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Property Tax Information

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General Tax Information

Under the South Carolina Constitution, there must be a uniform statewide system of ad valorem property taxation.

  • The SC General Assembly has enacted a number of laws to accomplish this through the SC Department of Revenue and the County tax offices
     
    • (Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer).
  • Specific assessment classifications, tax exemptions, credits, etc. have been enacted by the General Assembly reflecting the state's policy goals.
  • Examples of the credit exemptions are:
    • SC - Homestead Exemption Program
    • SC - Tax Relief Exemption Program
    • SC - Other exempt property
    • Lexington County Sales Tax Credit
  • State law has created a system of checks and balances in the tax offices of County government to protect both the taxpayer and the County. These checks and balances prevent taxing offices from becoming too powerful and abusive of their authority.

 

Offices Involved - Property Taxes

County council, town councils, school boards, and other special purpose districts determine how much money must be collected to fund the budget and the rate of tax (millage) necessary to meet the budget.

  • The county auditor is responsible for preparing the tax roll for all real and personal property taxable by the county.
  • The county assessor is responsible for maintaining tax records on all real property and for appraising property not valued by the Department of Revenue or the county auditor.
  • The county treasurer/tax collector collects taxes on all real and personal property.

 

 

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Auditor’s Office Functions
 

This office does

 

  • Calculate and create tax notices for all real and personal property
  • Process claims for tax refunds on real and personal property
  • Process motor vehicle appeals (i.e. excessive miles, conditional depreciation)
  • Accept business personal property tax returns
  • Assess business personal property, motor vehicles, aircraft, boats and motors
  • Calculate and issue agricultural property rollback tax notices
  • Qualify residents for the Homestead Exemption Program
  • Levy penalties as required by law
  • Sell 45-day Temporary Tags for $5.00
  • Compile tax data to assist councils for levying purposes and bond issues
  • Accept request for waiver of penalty due to county error. 
     

This office does not

 

  • Set millage rate (County Council, Town Councils, School Boards, and Special Purpose Districts)
  • Determine how taxes are used (County Council, Town Councils, School Boards, and Special Purpose Districts)
  • Collect current tax payments (Treasurer)
  • Collect delinquent tax payments (Treasurer – Delinquent Tax Collector)
  • Assess the value of real estate (Assessor)
  • Approve the 4 percent assessment ratio for owner-occupied residential real estate property (Assessor)
  • Issue mobile home decals (Assessor - Mobile Home Division)
  • Accept vehicle license plates (DMV)
  • Remove penalty, unless determined a county error by committee
     

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Fair Market Value

 

  • Real Property Value from Assessor’s Office

 

  • Vehicle registration information from Department of Motor Vehicle
    • Vehicle value from Department of Revenue Vehicle Guide or
    • Other nationally recognized sources
  • Boat/Motor registration information from Department of Natural Resources
    • Boat/Motor values from Vessel Valuation Service
    • Other nationally recognized sources
  • Manufacturing/Utility values from the Department of Revenue
     

 

Assessment Ratio by Property Type

 

 Primary Residence, Owner Occupied 4.0%
 Second Residence 6.0%
 Other Real Property 6.0%
Commercial Real Property

6.0%

Agricultural Real - Privately Owned 4.0%
 Agricultural Real - Corporate Owned 6.0%
Aircraft 10.5%
Business Personal Property

10.5%

Camper**

     (** may qualify as primary or secondary residence)

10.5%
 Manufacturing Real and Personal 10.5%

Motor Home**

     (**may qualify as primary or second residence)

10.5%
Railroads, airlines, pipelines Real and Personal 9.5%
Utility Real and Personal 10.5%
Vehicle Personal 6.0%
Vehicle Personal (see note below)* 10.5%

Watercraft/Boat**

     (**may qualify as primary or second residence)

10.5%

 

*Vehicle Personal @ 10.5% if:

 Gross Vehicle Weight in excess of 11,000 pounds and Net Vehicle weight in excess of 9,000 pounds

 

**Must meet IRS rules as Qualified Home (Publication 936) for primary or secondary residence.

 

 

Assessed Value

  • The Assessed Value (rounded to nearest tenth) is determined by multiplying the Fair Market Value by the above Assessment Ratio by property type.


