FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Questions often asked at the Anderson County Assessor’s Office:
• Why do I pay property tax?
Property tax is collected by local governments to provide for the many services most of us take for granted. Schools, police and fire protection, County roads, and public libraries are possible because of revenue from the property tax. We are all asked to pay our fair share of the cost of these services by paying tax in proportion to the market value of our property.
• How is the valuation of my property determined?
The County Assessor maintains information on each property located in the County, including size, square footage, location, and certain amenities. The Assessor also has copies of building permits which provide additional information on the property.
To determine the value of any piece of property, the assessor must know the price for which the properties similar to it are selling, what it would cost today to replace, how much it takes to operate and repair, what rent the property may earn, as well as other factors affecting its value, such as the current rate of interest charged for borrowing the money to buy or build properties.
The Assessor employs appraisers who go into the field to measure and add new construction, to field review each property for reassessment and update the property record. Each appraiser is responsible for a specific area of the County or a specific type of property (i.e. Residential Property; Commercial Property). For regular onsite inspections the appraiser does not go into your home unless invited by the owner or in the event of the appeal of our taxable value. The appraisers travel in vehicles with an Anderson County Seal and must have a photo identification badge identifying themselves as Anderson County Appraisers. If individuals come to your door identifying themselves as someone from the Assessor’s Office, they must have their badge displayed in full view for you to see. Ask to see their identification and check for the County Seal on the vehicle. If they have neither of these types of identification, close the door and do what you feel is necessary for your safety. I would appreciate a call to my office telling us what has happened, call 864-260-4028.
• How is property taxed?
The property tax is determined by multiplying the taxable value or fair market value by the assessment ratio and then multiplying the assessment by the millage rate.
*THIS EXAMPLE BELOW IS FOR YOUR LEGAL RESIDENCE ONLY; FOR 6% PROPERTY THE ASSESSMENT RATIO WOULD BE CHANGED TO 6% FOR MULTIPLICATION AND THERE IS NO SCHOOL TAX CREDIT.
For example, the tax on your home is determined in this way:
$50,000 Taxable Value or Fair Market Value of a Home
x 4% Assessment ratio
=2,000 Assessed value
x .295 Millage rate (295 mills)
=$590 Taxes Due
2,000 Assessed value
X .170 Millage Rate (170 Mills) for the Residential School Tax Credit
=$340 Less: Residential School Tax Credit *PROPERTY TAX RELIEF IS SUBTRACTED FROM THIS FIGURE FOR 4% LEGAL RESIDENCE PROPERTY ONLY, THE LEVY IS DIFFERENT FOR EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT.
=$250 Adjusted Property Taxes Due
The South Carolina Constitution provides for the following ratios to be applied to the market or use value of property to arrive at the assessed value:
Your home (legal residence)………………………………………………………………..4%
Second home (or any residential property where you do not live)…….6%
Agricultural real property (privately owned)……………………………………….4%
Agricultural real property (corporate owned)………………………………………6%
Commercial real property……………………………………………………………………6%
Manufacturing real and personal property…………………………………….…10.5%
Utility real and personal property………………………………………………......10.5%
Railroads, airlines, pipelines, real and personal property………………….9.5%
• What is the Solid Waste fee on my tax bill?
The Solid Waste fee is charged to every household in the County for the processing of trash once it reaches the County’s landfill. This is not for trash pick-up. If you have questions about this fee, call the Solid Waste Department at 260-1001.
• How do I get the best tax rate for my home?
If you own a home, you want to be sure to obtain the 4% assessment rate if you live in the home as your legal residence (domicile). Otherwise, your tax rate will be 6%. To obtain the lower rate for legal residence, you will need to complete an application with the County Assessor. This should be done as soon possibe once you have moved into your house. This application may be filed any time before January 15, when taxes are due. Once you have filed this application, you will not need to complete another one unless ownership changes or use of the property changes.
• Are there any available property tax breaks?
Each homeowner is allowed an exemption for legal residence (4% Ratio) on their domicile’s/home’s taxable value. The exemption includes calculation at the 4% Legal Residence ratio minus property taxes for school operating costs. The amount of the savings will vary depending upon the millage rate for the residential school tax credit for operating costs in the school district where you live. This exemption applies only to your legal residence (domicile), not second homes, vacation homes, or rental homes. A Legal Residence Application must be completed and filed receive this exemption. Once the Legal Residence Application is completed and approved the exemption will automatically be reflected in your tax bill each year as long as you continue to live in the home. Remember you only receive this exemption on one home (domicile).
If you are 65 or older, totally disabled or legally blind and have lived in South Carolina for at least one year, you may qualify for the Homestead Exemption.
The homestead exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of your legal residence. Application for the Homestead Exemption should be made at the County Auditor’s Office. Read more about Homestead Exemption at the Auditors Homestead Exemption Page
For the surviving spouse for certain military veterans, service men or law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, a house and up to one acre of land on which the house is located are exempt from property tax. This exemption is also available for veterans who are totally disabled from a service related disability or the surviving spouse, and for paraplegics, hemiplegics or their surviving spouses. Application should be made through the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Call (803) 898-5480 for information.
