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The Essential Guide to Property Taxes In South Carolina

Moving to a new state can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding that state’s taxes. If you’re moving to South Carolina, it’s important to understand the property tax system. Here’s an essential guide to everything you need to know. One thing to keep in mind is that South Carolina has some of the lowest property taxes in the country. In fact, according to a study by WalletHub, the state has the third lowest effective tax rate in the nation. This guide will help you, especially if you’re moving to South Carolina from a state with higher property taxes, you may be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable your new home will be.

Essential Guide To South Carolina Property Taxes
Essential Guide To South Carolina Property Taxes


How Are Property Taxes Calculated in South Carolina?


Property taxes in South Carolina are calculated by taking the assessed value of a property and multiplying it by the mill rate. The mill rate is set by the county and municipality where the property is located and is used to fund schools, roads, and other public services. 
How Much Do South Carolina Homeowners Pay in Property Taxes Each Year?
The average effective property tax rate in South Carolina is just 0.55%, well below the national average of 1.07%. meaning that the average homeowner in SC pays $1,319 in property taxes.

The exact individual property tax amount owed will vary according to which county you live in. Each county in South Carolina will vary. But, there is a reason why so many people are moving to Myrtle Beach South Carolina! Horry County, (Myrtle Beach area), has the lowest average effective property tax rate at 0.38%. The median home value in the county was $296,194, making the median annual property tax payment $1,110. The other low-tax rate counties include Florence (0.42%), Chesterfield (0.44%), and Darlington (0.44%).

South Carolina Property Tax Primary Residence
South Carolina Property Tax Primary Residence

What Is the Homestead Exemption?


South Carolina offers a homestead exemption for primary residences. The exemption lowers the taxable value of your home by up to $50,000, meaning that you’ll pay less in property taxes each year. To qualify for the homestead exemption, you must own and occupy your home on January 1st of the tax year. You must also file an application with your county assessor’s office before June 1st.  When you’re buying a home, property taxes are just one of the many expenses you’ll need to budget for. In South Carolina, the property tax rate is set by the county in which the property is located. The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property, which is determined by the county appraiser. 

How to Apply for Primary Residence Tax Rate in South Carolina

When you buy a home in South Carolina, you want to take advantage of every tax break possible. luckily, if the home is your primary residence, there’s a tax break written into South Carolina’s Constitution that you can take advantage of. Your legal residence is only taxed at 4%, but if the home is a second home or not a primary residence, it’s taxed at 6%. Here’s how to secure a lower tax rate.


Completing the Application


The first step is to complete an application with your local county tax assessor. Every county has different instructions for applying for the primary residence tax rate, so be sure to check with your local assessor. You can find examples of applications from Richland County, Horry County, and Spartanburg County. The assessor will need proof that this is your legal primary residence, so be sure to have that documentation ready when you apply.

Proof of Residency


The assessor will want to see proof that this is your legal primary residence, so be sure to have that documentation ready when you apply. Some examples of acceptable documentation include a copy of your driver’s license or state ID showing your current address, a utility bill in your name with your current address, or a mortgage or lease agreement showing your current address. If you have any questions about what documentation is acceptable, be sure to contact your local county tax assessor.

Securing the Lower Tax Rate


Once you’ve completed the application and provided proof of residency, you’ll have secured the lower tax rate for your primary residence. This tax break can save you hundreds of dollars each year, so it’s well worth taking the time to apply for it. If you have any questions about the process, be sure to contact your local county tax assessor. They’ll be happy to help you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

South Carolina Property Taxes
South Carolina Property Taxes

How Property Taxes are Used in South Carolina


Property taxes in South Carolina are used to fund public schools, libraries, and other local government services. The revenue generated from property taxes is also used to pay for bonds that have been issued for capital improvements. 

In South Carolina, there is a Homestead Exemption that can help lower your property tax bill. The exemption applies to your primary residence and allows you to exempt a portion of your home’s value from taxation. To qualify, you must apply for the exemption with your county auditors’ office. 
If you’re a disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, you may also qualify for a full exemption from property taxes. To learn more about this exemption, you can contact your county veterans affairs office. 

When Are Property Taxes Due?

In South Carolina, property taxes are due on October 15th of each year. The tax year runs from January 1st through December 31st. 


How Are Property Taxes Calculated?


Property taxes in South Carolina are calculated using a millage rate. This is the amount of tax owed per $1,000 of the assessed value of the property. The millage rate is set by the county and municipality where the property is located. 

South Carolina Property Tax Rates
South Carolina Property Tax Rates


How Is the Assessed Value of My Property Determined?


In South Carolina, the assessed value of your property is determined by your county’s assessor. The assessor will inspect your property and compare it to other similar properties in the area to come up with an estimated market value for your home. 
Once the assessor has determined the market value of your property, they will apply an assessment ratio to determine the assessed value. For owner-occupied homes, this assessment ratio is 4%. This means that if your home is worth $200,000, your assessed value would be $8,000. 

How Property Assessments are Calculated
In South Carolina, the county assessor’s office is responsible for determining the market value of all properties. These values are then used to calculate your property tax bill.

The assessor’s office will use a variety of methods to determine the market value of your property, including looking at comparable sales data and assessing any physical changes that have been made to the property. They will also take into account any special circumstances that could affect the value of your property, such as if it’s located in a flood zone or if it has historical significance.

Once the assessor’s office has determined the market value of your property, they will send you an assessment notice by December 31st of the prior year. This notice will list the appraised value of your property as well as any increases or decreases from the previous year.

How Property Assessments Impact Your Taxes


Your property taxes are calculated based on the assessed value of your property. In South Carolina, the tax rate is 4% of the assessed value. For example, if your home is assessed at $100,000, your annual property tax bill would be $4,000.

It’s important to note that there is a cap on how much your property taxes can increase each year. By law, increases in market value as determined by the county assessor’s reappraisal are capped at 15%. However, that cap lifts whenever there is a transfer of property or if significant changes are made to the structure.

For example, let’s say that you own a home that was valued at $100,000 last year, and this year it is reassessed at $110,000—an increase of 10%. Because this increase is less than 15%, your taxes would only go up by 10%, meaning your new annual tax bill would be $4,400 instead of $4,600.


What Happens if I Don’t Pay My Property Taxes?


If you don’t pay your property taxes in South Carolina, you could face penalties and interest charges. In some cases, you may even lose your home through foreclosure. 


How Property Taxes are Used in South Carolina


Property taxes in South Carolina are used to fund public schools, libraries, and other local government services. The revenue generated from property taxes is also used to pay for bonds that have been issued for capital improvements. 


If you are thinking about buying in the Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, or Horry County area, Give our team a call at 843-839-9870 We can help you avoid the pitfalls that are costly. talk soon!

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Jerry Pinkas

Greetings! My name is Jerry Pinkas and I am a REALTOR® in Coastal South Carolina. I have been in real estate for the last 36 years and want to share my experience and expertise with you. Me and my teams #1 goal are to help YOU learn more about the Myrtle Beach SC real estate market, the homes for sale, the condos for sale, retiring to myrtle beach, investing in Myrtle Beach, and how to avoid the pitfalls that are costly. Hopefully, you are enjoying this real estate blog. When you're ready to buy or sell, just know, we are here to help YOU! Just pick up the phone and give us a call. Talk soon!

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