Each piece of property is assessed based on its use. An assessment ratio is applied to the market value of the property to determine the assessed value of the property. The applicable millage rates are multiplied by the assessed value to determine the tax due.
The current assessment ratios for the state of South Carolina are as follows:
Primary Residences 4 percent fair market value
Other Real Estate 6 percent fair market value
Personal Property (some motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, business personal property) 10.5 percent fair market value
Commercial boats 5 percent fair market value
Primary-residence boats 4 percent fair market value
Agricultural Property (privately owned) 4 percent fair market value
Agricultural Property (corporate owned) 6 percent use value
Manufacturing & Utility Property 10.5 percent fair market value
Railroad, Airline, & Pipeline Property 9.5 percent fair market value
Property Tax Relief is an exemption from school operating millage on residential property. South Carolina law allows this exemption for taxpayers who own the home in which they reside (legal residence). To qualify for Property Tax Relief, the taxpayer must first apply, qualify and be approved for the 4% Legal Residence exemption. To apply contact the Assessors' office.
Checks or money orders made payable to Charleston County
Treasurer can be mailed to:
Charleston County Treasurer, P.O. Box 878, Charleston, SC 29402-0878
The Treasurer's Office does accept cash, checks and money orders and credit card payments at all Treasurer's office locations. You can also pay online with your Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or Discover by clicking here. There is a surcharge involved with paying by credit card online.
After your payment is processed, we will mail your receipt to the mailing address listed on the tax bill. If you filled out the change of address information attached to the remittance, we will send the receipt to the new address indicated on the form.
Partial payments can be made through the Treasurer’s Advanced Property Tax Installment plan. Go here for more info: https://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/treasurer/installment-plan.php
Change of Address/Name
FOR REAL PROPERTY OR FOR
BUSINESS-RELATED PERSONAL PROPERTY: You can use the
following link to complete the required form and submit it
online. Please submit a separate form for each piece of
property you own.
Change of Address Form
FOR MOTOR VEHICLES: In accordance with state law, you must notify the DMV (SC Department of Motor Vehicles). It is their records that we use to determine which taxing district you are in and where to mail your tax bill. The wrong address on their records could result in your paying too much tax and in not receiving your license plate renewal decals on time.
FOR BOATS/MOTORS: In accordance with state law, you must notify the SC Department of Natural Resources. It is their records that we use to determine which taxing district you are in and where to mail your tax bill. The wrong address on their records could result in your paying too much tax and in not receiving your license renewal decals on time.
Legal Residence Exemption
You apply and provide the required proof that your only legal residence is in Charleston County.
Note: the legal residence application cannot be filed electronically, although you may print it out and send it in, or deliver it in person. The entire Legal Residence statute and complete instructions for filing the application are included with the application. The form will answer many questions, but it is legal in nature. If you have questions, call the number shown on the form There is a deadline to file the application, it is shown on the form. Filing as early in the year as possible - well before tax bills are mailed is highly recommended. Once tax bills are mailed the number of applications received per week soar and the number received per week continues to climb as the end of the year and the last day to pay taxes near. Backlogs develop that cannot be avoided.
Homestead Exemption Program
In 1972, the S.C. General Assembly passed the Homestead Exemption Law which provides real estate property tax relief for South Carolinians who are age 65 and over, totally and permanently disabled, or legally blind. The exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of your legal residence.
Please note: This example is a comparative guide and is provided as a general information tool only. The millage used in the example is a composite figure and does not represent current millage amounts. More detailed information can be obtained from the Charleston County Auditor's Office.
You may be qualified for the Homestead Exemption if you
For this exemption, the qualifying homeowner can apply in person or by mail. Contact the auditor's office for more information.
You will need to provide proof of eligibility by providing proof of your age or disability. To prove your age, you may use your Medicaid or Medicare card, a driver's license, or a birth certificate. If applying because of disability or blindness, bring certification from a state or federal agency. The agency must have the proper authority to make the certification.
You do not need to reapply annually unless there is a change which affects the deed to your property. You do need to advise the Auditor's Office if:
If your home of record is not South Carolina, you do not have to pay personal property taxes on property which you own while permanently stationed in this state. This exemption does not include county taxes on real property. The exemption covers motor vehicles (including trucks), campers, motor homes, boats and outboard motors, personal recreational watercraft (like wave-runners and jet-skis), aircraft and mobile homes (occupied by the owner). The property must be singularly titled in the name of the military service member in order to qualify for a 100% exemption. If there is a non military co-owner, only 50% of the exemption will be applied. In order for your mobile home to be qualify, it must be the service member's primary residence. To obtain the exemption, the service member can submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement to any of the Auditor's Offices or complete a Military Exemption Application and submit it to any of the Auditor's Offices. The documents can be submitted by mail, fax, or in person. The exemption is valid for only one year, so you will need to reapply every year.