Additionally, up to two motor vehicles are exempt from property tax for prisoners of war, disabled veterans, Medal of Honor recipients, and people required to use wheelchairs. Applications should be made through the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Call (803) 898-5480 for information.
• Is there a tax break for agricultural property?
Yes. SC Law provides for a substantial tax break on agricultural real property which is actually used for a bona fide agricultural operation. There are two parts of this benefit. First, if qualified, the property’s value is based on “Use Value” which is almost always considerably less that the property’s market value. The “Use Value” is based on the productive capability of the soil type or types on the property. Second, the assessed value is 4% of the “Use Value” except for some property owned by large corporations, for whom the applicable ratio is 6% of “Use Value.”
• What must an owner do to get Agricultural Use Value?
It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure the initial application and any required future applications are filed with the Assessor’s Office by the first penalty date for taxes due for the first tax year in which the application for use value is claimed. No further application is required until the property ceases to be used for agricultural use or until the property is transferred to someone other than an immediate family member.
• What qualifies for Agriculture Use?
TIMBERLAND: If the tract of land is used to grow timber, the tract must be five (5) acres or more in size. Tracts of timberland of less than five (5) acres which are contiguous to or are under the same management system as a tract of timberland which meets the minimum acreage requirement are treated as part of the qualifying tract.
CROPLAND: To qualify for cropland or pasture, the tract must be ten (10) acres or more. Tracts of less than (10) acres which are contiguous to other such tracts which, when added together, meet the minimum acreage requirement, are treated as a qualifying tract. Cropland tracts of less than ten (10) acres may qualify if the owner earned $1000 of gross farm income for at least three of the five taxable years preceding the year of the application for agricultural use. The owner may be required to give written authorization consistent with privacy laws allowing the Assessor to verify farm income from the Department of Revenue and Taxation or the Internal Revenue Service. The owner may also be required to provide the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) farm identification number of the tract and allow for verification with the ASCS office.
• What are Rollback Taxes on Agricultural property?
When real property which is in agricultural use and is being valued, assessed, and taxed under the provisions of this article, is applied to a use other than agricultural, it is subject to additional taxes, hereinafter referred to as roll-back taxes, in an amount equal to the difference, if any, between the taxes paid or payable on the basis of the valuation and the assessment authorized hereunder and the taxes that would have been paid or payable had the real property been valued, assessed, and taxed as other real property in the taxing district, in the current tax year (the year of change in use) and each of the five tax years immediately preceding in which the real property was valued, assessed, and taxed as herein provided. If the property is being sold, it is often determined at the closing whether the buyer or seller will pay the rollback taxes.
• Does the value of my property ever change?
South Carolina’s Constitution requires that property be taxed fairly and equitably. When similar properties in the same taxing district are taxed differently, the system is unequal and unfair. From the time your real property first becomes taxable, the tax assessment does not change unless physical changes have been noted, there has been an Assessable Transfer of Interest or a new reassessment program is implemented. The South Carolina Department of Revenue authorizes a reassessment program to correct such inequities. Only real property values are affected by reassessment. Values of personal property such as cars, boats, and motorcycles are kept current through annual updates by the Department of Revenue.
If you add a room to your house or make other major improvements, your property value will increase to reflect the improvements. If your home is damaged, the value may be reduced upon appeal. If your home burns bring a copy of the fire report to the Assessor’s office.
In 2006 the South Carolina Legislature passed Act 388 which capped the taxable value on a real estate parcel at no more than a 15% increase between reassessments, if that property does not transfer. If a property transfers or is sold after December 31, 2006, and meets the criteria, that property goes on the tax records for property tax purposes at full fair market value in the year after the transfer regardless of the date of a reassessment. This is called an Assessable Transfer of Interest (ATI).
• When is property reappraised?
The South Carolina Department of Revenue and Taxation requires the County to keep its market value for all real property up to date. The prior reappraisals for Anderson County were for 1982, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011. . The implementation of the Reassessment takes effect for the following year but may be delayed an additional year. 2011’s reassessment was implemented in 2013. The County’s next Reassessment will be for the year 2016 (value as of December 31, 2016) and will be implemented in either 2017 or 2018. These reassessments occur on a five (5) year cycle. If the property is sold or transferred it becomes an Assessable Transfer of Interest (ATI) and is taxed at full fair market value (with few exceptions) in the year after the transfer.
• How is my property reassessed?
An appraiser from the Assessor’s Office visits your property and measures the structures to determine square footage. The appraiser also notes other information, such as age, type of construction, type of heating and air conditioning, number of floors, and whether the structure has a garage, deck, swimming pool, or other amenities.
