Frequently Asked Questions
I have moved from one county to another in South Carolina. What should I do?
When moving from county to county in the state of South Carolina, you should make sure that you change your address on your driver's license and registration of every vehicle you own. Keep in mind that we receive DMV records a few months in advance to prepare vehicle renewals on a monthly basis; so you might receive a bill from your previous county. If you do, bring in the bill from the previous county before the end of the month of expiration to have a tax notice prepared. You will also want to contact the previous county so they can remove the bill from their system.
If you do not receive a bill from the previous county, bring in your last registration card and we can produce a bill for you. Then you will need to take the paid tax receipt to the DMV to receive your decal.
When I bought my vehicle, the dealer told me they would take care of the taxes and tags. Why did you send me a bill?
The taxes and tags the dealer paid are for South Carolina sales tax and your DMV license fees. The tax notice you received is for personal property taxes, which must be paid annually.
I want to transfer my license plate to another vehicle. What do I need to do?
Please see the DMV's website for information on transferring a license plate.
I have just purchased a vehicle. What do I need to do?
If you purchased the vehicle through a dealer, you need to know if the dealer is securing a license plate for you from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If they are, they will submit an affidavit of your purchase to the DMV and we will generate a tax notice from this information and mail a notice to you that is due within 120 days of your purchase.
If the dealer is not purchasing your plate, you will need to bring a copy of the bill of sale with lien holder recorded on it or title (if vehicle has no lien) in order for the Auditor to produce a tax notice. You would then take your paid tax receipt along with the other required documents (including proof of insurance) to complete the registration process and secure a plate at the DMV.
What information will I need to have when I arrive at the DMV office?
1)Proof of Residence: electric bill, telephone bill or anything that will show you are a resident of Greenwood County
2)Proof of Insurance: SC state approved insurance on your vehicle
3)Form 400: This form can be downloaded from the DMV website or from our website
4)Out of state registration or title
5)Paid tax receipt from the Tax Collector's office
6)If the vehicle is financed, provide the DMV with your out of state registration. If you own the vehicle out right, the DMV will need the title (Not a Copy)
I am new to South Carolina. How do I register my vehicles?
Please bring your current registration from the other state if you have a lien on the vehicle. If you own the vehicle, bring the title. Please make a note of the odometer reading. We will check for a high mileage credit. We will generate a property tax notice for you to pay. You will pay your property tax in the Tax Collector's office. You will take the paid tax receipt to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office along with your paperwork (see next question for list of items required by DMV) to receive a S.C. license plate.
Annually, you will receive a tax notice. The law allows you 45 days to register your vehicle in the county in which you reside.
What happens if I do not file a property tax return on my business?
The Auditor is required by law to estimate all accounts in which a return was not filed. Estimates may be higher than the original amount filed, if filed in a previous year, due to penalties. If no initial return is filed, then an estimate will be placed on the account.
When are business property tax returns due?
Business Personal Property Returns must be filed by April 30th of each year. Currently there is no provision in the law to allow for an extension of filing returns. As with other forms of personal property (except for motor vehicles), taxes are levied in arrears. If you owned the property on December 31 of the previous year, you are responsible for the taxes for that entire year.
If I own a business, how are my taxes determined on the business personal property?
Owners are required to file an annual personal property tax return to the County Auditor. You can find this form on the Auditor's Office webpage under the Department on the County Home Page.
Why is the tax bill so high on my business?
Each April, businesses are to file a business personal property return with either the State or the County, depending on your business type. You may have received an estimated bill from either this office or the SC Department of Revenue. If you are in the service industry and did not file a Business Personal Property return with us or if you have a retail sales license and did not file with the SC Department of Revenue, you were taxed based on an estimated assessed value. You will have to file an amended return in order to get the tax bill reduced.
How do I register a watercraft/boat motor that I purchased?
You will need to contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Sales tax will be paid to the SC DNR. See the link to the SC DNR on our webpage.
Are boat trailers taxable?
No, not in South Carolina.
Are all watercraft taxable?
Watercraft and boat motors with a fair market value of $500 or less are not taxable.
I am thinking about purchasing a used watercraft/boat motor/airplane. What should I do first?
