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Delinquent Tax

Contact Information, Office Hours
Functions, Department Responsibilities
FAQ's, Common Terms, History, Interesting Facts, FOIA Request Form
Delinquent Tax Sale, Unclaimed Tax Sale Overage


Collection of Overdue Real and Personal Property Taxes

The Delinquent Tax Department investigates and collects delinquent real and personal property taxes, penalties and levy costs; finds and notifies taxpayers of taxes owed; and maintains an accurate, up-to-date account of monies collected. Once a property tax bill is deemed delinquent (after March 15 of each year), the debt goes into execution and the County Treasurer sends the bill to the Delinquent Tax Department for collection. The Delinquent Tax Department also works closely with the Register Mesne Conveyance, Auditor and Department of Revenue Collections.

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This Department Does

dot Send out notices for past-due taxes on personal and real property.
dot  Seize property for non-payment, in accordance with S.C. Code of Laws, Title 12
dot  Plan, conduct and manage tax sales
dot  Perform post-sale work, such as title and mortgage research and deed creation

This Department Does Not

dot  Accept payments for tax bills (See Treasurer)
dot  Revise tax bills (See Auditor)
dot  Determine values on real property (See Assessor)
dot  Determine values on personal property (See Auditor)
dot  Provide information on taxes due in other counties

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I purchase properties seized for non-payment of taxes?
A: Attend the tax sales held periodically throughout the year. The dates of delinquent tax sales are advertised in local newspapers before each sale.
Q: Can I make payments on my delinquent taxes or redeem my property in installments?
A: No. However, if you owe several years' taxes, you may pay one year at a time. You must pay the oldest year first.
Q: What methods of payment are accepted for delinquent taxes?
A: Cash, personal checks, business checks, certified checks, money orders and credit cards are acceptable during most of the year. However, during specified periods, cash, certified checks or money orders are required. (Please call the Delinquent Tax Department for details.)
Q: If I pay someone else's delinquent tax bill, does the property become mine?
A: No. Anyone can pay a tax bill. However, payment of someone else's tax bill does not give one claim to the property.
Q: If my property is sold at a delinquent tax sale, can I get it back?
A: When real property or mobile homes are sold at a delinquent tax sale, the defaulting taxpayer has one year from the date of the sale to redeem the property. In order to redeem property before it is conveyed to a new owner, the defaulting taxpayer must pay the redemption amount. This consists of the taxes, interest on the bid amount (the amount for which the property was sold at the tax sale) plus penalties and levy costs.
Q: If my property is sold at a delinquent tax sale, what happens to any leftover money after the taxes, penalties, levy costs and interest are paid?
A: The Delinquent Tax Department creates an overage when the bid amount exceeds the delinquent taxes, penalties, levy costs and current year's taxes. If the property is conveyed to the bidder, the defaulting taxpayer is entitled to the overage. If the delinquent taxpayer redeems the property, the bid amount plus interest is returned to the bidder.

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Common Terms

Delinquent-- Failure to do what is required by law or obligation; overdue in payment.

Execution-- A notice of delinquent taxes due.

Levy Cost-- A charge imposed when property is seized for non-payment of taxes. The charge offsets the cost incurred by the County in collecting the taxes.

Personal Property-- Movable items of property that are not permanently affixed to or part of real property. Examples are boats, business furniture, fixtures and airplanes.

Quitclaim Deed-- A deed of conveyance provided without any assurance or warranty of validity. A quitclaim deed is evidence of good title but not clear title.

Redemption-- Payment of taxes, levies, penalties and interest by the delinquent taxpayer after real property has been sold at a delinquent tax sale. This process allows the delinquent taxpayer to retain possession of the property.

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Originally, the Delinquent Tax Department was under the jurisdiction of the Charleston County Sheriff. In November 1991, the Department was brought under the control of the County Administrator. In 2001, the Delinquent Tax Department began reporting to the Chief Financial Officer.

Interesting Facts

dot  In 1992, delinquent real and personal property taxes totaled $52 million. Through this Department's efforts, that figure has been dramatically reduced and realized as revenue.
dot  Each year the Treasurer sends the Delinquent Tax Department 30,000-35,000 tax bills, representing approximately $25 million in uncollected taxes.
dot  Taxes are not considered paid until the check clears the bank.
dot  Each year, this department sells approximately 1,000 properties and generates approximately 150 quitclaim deeds to new owners.
dot  If personal property is sold at a tax sale, there is no redemption period. A bill of sale is issued at the tax sale, entitling the new owner to all rights of possession.

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Contact Information

Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building
4045 Bridge View Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 202-6570
(843) 202-6066 (Fax)

Service Centers :
          East Cooper Service Center
          1189 Sweetgrass Basket Pkwy - Suite 400
          Mount Pleasant, SC 29466
          (843) 856-1203
          (843) 856-1204 (Fax)

North Area Service Center
Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building
4045 Bridge View Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 202-6692
(843) 202-6698 (Fax)

St. Paul's Service Center
5962 Highway 165, Suite 300
Ravenel, SC 29470
(843) 889-3762
(843) 889-8077 (Fax)

Office Hours

8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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