The Assessor's Office locates, lists and appraises approximately 190,000 real property parcels and 6,500 titled mobile homes in Charleston County. It is the Assessor's responsibility to ensure that all properties are appraised fairly and equitably at market value or special use value if applicable.
Approximately 40% of Charleston County's general revenues come from property taxes generated through the appraisal of real property. Property owners each pay a share of the cost of County services by paying taxes proportional to the value of their property. The property taxes are generally based on the market value of the land, buildings and site improvements. In some instances, special value methods or assessment methods are applied if allowed by law or mandated by state statutes.
3875 Faber Place Drive, Suite 100
North Charleston, SC 29405-8547
Mobile Homes Division
3875 Faber Place Drive, Suite 100
North Charleston, SC 29405-8547
Phone: (843)958-4151 or (843)958-4142
Mon. - Fri. 8:30am - 5pm
A: There are three methods typically used by appraisers to value real property. These are the Cost Approach, Sales Comparison Approach and Income Approach. Not every method is applicable to every property.
The cost approach is based on the principle of substitution: that a rational, informed purchaser would pay no more than the cost of building an acceptable substitute with similar utility after accounting for land and any depreciation or deterioration.
The sales comparison approach is also based on the principle of substitution: it uses sales of similar properties as a basis for comparison. It is rooted in the principal that the arms length, negotiated sale price of similar properties, best indicates the market value of the subject property. Adjustments must be made for differences in attributes, such as location, size, quality, condition, special features. This is often used for valuing residential properties and vacant land.
The income approach is based on the anticipated income stream generated by the use of the property and the desired return on investment. In this approach, the income (net or gross) a property will generate is estimated. Capitalization rates (rate of return) or multipliers are used to predict value. This approach is used primarily for commercial and rental property.
A: You must apply for the legal residence exemption – it is not automatic - and you must provide proof that you meet the qualifications and that your legal residence (domicile) is in Charleston County at the property in question.
NOTE: The legal residence application is available in a hard copy format and an online format. The entire application (both versions) and complete instructions for filing are available when you click the links below. The forms and instructions will answer many questions, but the application is designed to fill statutory requirements, therefore it is legal in nature. If you have questions, call the ASSESSOR’s office at the number shown on the form- DO NOT call other offices- they may not be able to answer your questions accurately.
There is a deadline to file the application as shown on the form- typically January 15th of each year. Filing as early in the tax year as possible (spring to very early summer) is highly recommended. If you have an escrow account, filing early will allow time for your application to be processed and will help ensure that your bill goes out to your escrow company accurately. Waiting to file may lead to large adjustments in your escrow account. Once tax bills are mailed in early October of each year the number of applications received per week soars and the number continues to increase toward the end of the year as the last day to pay taxes timely nears. Backlogs develop that cannot be avoided.
A: Under South Carolina law, legal deadlines apply for appealing property values and the classification of property. The Assessor has no authority to waive the legal deadlines. The determination as to whether the deadline was met is based on the postmark date on the envelope or the date received if hand delivered. Various delivery services other than the US Postal Service provide verification of mailing date similar to postmarks. If the taxpayer does not deliver the objection/protest/appeal by hand, the postmark will be the deciding factor. Taxpayers may hand deliver appeal filings to the ASSESSOR’S office or mail filings to the address shown under the contact information.
The first stage in the appeal process is called filing an Objection. Objections must be filed with the ASSESSOR's office. No other county office or official can accept an objection (appeal). Objections must be in writing and cannot be accepted by email or fax as an original signature is required. It is not necessary to send a letter of objection "return receipt requested", but it may provide peace of mind that the letter of objection was received. If a letter is sent return receipt requested, hold onto the returned receipt until contacted by the Assessor's office or until a response is received. Phone calls, faxes and emails do not preserve appeal rights as statutes specify that appeals must be in writing.
If a Notice of Change of Classification Appraisal and Assessment is sent during the year, appeal rights expire within either 90 days or 30 days of date the notice was mailed. That deadline is shown on the Notice. A form to appeal is provided with most Notices for convenience, and mailing instructions are included. If a Notice is sent for a reason unrelated to an already filed appeal, then the appeal deadline stated on the notice applies, and the owner must re-appeal within that deadline if they still disagree with the value or classification.
If no Notice is sent during the tax year, the taxpayer has until the last day to pay taxes without penalty to appeal for that tax year. Generally, that date is January 15th, but it is extended until the next working day if that is a holiday or weekend.
Taxpayers are urged to file objections for any tax year early in the year (in the spring or summer if possible). Many taxpayers wait until December and early January to file. Backlogs develop due to the number of appeals filed late in the year. Filing an objection (appeal) does not relieve the taxpayer of the obligation to pay the current bill while the objection process proceeds. For that reason, filing well before bills are issued in October is advised. Objections are handled in the order received.
