemptions, credits, etc. have been enacted by the General Assembly reflecting the state's policy goals.
  • Examples of the credit exemptions are:
  • SC - Homestead Exemption Program
  • SC - Tax Relief Exemption Program
  • SC - Other exempt property
  • State law has created a system of checks and balances in the tax offices of County government to protect both the taxpayer and the County. These checks and balances prevent taxing offices from becoming too powerful and abusive of their authority.

Offices Involved - Property Taxes

County council, town councils, school boards, and other special purpose districts determine how much money must be collected to fund the budget and the rate of tax (millage) necessary to meet the budget.

  • The county auditor is responsible for preparing the tax roll for all real and personal property taxable by the county.
  • The county assessor is responsible for maintaining tax records on all real property and for appraising property not valued by the Department of Revenue or the county auditor.
  • The county treasurer/tax collector collects taxes on all real and personal property.

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Auditor’s Office Functions

This office does

  • Calculate and create tax notices for all real and personal property
  • Process claims for tax refunds on real and personal property
  • Process motor vehicle appeals (i.e. excessive miles, conditional depreciation)
  • Accept business personal property tax returns
  • Assess business personal property, motor vehicles, aircraft, boats and motors
  • Calculate and issue agricultural property rollback tax notices
  • Qualify residents for the Homestead Exemption Program
  • Levy penalties as required by law
  • Compile tax data to assist councils for levying purposes and bond issues

This office does not

  • Set millage rate (County Council, Town Councils, School Boards, and Special Purpose Districts)
  • Determine how taxes are used (County Council, Town Councils, School Boards, and Special Purpose Districts)
  • Collect current tax payments (Treasurer)
  • Collect delinquent tax payments (Treasurer – Delinquent Tax Collector)
  • Assess the value of real estate (Assessor)
  • Approve the 4 percent assessment ratio for owner-occupied residential real estate property (Assessor)
  • Issue mobile home decals (Assessor - Mobile Home Division)
  • Accept vehicle license plates (DMV)
  • Remove penalty, unless it is determined by a committee a county error occurred