If you were a POW or a Medal of Honor recipient, you may qualify for an exemption from property tax on up to two motor vehicles. Application should be made through the SC Department of Revenue (DOR). There is a DOR Charleston Service Centre at 3 Southpark Center, Suite 202, next to Citadel Mall (Phone 852-3600).
The S.C Department of Revenue (DOR) determines the value of motor vehicles within the state by using a set of nationally accepted standards and guidelines established by the auto industry.County auditors throughout the state use the DOR Motor Vehicle Values manual to establish the fair market value in preparing your motor vehicle tax bill. The manual lists each model and make of all available motor vehicles. The vehicle's fair market value is multiplied by the assessment ratio set by law to determine the assessed value. The assessed value is then multiplied by the millage rate to determine the amount of tax owed.Motor vehicle taxes are the only personal property taxes which are due a year in advance (in accordance with state law).
An amendment to the South Carolina Constitution, Article X, Section 1(8)(B)(1) reduced the assessment ratio on personal motor vehicles from 10.5% to 6% over six years beginning with the 2002 tax year. This reduced assessment ratio applies to personal automobiles and personal light trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 9,000 lbs or less and a net vehicle weight of 7,000 lbs or less only. All other motor vehicles will continue to be assessed at 10.5%.
Tax Year Assessment Ratio
Personal property taxes on motor vehicles and recreational vehicles must be paid before your license plates can be renewed. Taxes are due throughout the year on a staggered monthly schedule. You have 45 days after moving to South Carolina to register your vehicle. If you live in this state only part of the year and consider another state your home residence, you are still required to register your car in SC if you will be living here for 150 days or more. For more information, contact the nearest office of the DMV.
Use our high mileage calculator to determine if your vehicle qualifies for a high-mileage discount. If it does, you may complete and submit the Motor Vehicle High Mileage Discount form online. If you prefer to print the form and submit it, just deliver it to any of the Auditor's offices by fax, mail, or in person. If you file an appeal, do not pay your tax bill until you have received a revised bill or a denial of your appeal. You should file the appeal early in the month so that you can receive a revised tax bill in time to pay it and renew your registration prior to expiration of your tag decal on the last day of the month. Once your renewal date has expired, appeals for high mileage cannot be granted for that year's taxes (in accordance with state law). If you do not receive a tax bill before your vehicle tag renewal is due, contact one of the Auditor's offices immediately. The amount of the high-mileage discount is based on a table provided by the SC Department of Revenue.
The dealership was referring to the state sales tax and the license plate. The bill you received from the County Auditor is for the county personal property tax due on the vehicle.
If you did not transfer your license plate to another one of your vehicles, you may disregard the tax bill. When you sell (or otherwise dispose of) a vehicle, you may turn in the license plate to the Auditor's office and be reimbursed for the unused months remaining on the registration. Incidentally, you cannot transfer your license plate to another vehicle unless both are titled in the same name.
Take the registration for your previous vehicle and the Bill of Sale for your replacement vehicle to the Department of Motor Vehicles and register your replacement vehicle. You will not need to pay taxes on the replacement vehicle until the registration on your previous one expires.
After you have registered your vehicle in your new state of legal residence, you can mail (or bring) your South Carolina plate and registration, plus proof of registration in your new state of residence to the Auditor's office and receive a refund on the unused months.
The Auditor's office does not maintain address changes for motor vehicles. You need to be sure to notify the DMV, as it is their records that we use to determine which taxing district you are in and where to mail your tax bill. The wrong address on their records could result in your paying too much tax and in not receiving your license plate renewal sticker on time. If you own a boat/motor, you must also notify the S.C. Department of Natural Resources that your address has changed.
If your home of record is not South Carolina, you do not have to pay personal property taxes on your motor vehicles, or other personal property, while stationed in this state. The personal property must be registered in the service member's name to qualify for 100% exemption (if ownership is joint, only 50% of the exemption will apply). This exemption does not include county property taxes on real estate. The service member can submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement to any of the Auditor's offices or complete a Military Exemption Application, have it signed by their commanding officer, and submit it to one of the Auditor's offices. You can mail, fax or deliver the form. This exemption is valid for one year, and you will need to reapply every year.
There is no senior citizen discount on motor vehicle taxes. However, the DMV does offer a discount on the semi-annual license renewal fee to persons 64 years of age or older. For those 64 years old, the fee is $22 every two years instead of the regular $24, and for those who are 65 or older, the reduced fee is $20 every two years (instead of $24). Even though vehicle registration is renewed only every other year, it should be noted that county personal property taxes are due every year.
