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IV.  Personal Property Tax

 

 1.   What is personal property?
 2.   When are personal property taxes due?
 3.   How is the value of personal watercraft/aircraft determined?
 4.   I sold the personal property you have billed me for. What do I do with this bill?
 5.   Can I appeal the value on my boat or airplane?
 6.   If I own a business or residential rental property, how are taxes determined on associated personal property?
 7.   When are business related personal-property tax returns due?
 8.   What happens if I don't file my business related personal-property tax return on time?
 9.   Are all boats & motors taxable?
10.  Are boat trailers taxable?
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1.  What is personal property?

In South Carolina, personal property encompasses motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, aircraft and watercraft (including boats, motors, and personal recreational vehicles like wave runners and jet skis, etc.).

  • Personal property tax also applies to equipment, furniture, fixtures and machinery primarily used by businesses. 
     

2.  When are personal property taxes due?

With the exception of motor vehicles, personal property taxes must be paid by January 15 of the following year, unless that day falls on a county holiday or weekend.

  • Personal property taxes on motor vehicles and recreational vehicles are due throughout the year on a staggered monthly schedule and must be paid before your license plates can be renewed. 

3.  How is the value of personal watercraft/aircraft determined?


Values of personal property are kept current through annual updates by the S.C. Department of Revenue and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

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4.  I sold the personal property you have billed me for. What do I do with this bill?

If you owned the property on December 31, preceding the current tax year, you are responsible for the taxes for that entire year.

  • For example, if you owned a boat on December 31, 2005, you are responsible for paying the taxes by January 15, 2007. Personal property is taxed in arrears (except for motor vehicles).
  • If you purchase personal property on or after January 1, you will not have to pay county taxes on it until January of the following year.
  • This information does not apply to motor vehicles 

5.  Can I appeal the value on my boat or airplane?

Yes, you have until the taxes are due to appeal in writing to the Auditor's office.

  • The appeal of the value of the boat or airplane does not extend the due date of the taxes.
  • A tax specialist will then contact you to discuss your personal property appeal. 
     

6.  If I own a business or residential rental property, how are taxes determined on associated personal property?
Owners of businesses using equipment, furniture, fixtures or machinery are required to file an annual personal property tax return with the Lexington County Auditor.

 

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7.  When are business-related personal property tax returns due?

Returns must be filed by April 30 of each year.

  • Currently, there are no provisions in the law to allow for an extension of filing returns.
  • As with other forms of personal property (except motor vehicles), taxes are levied in arrears. 
  • If you owned the property on December 31 of the tax year, you are responsible for the taxes for that entire year.
  •  If you purchase personal property on or after January 1, you will not have to pay property taxes on it until January of the following year. 
     

8.  What happens if I don't file my business-related personal property tax return on time?

The Auditor is required by law to estimate all accounts in which a return was not filed.

  • Estimates may be higher than the original filed amount. 
     

9.  Are all boats & motors taxable?
Boats or outboard motors with a fair market value of $500 or less are not taxable. 
 

10.  Are boat trailers taxable?
No, not in South Carolina.
 

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