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Charleston County Delinquent Tax Sale
Frequently Asked Questions

When are taxes considered delinquent?
Taxes are delinquent if not paid on or before March 16 of the year following the taxable year . This date can vary somewhat due to due dates falling on weekends (i.e. 2012 taxes were due on or before March 19, 2013).

What if I moved?
Please contact the Charleston County Auditor’s Office in writing to ensure that all tax notifications are sent to the correct mailing address. Include all property that you may own. Contact our office to make sure no taxes are currently due on your property.

How many years must be delinquent before a property goes to tax sale?
Taxes may be delinquent for one year to be eligible to go to tax sale although properties can sometimes have multiple years owed due to various reasons.

What type of property do you sell in your annual tax sale?
We sell real property and mobile homes.

What type of property is sold at your personal property delinquent tax sales?
We sell boats, business equipment, rental residential furnishings and other types of personal property. We do not currently sell vehicles.

When is your sale?
The Charleston County Delinquent Tax Sale for real property and mobile homes is held annually in either November or December. This year’s tax sale will be held starting Monday, December 9, 2013 and succeeding days as needed. Personal property sales are conducted periodically throughout the year.

Where can I get a listing of properties available for sale?
An online listing is available beginning Friday, November 1, 2013 of real and mobile home properties to be sold and will be updated weekly. The tax sale ad will also appear in the Charleston Post & Courier on three succeeding Wednesdays of November 20th, 27th, and December 4, 2013. The tax sale ad will also appear in The Charleston Chronicle on Wednesday, November 27th. Mobile homes will be advertised in the last two listed ad dates prior to the tax sale. If you sign up as a bidder for the tax sale, a tax sale listing will be handed to you the day of sale to use during the tax sale. Personal property tax sales are advertised periodically throughout the year in a newspaper of general circulation for two times prior to the personal property tax sale and also published online on our web site.

How can you sell property for taxes?
Pursuant to S.C. Code Section (12-49-20), if taxes are not paid on or before the last day of the calendar Year (December 31st), then a first lien attaches to the property. The Delinquent Tax Collector must take possession of the delinquent property, and then may sell such property in order to satisfy the outstanding delinquent liability after a series of notices as described in S.C. Title 12 of the S.C. Code of Laws starting in Section (12-51-40) in the “Alternate Procedure for Collection of Property Taxes”.

How will I know if my property is going to be auctioned at the tax sale?
There is an initial notice, called an Execution Notice, that is mailed April 1st or soon thereafter to notify the delinquent tax payer of their delinquent taxes due. No less than thirty (30) days after the initial notice is mailed, a secondary certified notice (mail levy) is mailed to the defaulting taxpayer. If the delinquent tax bill is still not paid and the county does not have a good signature on the mail levy return green card then a sign (hand levy poster) is placed on the property that serves as the levy on the property. The properties and the owners of record will be advertised in a local newspaper of general circulation before the property is subsequently sold at tax sale.  

Is South Carolina a Tax Deed or Tax Lien State?
South Carolina is a Tax Deed State.

How do I become a bidder in the Tax Sale?
You must register as a bidder and pay your $10 registration fee in order to participate in the tax sale (See the online bidder registration form to sign up).The sale is conducted in an open auction format. The highest responsive bidder wins the bid, and all bids must be paid in cash or certified funds before the close of the tax sale.

Do I have to sign up or pay a fee to just watch the tax sale proceedings?
No, you do not have to sign up or pay a fee to observe the tax sale, but we just ask for your cooperation to please come after 12 Noon on the first day as there is standing room only already at the start of the tax sale and bidders will always take precedence if we have to start making folks leave the room to avoid overcrowding where we are holding the tax sale.

Where is the Tax Sale?
For accommodation purposes, our real and mobile home tax sale is conducted in the Charleston County Council Chambers located on the second floor (Suite B249) of the Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building located off Leeds Ave at 4045 Bridge View Dr, North Charleston, SC 29405. Personal Property Tax Sales will be advertised as to where they will be held during the year.

What do I do if my property goes to tax sale?
You must redeem the property within one year of the sale date by paying the delinquent taxes, penalties, costs, assessments, and interest due the bidder up to 12% along with your current years taxes (TY2013) with certified funds if they are delinquent at the time of redemption. Call the Delinquent Tax Office at (843) 202-6570 to find out your redemption amount due. There is no redemption period for personal property tax sales (Boats/ Motors/Aircraft/Business Equipment/Furniture). The day of the personal property tax sale the bidder receives their receipt (bill of sale) and they own the property that same day.

What happens if I win the bid on a property?
Once a real or mobile home property has been sold, the defaulting taxpayer(s), any grantee of the owner, or any mortgage or judgment creditor has one calendar year from the date of sale to redeem the property. If the property is redeemed, then you will receive your bid money back with interest paid by the person or entity that redeems the property. With personal property, there is no redemption period. You will be issued a bill of sale to the property and you will need to go through the proper government agency to change the property ownership in your name.

What does it mean to redeem property?
The defaulting taxpayer(s), grantee of the owner, or any mortgage or judgment creditor must pay all outstanding taxes in addition to levies, costs, assessments, and rent (for mobile home sales only) and interest to the bidder up to 12% within the year redemption time deadline. A bidder, cannot later redeem property that they won the bid on in the tax sale, on behalf of the defaulting taxpayer, in order to relieve themselves of receiving the delinquent tax payer’s property by tax deed and to instead receive the majority of their bid money back through that disallowed redemption of the property.

How much interest can I earn as a bidder in the annual tax sale for real and mobile home property?
The interest due the bidder may not exceed the opening bid amount submitted on behalf of the Forfeited Land Commission (FLC), which is the amount of the outstanding tax liability due on the Property plus the current years taxes (TY2013). The bidder interest increases by 3% each quarter of the redemption year for a maximum of 12% possible interest earned. Interest is earned up to the opening bid amount (back taxes, costs and fees + TY 2013 amount) where it will cap.

What happens if the property is not redeemed within the twelve (12) month redemption period?
If the property is not redeemed, then the property is tax titled to the highest bidder or their assignee through a tax deed. You have no rights to the property until the tax deed is filed at the Charleston County Register of Mesne Conveyance (RMC) conveying the property to you as the new owner.

When can you void a tax sale?
If there is a failure to perform any action necessary to pass title, the Tax Collector may void a Tax Sale at any time before the filing of the Tax Deed with the (RMC).

What happens if a tax sale is voided on a real or mobile home property on which I won the bid?
You will receive your bid money back plus actual interest earned by the County while we held your bidder money in our account. You will not receive the interest due the bidder as described above of up to 12%. Also, on a voided mobile home sale, you will not receive any rent money.

What happens to the rest of the bid money (over the amount of taxes, costs, assessments and fees due) if the property is not redeemed?
Any excess funds (tax sale overage) over and above the amount of taxes, assessments, costs and fees due will be available for the owner of record at the time of the end of redemption. These overages are paid out by filing an overage claim form. These overages are not payable until 90 days after the tax deed has been filed with the (RMC).

Haven’t found the answer to your question?
Contact the Delinquent Tax office at (843) 202-6570 or   


DISCLAIMER: It is highly recommended that you contact an attorney for any legal advice concerning purchasing property at Delinquent Tax Sales. Bidders bid at their own risk as we do not guarantee the quantity or the quality of the property sold we therefore do not refund bid money to bidders unless there is a substantial County error dealing with the property or a substantial change in value to the property during the redemption phase of the property which could cause a voided tax sale where the County would refund the bid amount plus actual interest earned by the County while holding your bid money in our account.

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