If you pay your vehicle taxes on time, you will receive your registration renewal sticker in the mail (usually within 10 days of payment). Please make sure that your address is correct and that your insurance certification is provided when required. The registration renewal fee charged by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) appears on your tax bill every other year. If you pay your vehicle taxes after the expiration of your license tag, you will need to go to a local DMV office to show your paid tax receipt. Then, a new sticker will be issued to you in person. If this occurs in a year when you were charged a renewal fee on your tax bill, the DMV will charge you a late renewal fee at that time.
When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, their personnel are allowed to pick up your registration and license tags without paying the local property taxes. The tax you paid to the dealership at the time of purchase was the South Carolina state sales tax.
The state of South Carolina has a stalking law which prohibits a search by tag or VIN number. Therefore, no one can find out your name or address simply by recording your vehicle information and accessing this site.
In South Carolina, personal property encompasses motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, aircraft and watercraft (including boats, motors, and personal recreational vehicles like wave runners and jet skis, etc.). Personal property tax also applies to equipment, furniture, fixtures and machinery primarily used by businesses.
With the exception of motor vehicles, personal property taxes must be paid by January 15 of the following year, unless that day falls on a county holiday or weekend. Personal property taxes on motor vehicles and recreational vehicles are due throughout the year on a staggered monthly schedule and must be paid before your license plates can be renewed.
The fair market value for vehicles, watercraft, and aircraft must be based on values derived from a nationally recognized publication of vehicle valuations, except that the value may not exceed ninety-five percent of the prior year's value.
* and some qualified boats
If you owned the property on December 31, preceding the current tax year, you are responsible for the taxes for that entire year. For example, if you owned a boat on December 31, 2006, you are responsible for paying the taxes which are due by January 15, 2008. Personal property is taxed in arrears (except for motor vehicles). If you purchase personal property on or after January 1, you will not have to pay county taxes on it until January of the following year. This information does not apply to motor vehicles (see MV FAQs).
Yes, you have until the taxes are due to appeal in writing to the Auditor's office.Aircraft Appeal Form
To qualify as a primary residence, the boat must contain cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities (in accordance with federal tax requirements), and you must live aboard the boat. You are allowed only one primary residence assessment of 4 percent at any one time in the state of South Carolina. Apply at the downtown Auditor's Office. You must reapply for this special assessment each year (unlike with real estate ).
If you own a boat/motor, you need to notify the S.C. Department of Natural Resources that your address has changed . If you own business-related personal property, you need to complete a Change of Address form and submit it online or at any of the Auditor's offices. The form can be faxed, mailed or hand-delivered. For motor vehicles, be sure to notify the DMV, as it is their records that we use to determine which taxing district you are in and where to mail your tax bill. The wrong address on their records could result in your paying too much tax and in not receiving your license plate renewal sticker on time.
Owners of businesses using equipment, furniture, fixtures or machinery are required to file an annual personal property tax return with the Charleston County Auditor.
Returns must be filed by April 30 of each year. Currently, there are no provisions in the law to allow for an extension of filing returns. As with other forms of personal property (except motor vehicles), taxes are levied in arrears. If you owned the property on December 31 of the tax year, you are responsible for the taxes for that entire year. If you purchase personal property on or after January 1, you will not have to pay county taxes on it until January of the following year.
The Auditor is required by law to estimate all accounts in which a return was not filed. Estimates may be higher than the original filed amount.
Boats or outboard motors with a fair market value of $500 or less are not taxable.
No, not in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, the exemption covers automobiles (including trucks), campers, motor homes, boats and outboard motors, personal recreational watercraft (like wave-runners and jet-skis), aircraft and mobile homes occupied by the owner. The property must be singularly titled in the name of the military service member in order to qualify for a 100% exemption. If there is a non-military co-owner, only 50% of the exemption will be applied. To apply for the exemption, the service member can submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement to any of the Auditor's offices or complete a Military Exemption Application and submit it to one of the Auditor's offices. You can mail, fax or hand-deliver the form. This exemption is valid for one year, and you will need to reapply every year.
Real Estate Property
In simplified terms, there are three elements to South Carolina's property tax system: (1) the tax rate, (2) the assessment ratio, and (3) the property value. The tax rate is generally reflected in "mills," or "millage rate." A mill is simply a unit of monetary value equal to one tenth of a cent, or one thousandth of a dollar. For example, a tax rate of 150 mills translates to $.150 (15 cents) tax per $1.00 of assessed value. This is true for both real estate and personal property.
An assessment is the market value of a piece of property on a certain date, multiplied by the assessment ratio which applies to that piece of property, e.g., a 4% assessment ratio for an owner-occupied house.
