Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is ad valorem tax?
A: Ad valorem tax is property tax, which means according to value. Ad valorem tax is based on the value of all taxable property in the county.
Q: What is a millage rate?
A: The tax rate, or millage rate, is set annually by the Clarendon County Council. A tax rate of one mill represents a tax liability of one penny per $1.00 (one dollar) of assessed value. Each governing authority estimates their total revenue from other sources. This figure is subtracted from their overall budgetary needs, and then a millage rate is set that will generate the necessary revenues to fulfill budgetary requirements.
Q: How is my tax bill calculated?
A: To calculate a tax bill, first deduct any exemptions that may apply from the assessed value; thus generating a net assessed (taxable) value. Next, the net assessed value is multiplied by the millage rate to get the tax dollar amount due.
Q: Why do I have to pay taxes on my vehicle when I have turned in the tags and/or the vehicle has not been in use?
A: You pay taxes on what you “own” not what you drive. As long as the vehicle is still registered in your name and has not been traded, junked, or sold; you are responsible for paying the property taxes due.
Q: What is a road fee?
A: Every vehicle registered in this county pays an annual road fee of $25.00 per ordinance of Clarendon County.
Q: Why am I getting a tax bill on a car I just bought from a dealer? Were not taxes and tags included?
A: When a dealer sells you a vehicle, the taxes that are included are “sales” taxes. The bill that you received is for county property taxes. You have a 120-day grace period form the date of purchase of your new vehicle in which to pay the county property tax due on your vehicle. If you do not pay the county property taxes due on your new vehicle in which the dealer purchased your plates for you, a notice will be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend you Driver’s License 30 days after the due date of the taxes. If your driver’s license is suspended for non-payment of property taxes and you also hold a CDL (Commerical Driver’s License) it will also be affected by the suspension.
Q: Do senior citizens get property tax discounts on cars like on homes?
A: Property taxes are governed by state law in South Carolina. Currently, state law does not provide property tax discounts to senior citizens for vehicle property taxes.
Q: How do I appeal the value of my vehicle
A: You may appeal the value of your vehicle by wrting the County Auditor by your due date. An appeal from the previous year does not carry forward. Patricia Pringle - P.O. Box 697 Manning, Sc 29102
Q: How do I appeal the value of my personal property
A: Personal property licensed or registered with a state agency must be appealed to the County Auditor in writing and given on or before the due date of the tax notice. Other personal property under the jurisdiction of the county auditor and controlled by regulation of the South Carolina Department of Revenue may be appealed to the Department of Revenue in writing by the tax due date.
Q: What property is included in the Active Duty Military Exemption and how do I apply?
A: If your home of record is not South Carolina, you do not have to pay personal property taxes on property which you own while permanently stationed in this state. This exemption does not include county taxes on real property. The exemption covers motor vehicles (including trucks), campers, motor homes, boats and outboard motors, personal recreational watercraft (like wave-runners and jet-skis), aircraft and mobile homes (occupied by the owner). The property must be singularly titled in the name of the military service member in order to qualify for a 100% exemption. If there is a non military co-owner, only 50% of the exemption will be applied. In order for your mobile home to be qualified, it must be the service member's primary residence. To obtain the exemption, the service member must submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement and a copy of their Military ID to the County Auditor Office. The exemption is valid for only one year, so you will need to reapply every year.
Q: Are there any special exemptions for POW's or Medal of Honor recipient?
A: If you were a POW or a Medal of Honor recipient, you may qualify for an exemption from property tax on up to two motor vehicles. Application should be made through the SC Department of Revenue (DOR).
Q: What is the Homestead Exemption program?
A: In 1972, the S.C. General Assembly passed the Homestead Exemption Law which provides real estate property tax relief for South Carolinians who are age 65 and over, totally and permanently disabled, or legally blind. The exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of your legal residence.
Q: How do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?
A: You may qualify for the Homestead Exemption if you
ARE at least 65 years of age on or before December 31, preceding the tax year in which you wish to claim the exemption; OR
ARE certified totally and permanently disabled by a state or federal agency; OR
ARE legally blind; OR
ARE a legal resident of South Carolina for at least one year on or before December 31 of the year prior to the exemption; AND
HOLD fee simple title or partial title to your house, mobile home, or life estate on or before December 31 of the year prior to the exemption, and have been approved to receive the 4% legal residence tax assessment ratio, AND
WERE a legal residence of South Carolina for one year
Q: Do I have to apply in person?
A: For this exemption, the qualifying homeowner must apply in person at the County Auditor's office; however, if unable to appear, the homeowner may authorize someone who holds Power of Attorney to him/her to make application by providing him or her with the proper documents. The state does not allow us to send application forms out of the office.
Q: What documents do I need to apply?
A: You will need to provide proof of eligibility by providing proof of your age or disability. To prove your age, you may use your Medicaid or Medicare card, a driver's license, or a birth certificate. If applying because of disability or blindness, bring certification from a state or federal agency. The agency must have the proper authority to make the certification.
Q: I have two houses but am receiving discounts on one but not the other. Can I receive it on both?
A: No. State law provides that property tax exemptions and discounts apply only to the one legal residence of an eligible owner. (Note: married couples are eligible for only one legal residence.)