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Counties can impose an additional 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 and are in addition to the state sales tax rate of 6 percent or 7 percent accommodations rate.
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 the tax.
More than one-half 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 millage rates.
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, totally disabled, or 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 casual excise tax imposed on sales of boats and airplanes may not exceed the $500 maximum tax on these transactions.
Inheritance and estate taxes
There is no inheritance tax in South Carolina.
Because the state follows federal rules regarding the taxation of estates, the phaseout of the federal credit means that the state does not collect an estate tax.
South Carolina offers taxpayers almost 50 tax credits that cover a wide range of individual and business circumstances. A tax credit can reduce tax liability dollar-for-dollar, and in some cases provide the filer with a refund.
Among the Palmetto State tax breaks is the nursing home credit for an individual who pays expenses for his own support or the support of another to an institution, in any state, providing nursing facility level of care or to a provider for in-home or community care.
For more information, contact the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s Tax Helpline at (803) 898-5709 or at the agency’s website.