It must be postmarked no later than the due date to avoid penalty. If the due date falls on a weekend or a county holiday, the due date is extended to the next business day afterwards.
Taxes are set by the governing body/bodies where the property is located. Charleston County Council, the Charleston County School Board, and the applicable city council or special purpose district determines how much money must be collected to fund the budget and the rate of tax necessary to meet the budget. Property taxes make up only a portion of the total amount of revenue needed to fund the budget. Fees and other sources of income make up the remainder.
The value of a mill is always one tenth of a cent, or one thousandth of a dollar. For example, a tax rate of 150 mills translates to $.150 (15 cents) tax per $1.00 of assessed value. This is true for all types of property. The amount of revenue which a mill brings in to a governing body, however, changes based on the value of all assessed property in the taxing area.
If your home of record is not South Carolina, you do not have to pay personal property taxes on property which you own while permanently stationed in this state. In order for your mobile home to qualify, it must be your primary residence. It must also be registered and titled in the service member's name to qualify for 100% exemption (if ownership is joint, only 50% of the exemption will apply). This exemption does not include county taxes on real property. To obtain the exemption, the service member can submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement to any of the Auditor's offices or complete a Military Exemption Application and submit it to one of the Auditor's offices. You can mail, fax or hand-deliver the form. This exemption is valid for one year, and you will need to reapply every year.
We receive mortgage information from several different companies prior to the mailing of real estate property tax bills. Therefore, the code listed on the tax bill is the latest information provided to us. Please forward a copy of the tax bill to your current mortgage holder so that your taxes can be paid from your current escrow account.
The homeowner does not need a permit for doing work under $1,000.00 if the work does not require an inspection and provided that homeowner is doing the actual work. A Specialty contractor working for a homeowner would not need a permit for work under $1,000.00 if the work doesn't require an inspection and the whole project only involves one trade; otherwise, permits are required for all trades and work no matter the value.
Call the Building Inspection Services Department at (843)202-6930, request an inspection through the County's web site (permit.charlestoncounty.org), or fax inspection requests to (843)202-6936. Inspections can be scheduled for the same day provided the inspection request is received by 11:00 a.m. and based on inspector location and daily work load. You will need to provide your permit number, job location and type of inspection needed. Please be sure all work has been completed before requesting an inspection.
An inspector can usually determine the time of arrival within a few hours. However, the public is encouraged to contact an inspector before 8:30 a.m., if an approximate time is needed.
The results of your inspection will be marked/signed approved on the permit placard or a non-compliance notice will be posted at the job site. You can also check on-line by using your established account on (permit.charlestoncounty.org) or through a general search by:
Step 1: Type "permit.charlestoncounty.org" for citizens access portal
Step 2 : Select Property Search
Step 3: Type in address Step 4: Press search button
Yes, if you or your immediate family members are performing the work and if you will live in your home for at least two years after the work is completed.
Other than the homeowner or his immediate family, only licensed contractors are permitted to work on your property.
Yes, if the home owner is qualified to do the work and resides in the home. However, each project must be approved by a Building Inspector before work can begin.
First, obtain a gas or electrical safety permit from the Planning Department or Building Inspection Services. Then, call the Building Inspection Services Department (843)202-6930 and request an inspection. You may also request an inspection through the County's web site (permit.charlestoncounty.org).
Those who are licensed or registered by the State of South Carolina as a contactor are eligible to request County contractor licensure. If you are not a South Carolina licensed contractor, contact PSI Exams or call (800)733-9267, ext. 278 for licensing exam information.
A contractor's license is valid for one year beginning February 1 or September 1 depending on the type of licnese and as long as your State required license remains in effect.
Mail a copy of your current South Carolina State license and the application/renewal form (located on the County's web site) with appropriate fee to the Charleston County Building Inspection Services Department. Once your license is received and processed, a receipt will be sent back to you as notification of application/renewal. Renewals may be submitted through the County's web site at permit.charlestoncounty.org.
No. There are difference qualification requirements for each trade, and various agencies in the State of South Carolina offer the necessary exams. For more information, please contact the Contractor Licensing Technician at (843)202-6931.
Decals are displayed on contractor vehicles to identify which contractors are properly licensed or registered by Charleston County.
Security procedures for all county buildings include the follow:
City of Charleston
City of Folly Beach
City of North Charleston
City of Isle of Palms
Town of Awendaw
Town of Hollywood
Town of James Island
Town of Kiawah Island
Town of Lincolnville
Town of McClellanville
Town of Meggett
Town of Mount Pleasant
Town of Ravenel
Town of Rockville
Town of Seabrook Island
Town of Sullivan's Island
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