The appraiser then considers this information along with selling prices of similar properties in the area, how much it would cost to replace the property at current costs, and the general physical condition of the property. For rental or commercial property, an evaluation is made on how much income the property produces, what the operating expenses are and what kind of investment return can be reasonably expected. The appraiser also will visit the property to verify the information. With all of this information, the appraiser then sets the market/taxable value on your property.
• How will I know if my property value changes?
Counties must mail a property tax assessment notice to all property owners whose property’s fair market/taxable value increases by $1,000 or more. Assessment notices must be sent to the person listed as property owner as of December 31 of the prior year.
The assessment notice is NOT a tax bill. The notice is simply to notify taxpayers of a change in their property’s value. Tax bills are mailed usually in October and must be paid by January 15.
The assessment notice includes your new market value, your new taxable value, the new assessment values, the assessment ratio, number of acres or lots, location of property, tax map number and the appeals procedure.
When the reassessment program is completed, counties must mail substantially all of the assessment notices by October 1 of the year the reassessment program will be implemented. If most of the assessment notices are not mailed by October 1 in a year of reassessment, the prior year’s property tax assessment must be used to calculate taxes for the current year.
• What if I disagree with my property value?
If after receiving your assessment notice, you disagree with the new value assigned to your property, you have the right to appeal. An appeal must be filed in writing within 90 days of the date of the assessment notice. You must file your appeal with the County Assessor. You have until January 15th (first penalty date) to appeal your values after you recieve your tax bill in October. If you have already filed an appeal on your property during the tax year for the bill you received in October, you have used your appeal rights for that year. You cannot initiate a second appeal on the same property in the same year (you can’t appeal twice in the same year).
This objection (Appeal) must address one or more of the following: limited taxable value, current appraised market value, special use value, the assessment ratio or property tax assessment. This objection must also contain the name, address, and telephone number of the property taxpayer, a description of the property at issue, a statement of the facts to support the taxpayer’s position, a statement outlining the reason for the appeal, and the estimated or proposed fair market value of the property. Please provide the Assessor with a copy of all information that supports the objection.
If you appeal your property value and the appeal is not settled by December 31, you must pay at least an 80% tax bill of the assessed value for the current year. You must request in writing that you be billed 80% in order to avoid paying interest should your appeal not be successful. If the appeal is successful and you have paid the 100% bill earlier, you will be paid interest on any refund. Either an 80% or a 100% tax bill must be paid by January 15 to avoid penalties.
Once the appeal is resolved, you may receive a refund or be expected to pay additional taxes, depending on how the appeal is resolved. You must pay interest at the current prevailing rate on any outstanding taxes owed. Likewise, if your appeal is successful and your taxes are less than what you paid, the County will pay you interest on the amount refunded.
• Will my taxes increase because of reassessment?
Some property owners will notice a decrease in their tax, some will stay the same and some will pay more tax. Reassessment is not intended to raise taxes. It is intended to distribute the tax burden fairly among all property owners.
Because of reassessment, typically you will see that real property values have increased. Unless a property is badly in need of repair, rarely do property values decrease. Because of the increase in property values throughout the County, the millage rate can then be lowered without decreasing the total amount of taxes collected in the County.
If it has been several years since your home has been reassessed. You will likely see an increase in your taxes. That’s because your home has previously been taxed at less than its fair market value. Remember after Act 388 was passed if your property has not transferred it will be capped at no more than a 15% increase in taxable value.
• How do I pay my property tax?
The County Treasurer or tax collector mails property tax bills during the fall of each year. You may pay your taxes by mail, or in person at the County Treasurer’s office. You may also pay your taxes using the internet and a credit card. Property taxes are due no later than January 15 of the following year. The Treasurer has established an installment payment program. For information about that contact the County Treasurer.
If you itemize your federal income tax deductions, be sure to pay your property tax before December 31 in order to claim the deduction for this year. If a lending company holds the mortgage to your house, the County Treasurer or tax collector may bill the mortgage company for your property tax. You may call the County Treasurer at (864) 260-4033 to make sure the mortgage company has paid the tax in your behalf.
• My plat for a new parcel was just recorded. When do I get my new TMS# (Tax Map Number)?
If your plat causes a new parcel to be created and is not simply a plat of an existing lot of record, a new Tax Map Number will be assigned to it for the following tax year. Any change to a property during a given year, takes effect for the following tax year on the tax roll. These newly assigned tax map numbers are not released until all plats and deeds have been accounted for and processed for any given tax year. This usually occurs around February or March of the following year. Deeds, Plats, Mortgages, Permits, or Real Estate Listings which require a TMS Number can be filled out using the “Parent” TMS Number (The TMS Number of the Parcel that was divided) Example: Part of TMS# 000-00-00-000
• Can I combine two adjoining lots into one Tax Map Number?
If properties are adjoining, are in the same tax district, have the same exact ownership, and have no more than one dwelling, chances are they can be combined on our tax records. A mapper in our office can assist you in filling out an Application for Mapping Change. If the application is approved, the combination will take effect for the following tax year.
• How Do I De-Title a Mobile Home?
Speak to a Real Estate Attorney.