taxes

South Carolina



South Carolina assesses income taxes over six brackets. The Palmetto State's rates range from 2.5 percent to 7 percent. More on South Carolina taxes can be found in the tabbed pages below.

Income
Sales
Property
Estate
Other
Personal income tax
South Carolina collects taxes from its residents at the following rates over six income brackets:

-- 2.5 percent on the first $2,630 of taxable income
-- 3 percent on taxable income between $2,631 and $5,260.
-- 4 percent on taxable income between $5,261 and $7,890.
-- 5 percent on taxable income between $7,891 and $10,520.
-- 6 percent on taxable income between $10,521 and $13,150.
-- 7 percent on taxable income of $13,151 and above.
 South Carolina tax returns are due on April 15 or the next business day if that date falls on a weekend or holiday.
Sales tax
On June 1, 2007, South Carolina's state sales tax rate increased from 5 percent to 6 percent for most purchases.
However, the new general sales tax rate does not apply to lodging (subject to a 7 percent rate); items subject to the $300 maximum tax (motor vehicles, airplanes, boats and certain trailers), which will continue to be taxed upon sale at a 5 percent rate; or the 3 percent sales and use tax imposed on purchases of unprepared food. The state has issued a document with details on the rate hike and exemptions.
Counties have the option to impose an additional 1 percent local option sales tax (rates shown are combined state/local sales taxes).
Citizens 85 or older get a 1 percent exclusion from the state's 5 percent sales tax. You must show an ID to get this break.
Personal and real property taxes
Property tax is administered and collected by local governments with assistance from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Both real and personal property are subject to tax.
Approximately two-thirds of county-levied property taxes are used for the support of public education.
Municipalities levy a tax on property situated within the limits of the municipality for services provided by the municipality. The tax is paid by individuals, corporations and partnerships owning property within the state.
Each class of property is assessed at a ratio unique to that type of property. For example:
  • Primary residences at 4 percent of fair market value.
  • Privately owned agricultural property at 4 percent of use value.
  • Personal property at 10.5 percent of income tax depreciated value.
The assessment ratio is applied to the market value of the property to determine the assessed value of the property.
Each county and municipality then applies its millage rate to the assessed value to determine the tax due. The millage rate is equivalent to the tax per $1,000 of assessed value. As the millage rate varies among taxing districts, homeowners need to contact the local county assessor for specific mill rates.
The first $100,000 in fair market value of a primary residence is exempt from school operating costs.
The state provides for numerous property tax exemptions, including a homestead exemption of $50,000 from the property's assessed valuation that is available to residents who are 65 years of age and older, who are totally disabled and/or who are totally blind. This exemption is granted by the county auditor. Taxpayers are required to file an application with the county auditor.
South Carolina imposes a casual excise tax of 5 percent on the fair market value of all motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats, motors and airplanes transferred between individuals. The maximum casual excise tax is $300.
Inheritance and estate taxes
There is no inheritance tax.
Because South Carolina follows federal rules regarding the taxation of estates, the phaseout of the credit means that for deaths after Jan. 1, 2005, no state estate tax is due.
Other South Carolina tax facts
The South Carolina Department of Revenue says that the Palmetto State "has led the nation in the percentage of its taxpayers that file by electronic or nonpaper methods." Those electronically inclined taxpayers also can go online to check the status of their refunds.
For more information, contact the South Carolina Department of Revenue's Tax Helpline at (800) 763-1295 or at the agency's Web site.
To download tax forms on this site, you will need to install a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here for instructions.
  

-- Updated: Feb. 4, 2008

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