A letter of objection must contain the following information:
It is not necessary to provide detailed reasoning for the appeal at the time of the initial letter of objection, but it may assist the appraiser prior to contacting you regarding the issue. There is a process to be followed the letter is received, and subsequent deadlines apply to those steps.
A: A Notice of property tax assessment is not a property tax bill. It will clearly state that is not a property tax bill. In general, a Notice of Change of Classification Appraisal and Assessment informs the owner of a value change, or of approval, removal or denial of various exemptions or special assessments. Notices relating to value changes are sent primarily the year after a change is made to a property, after an error is discovered, after the property transfers, or there is a countywide reassessment.
Some of the changes that may trigger a Notice are new buildings, new improvements, renovations, additions, subdividing a property, etc. Other circumstances may apply that cause a Notice to be sent, such as response to a filed appeal. Appeal deadlines are stated on the Notice. Most Notices have an appeal form incorporated into the Notice. Typically, Notices relating to value begin going out early in the summer for the current tax year and continue to be sent in batches until all filed applications and appeals are handled for the year. After that, manual Notices are sent individually in a letter format. Most Notices go out prior to tax bills. However, since some applications and some appeals are not due until the middle of January following the bill date, Notices are also sent after those applications and appeals are received and handled.
If a Notice is sent, appealing soon after receipt is better than waiting until the last day. Notices are sent out in large batches, often in the thousands or tens of thousands. Therefore. many people have the same deadlines to appeal.
See the question on deadlines that follows.
A: Yes, you must pay your bill on the due date, which is typically January 15th unless that date falls on a holiday or weekend, in which case the bill is due the next work day. If an appeal or application is pending at the time the bill is due, you must pay your bill and await an adjustment if one is made. Penalties and/or interest begin to accrue on the first day to pay without penalty and will not be waived.
A: Deadlines are based on state law and cannot be waived. The deadline indicated on the application is verified by postmark date if the filing is mailed. The actual date received is used if the filing is hand delivered. The applications for various special assessments discounts and exemptions can be found on the Charleston County website. All the application forms clearly indicate the deadline that applies to that exemption, discount, or special assessment. For most applications, the application must be filed no later than January 15th unless that date falls on a weekend or holiday. One application does NOT have a due date tied to the penalty date. That is the application for Multiple Lot Ownership Discount. It is due on or before May 1st. Consult the specific application for each deadline.
Most applications require an original signature and therefor cannot be sent by email or by facsimile.
Filing Applications Early:
Many taxpayers wait to appeal or file various applications until after tax bills post on the website and are mailed (usually in late September or early October). Many taxpayers’ applications right before the end of the calendar year or right before the last day to pay without penalty.
Because of the influx of applications near the end of the year and near the tax due date, unavoidable backlogs develop beginning in early October. Backlogs increase in size as the year progresses, continuing to build into the early part of the next year. Expertise is required in the approval or denial of various applications. While the Assessor's office makes every effort to process applications in a timely fashion, filing applications as early in the year as possible helps ensure the issuance of a correct initial tax bill. Applications that are filed in the early spring or summer usually result in the initial tax bill going out correctly. Sending in incomplete applications, applications that do not provide the required proof, and failure to sign applications all delay processing.
It is not necessary to send applications "return receipt requested", but it may provide peace of mind that the application was received. If an application is sent return receipt requested, hold onto the returned receipt until contacted by the Assessor's office or until a response is received.
IF YOU CAN'T REACH US BY PHONE: Tax bills will typically be mailed the first week of October. The mailing of tax bills causes high volumes of phone calls to the Auditor's, Assessor's and Treasurer's Offices. It is important to us to answer each caller's concerns and provide individuals with the correct explanations. The County has prepared a list of the frequently asked questions we are asked after tax bills are mailed, so please review the questions and answers below before calling.
If you have read the frequently asked questions and still have further questions, we encourage you to keep trying to reach us.
If there is no PIN (Parcel ID) on the bill, do not call the Assessor's Office; you are looking at a personal property bill and need to call the Auditor's Office.
CARS, BOATS, BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY QUESTIONS:
LEGAL RESIDENCE QUESTIONS:
If your concern about 4% is based on a change (increase) in your bill, look at the ASSESSMENT RATIO box at the top of the bill. If this box says "QR4", your property is at 4%.
The computer file for bills mailed at the beginning of October typically reflects applications approved and processed by the 2nd or 3rd week of September. Very high volumes of applications are received late in the third quarter and during the fourth quarter of the year, resulting in a backlog. Approvals are processed daily, and new bills will update promptly on the website.
If you have filed an application and your bill is due, you must pay the bill as issued and await a refund – which is automatic- if your application for legal residence is approved.
If you do not pay your bill on time, the law requires that additional charges (interest and penalties) be applied that cannot be waived.
If the Assessor's Office has questions about your application or needs additional information, you will be contacted about specific issues in writing.
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