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Millage Rate

  • Approved by County Council, Town Councils, School Boards and Special Purpose Districts
  • Submitted to the County Auditor by the chief elected official along with a copy of the ordinance approving the millage rate.
  • Auditor’s Office applies these millage rates in preparing tax notices
     

Tax Notice and Due Dates

  • Taxes for the current year are based on property and ownership status as of December 31 of the preceding calendar year 
  • Property tax rolls are open by September 30 for payments to be made to the County Treasurer
  • Taxes for the current year must be paid by January 15 of the following year
    • Payments made after January 15 will incur a 3% penalty
    • Payments made after February 1 will incur a 10% penalty
    • Payments made after March 15 will incur a 15% penalty and execution costs imposed by the Treasurer/Delinquent Tax Collector

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Tax Notice and Due Dates for Vehicles Registered with DMV

  • Taxes due on renewal registration and decal by the last day of the registration month
  • Taxes due 120 days from the purchase date when new registration and license plate are obtained through dealership
  • Taxes due 45 days from the purchase date of a temporary license plate by a casual buyer 
  • If you are mailing your property tax payment, it must be postmarked no later than the due date to avoid penalty. If the due date falls on a weekend or a state holiday, the due date is extended to the next business day.
     

Vehicle registration renewal and purchase of new vehicle

  • If you are making a payment for vehicle registration renewal and
  •  Plan on transferring your current tag to another vehicle,
    • Pay your taxes in the Treasurer’s Office on your old vehicle
    • Go to DMV or Treasurer and receive your valid decal for old vehicle
    • Purchase new vehicle after new decal is on license plate
    • Go to DMV and transfer tag to your new vehicle
      • This will avoid confusion about the valid tag number and property taxes paid on your new vehicle.
    1. See Tax Collector for delinquent tax sale and execution schedule
       

Example of Tax Notice Calculations (Legal Residence)

 

 Fair Market Value $100,000.00 
 Multiplied by Assessment Ratio  4%
 Equals Assessed Value 4,000
 Multiplied by Millage Rate for District .2500
 Equals Total Taxes  $1,000.00
 Less Credits 0.00
 Equals Taxes Due by Property Owner $1,000.00

Millage rates change each year by district
Credits include Homestead, S.C. Tax Relief, and Lexington County Sales Tax Credit

 

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Appeals

Appeals do not change the due date of the taxes.

  • Real property valuation appeals are processed by the Assessor’s Office.
  • Manufacturing/Utility appeals are processed by the Department of Revenue – Property Division.
  • Personal property valuation appeals such as high mileage and valuation of motor vehicles are processed by the Auditor’s Office.
  • Other appeals are processed by the Auditor’s Office.
  • See the FORMS SECTION to obtain a copy of form.
     

Application for Refund/Credit

Application for refund/credit should be submitted in writing stating the reason for the refund/credit.

    • The Assessor for real property
    • The Auditor for personal property - vehicle and Homestead Exemption Credit
  • Documentation to support the request should be submitted
  • Refund to taxpayer is made by the County Treasurer after certification by the Auditor
  • See the FORMS SECTION  to obtain a copy of form.
     

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Tax Districts

 

 District Code District Name
1 School District 1/Outside Municipality/Special District
1A School District 1 - Town of Springdale
1C School District 1 - City of Cayce
1G School District 1 - Town of Gilbert
1L School District 1 - Town of Lexington
1P School District 1 - Town of Pelion
1S School District 1 - Town of Summit
2 School District 2/Outside Municipality/Special District
2C School District 2 - City of Cayce
2CT School District 2 - City of Cayce - TIF
2L School District 2 - Town of Lexington
2S School District 2 - Town of Springdale
2W School District 2 - City of West Columbia
2WT School District 2 - City of West Columbia - TIF
3 School District 3/Outside Municipality/Special District
3B School District 3 - Town of Batesburg-Leesville
4 School District 4/Outside Municipality/Special District
4SR School District 4 - Sandy Run Section
4S School District 4 - Town of Swansea
5 School District 5/Outside Municipality/Special District
5DE School District 5 - District East
5DW School District 5 - District West
5FD School District 5 - Fire District
5FW School District 5 - Fire District West
5IP School District 5 - Isle of Pines
5AFD School District 5 - City of Columbia
5C School District 5 - Town of Chapin
5IFD School District 5 - Town of Irmo Fire District
5IFW School District 5 - Town of Irmo Fire West
 

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Documents needed for processing

 

 

Homestead Application

1.  Documents Required:

          Property – Legal Residence

          Drivers License 

2.  Age - Medicare Card/Birth Certificate

3.  Blind - Documentation from licensed ophthalmologist

4.  Disability – Documentation of disability from a state or federal agency

 

Vehicle – New Application

  1. Drivers License
  2. Dealer Bill of Sale
  3. Title
  4. Vehicle Registration (most recent)
     

Vehicle – Change Tax Information

  1. Drivers License – New Address
  2. Vehicle registration
     

Vehicle – Deletion from Tax

  1. Drivers License – New Address
  2. Documented Sale of Property or lease termination
  3. DMV Document – Form 5051
  4. Paid tax receipt if paid in county of new residence
     

Boat/Motor – Purchase/Sale of Boat/Motor

 

  1. Registration
  2. Bill of Sale signed by buyer and seller
     

Business Personal Property

  1. Annual Tax Return

 

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