Q: What are the different ratios used in calculating an assessed value?
A: Different Ratios are as follows:
- Primary Residence 4% of Fair Market Value (The Property Tax Relief removes all School Operating fees for owner occupied primary residence)
- Other Real Property 6% of Fair Market Value
- Personal Property 10.5% of Fair Market Value
- Agricultural Property (privately owned) 4% of fair market value
- Agricultural Property (corporate owned) 6% of use value
- Manufacturing & Utility Property 10.5% of fair market value
- Railroad, Airline & Pipeline Property 9.5% of fair market value
- Vehicles Business vehicles 10.5% of fair market value
- Private passenger vehicles 6% of fair market value
Q. How can I get an estimate of my property taxes?
A: You will need to provide the year, make, model and VIN number of the vehicle, along with you Dorchester County address. Without all of this information, the ESTIMATE may be different once you arrive to register.
Q. What if I do not agree with the fair market value of my vehicle?
A: Pursuant to SC Code of Law, the Auditor must use the value provided by the Department of Revenue on your initial tax notice as this is the value the Department of Revenue has established as Fair Market Value for your vehicle make, model etc. If you are appealing due to the number of miles or value, you can complete the form (please include mileage even if disputing value) on the notice and submit by mail, fax, email or by coming into the office. If the form is not available online, you may send your request to email@example.com. We will check Kelly Blue Book for an adjusted value. We are required to use Private Party, Excellent Condition for 2015 and 2014, anything older Good Condition will be used. You must reapply each year since the millage rate and value of your vehicle changes yearly. ALL appeals MUST be made ON or BEFORE the last day the taxes may be paid timely. Once the tag renewal has expired and the notice is late, we CANNOT accept appeals for that year. If you have not received a notice, please contact the auditors office.
Q: I am new in the state. What is the procedure for registering my vehicle?
A: State law provides 45 days from the date you move here to pay property taxes. You will need to come into the office with your previous registration, title or bill of sale for the vehicle.
To obtain a SC license and registration (moving to Dorchester County or a new purchase):
1. Bring your registration, title or bill of sale to the Auditors office
2. Obtain a notice and pay the notice at the treasurers office
3. Take your paid receipt and proof of insurance to the Dept. of Motor vehicles and obtain a SC registration and license plate for your vehicle.
Q: I purchased my vehicle from a dealership who told me they took care of the taxes and tags. Why am I getting a property tax notice?
A: When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the tax you paid at the time of purchase included your sales tax and fees to obtain the license plate at the DMV. Their personnel are able to pick up the new registration and license plate from the DMV. Once you receive your license plate, a tax bill is generated approximately 3-4 months later. This bill covers the property tax on the vehicle for one year from when the license plate was purchased. If you have any questions regarding the value of the vehicle shown on your bill of sale, please contact our office for further assistance.
Q: I no longer own the vehicle show on my tax notice. What should I do?
A: You may discard the tax notice or let us know if you did not transfer the plate to another vehicle. If you did transfer the plate, please contact our office for further assistance.
Q: I traded in my car and transferred my tag to a new vehicle I purchased. The tag does not expire for another 6 months. What do I need to do?
A: The dealership should be handling the transaction at the DMV for you to ensure you receive a registration for your new vehicle. You will not owe taxes for the new vehicle until the tag expires. If you are handling the transfer, you will need to take your previous registration and your bill of sale for your new vehicle to the DMV to register the vehicle. You will not owe property taxes until the tag expires.
Q: How do I obtain a temporary tag from your office?
A: This can also be done at the Department of Motor Vehicles. You must present our office with a title or bill of sale AND proof of insurance with your name on it for THAT particular vehicle. We would generate a temp tag bill of $5, you would pay that at the treasurer's office and come back to our office to show that amount has been paid. We then give you the tag and a letter to keep in your vehicle from the DMV that you must keep in you vehicle. You must also sign off that you have received your information. **Please note: temporary tags can only be given 45 days from the date of the original purchase.** Before your temporary tag expires, you must come back into the office to pay the property taxes for your new license plate.
Q: I am military. Am I exempt from taxes for my vehicle?
A:if you are currently active duty military stationed in South Carolina or have a home in South Carolina and you claim another stat as your home of record you may be exempt from property tax. You must provide a current LES for the exemption. If you have a spouse's name on the title, we will need a copy of their dependent ID. If the vehicle is jointly owned and one person is active duty or their spouse and the other is not, you will receive a 50% reduction of the tax bill.
Q: What do you need to qualify for an exemption of taxes?
A: You may be approved for an exemption on 2 vehicles and your permanent residence. If you are a disabled veteran, you will need to contact Cindy Busby in the Veteran's Affair office for Dorchester County at 843-832-0116. If you are not a veteran, there is a form in the Auditor's office that can be completed and sent to the Department of Revenue, they will let you know if you qualify. Once you receive your letter of exemption from the Department of Revenue, please provide us with a copy of the letter for an adjustment.
Q: I recently paid the taxes for a vehicle that I have now sold. How do I get a refund for my taxes?
A: In order to process a refund we need a copy of the Form 5051(tag turn-in receipt) and a copy of a bill of sale or title. The title or bill of sale must include the buyer and seller signatures. If the vehicle was totaled, please provide 5051 form and letter from insurance company.
Q: I recently paid the taxes for a vehicle and now I am moving out of state. How do I get a refund for my taxes?
A: You can either mail your tag to the auditor's office or to the SC DMV. If you mail your tag to the Auditor's office, you will need to include a copy of the new state's registration for the refund process. If the tag is mailed to the DMV, they should send a receipt to you acknowledging they received the tag. Send a copy of your new state’s registration card and we will process a refund for the unused portion of Property Taxes.
When submitting a refund, please provide a good address to mail the refund to and a contact number if we have additional questions. Please mail refund paperwork to the St. George Auditor's office.
Q: How do I change my address on my vehicle registration card?
A: If you need to change your address on your vehicle registration you do it though the DMV. If you have already received a vehicle tax bill and you have moved to another location in Dorchester County, you will need to contact our office to change the address on your bill and send you a corrected bill. If you have moved out of the county and your have a Green vehicle tax bill, you will need to register in your new county. If you tax bill is Yellow, please contact our office for further assistance.