County Auditor - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we pay property tax?

Property tax is collected by the local government to provide for the many services most of us take for granted. Schools, police and fire protection and public libraries are possible because of revenue from the property tax. We all pay our share of the cost of these services by paying tax in proportion to the value of our property.

What is the Homestead Exemption program?

In 1972, the SC General Assembly passed the Homestead Exemption law which provides property tax relief for South Carolinians who are over 65, or totally and permanently disabled. The exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of your legal residence.

How do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?

You may qualify for the exemption if you:

  1. Are at least 65 years of age on or before December 31, preceding the tax year in which you wish to claim the exemption; or,
  2. Are certified totally and permanently disabled on or before December 31, AND,
  3. Are a legal resident of South Carolina for at least one year on or before December 31 of the year prior to the exemption; and,
  4. Hold fee simple title or partial title to your house, mobile home, or life estate on or before December 31st of the year prior to the exemption, and have been approved to receive legal residence tax assessment ratio.
I have two houses, and am receiving discounts on one but not the other. Can I receive it on both?

No. State law provides that property tax exemptions and discounts apply only to the one legal residence of an eligible owner. (Note: married couples are eligible for only one legal residence.)

Do senior citizens get property tax discounts on vehicles?

Property taxes are governed by state law in South Carolina. Currently, state law does not allow discounts to senior citizens for vehicle property taxes.

Why am I getting a tax bill on a car I just bought from a dealer? Were not taxes and tags included?

When a dealer sells you a vehicle, the taxes that are included are “sales” tax. The bill that you received is for county property taxes. You have a 120 day grace period from the date of purchase of your new vehicle in which to pay the county property tax due on your vehicle. If you do not pay the taxes due by the due date, a notice will be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend your drivers license. If your drivers license is suspended for non-payment of property taxes and you also hold a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), it will also be affected by the suspension.

Why do I have to pay taxes on my vehicle when I have turned in the tags and/or the vehicle has not been in use?

You pay taxes on what you “own”, not what you drive. As long as the vehicle is still registered in your name and has not been traded, junked or sold, you are responsible for paying the property taxes.