Personal income tax
South Carolina collects taxes from its residents at the following rates over six income brackets:
- There is no tax assessed on the first $2,800 of taxable income.
- 3 percent on taxable income between $2,801 and $5,600.
- 4 percent on taxable income between $5,601 and $8,400.
- 5 percent on taxable income between $8,401 and $11,200.
- 6 percent on taxable income between $11,201 and $14,000.
- 7 percent on taxable income of $14,001 and above.
South Carolina tax returns are due April 15 or the next business day if that date falls on a weekend or holiday.
On June 1, 2007, South Carolina's state sales tax rate increased from 5 percent to 6 percent for most purchases.
However, the 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 sales tax rate and exemptions.
Counties have the option to impose an additional 1 percent local option sales tax for capital projects, the school district, tourism development or transportation projects. These local taxes are collected by the South Carolina Department of Revenue on behalf of the counties. Combined state/local sales tax rates are found in the state's annual sales tax booklet.
Citizens 85 years old or older get a 1 percent exclusion from the state's 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. 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.
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 or 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 federal credit means that the state does not collect an estate tax.
Other South Carolina tax facts
The South Carolina Department of Revenue offers its own version of federal-state Free File to eligible taxpayers.
After e-filing, South Carolina taxpayers can go online to check the status of their returns online.