You should check to see if there are any unpaid property taxes on the piece of personal property that you are considering. The previous owner should pay the taxes, however; please be advised that if the taxes go unpaid it will be your responsibility to pay the taxes. Taxes follow the property, and you may have difficulties registering or renewing registrations if taxes are unpaid. To check for unpaid taxes, please feel free to call us.
How do you determine the value of watercraft/aircraft?
Values of personal property are kept current through annual updates by the SC Department of Revenue and the SC Department of Natural Resources. We currently use nationally recognized sources to determine values on watercraft/aircraft using data provided by the SCDOR and SCDNR.
What is the School Tax Relief on my Real Estate Tax Notice?
The state legislature passed property tax reform measures which include giving all qualifying legal residents 4% homeowners credit on all the school operating taxes, meaning that you are not paying any of the school districts operating taxes, only the school bonds. This credit is not applied on the tax bills of business or personal property, or 6% property owners (land, second home owners). This credit does not appear on your vehicle, boat or other personal property notices.
Do I need to reapply annually?
You do not need to reapply annually unless there is a change which affects the deed to your property. You do need to advise the Auditor's office if:
You sell or rent your house, or
You make changes to the owners listed on the deed, or
There is a change in your disability status, or
The eligible owner dies (requires reapplication by the surviving spouse), or
The surviving spouse remarries
What documents do I need to apply?
Taxpayer must have driver's license, Medicare/Medicaid card or birth certificate as proof of age or letter from the Social Security office with date of entitlement as proof of disability.
Do I have to apply in person?
For this exemption the qualifying homeowner can apply in person. Contact the Auditor's office for more information.
How do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?
You hold complete fee simple title or life estate to primary residence and
as of December 31 preceding the tax year of exemption you were a legal resident of South Carolina for one calendar year and
as of December 31 preceding the tax year of the exemption, you were 65 years of age, or declared totally and permanently disabled by a state or federal agency having the authority to make such a declaration or were legally blind as certified by a licensed ophthalmologist.
What is the Homestead Exemption Program?
Homestead Exemption is in addition to what South Carolina calls Legal Residence. Homeowners who are 65 or older or 100% disabled through Social Security and a South Carolina resident for at least one year may qualify for this exemption. See South Tax Code Section 12-37-250 for additional information on required qualifications. Taxpayer will receive benefit in tax year after meeting eligibility requirements.
Are there any special exemptions for POW's or Medal of Honor recipients?
If you are 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 South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR) using form PT-401, Application for Exemption. This form may be obtained through the South Carolina Department of Revenue link on our website.
What property is included in the Active Duty Military Exemption and how do I apply?
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 recreation watercraft (like wave runners and jet skis), aircraft and mobile homes (occupied by the owner). The property may be titled in the name of the military service member and/or their spouse in order to qualify for a 100% exemption. In order for your mobile home to qualify, it must be the service member's primary residence. To obtain the exemption, the service member can submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement to the Auditor's office or complete a Military Exemption Application and submit it to the Auditor's office.
I still have title to my vehicle but I turned the tag in to the DMV and cancelled the insurance. Do I still owe property tax?
If you still own the vehicle (tagged or untagged) you are required to pay property tax. If you choose not to pay the tax when due we may, by state law, charge you up to three years of back taxes when you retag the vehicle.
I've turned my tag in to the DMV and it had not expired. Can I get a refund on the tax I have already paid?
If you sold the vehicle, turned the tag in to the DMV and it had not expired you may be entitled to a partial refund. Contact the Auditor's office for more information.
I sold the vehicle that you sent me a tax notice on. What do I need to do?
Please contact our office and we will need to remove the charge from our records. If you sold the vehicle and transferred the tag to another vehicle, taxes will be due on the vehicle that the license plate is on when the plate is ready for renewal.
When are vehicle taxes due?
Personal property taxes on vehicles must be paid before you can purchase or renew a license plate with the DMV. Taxes are due throughout the year on a staggered monthly schedule. The month you register your vehicle will also be the renewal month the following year. As long as all information is correct with the DMV, a renewal notice will be mailed to you from the County in which you reside. When moving to South Carolina, you have 45 days to register your vehicle.
What is the assessment ratio on vehicles?
An amendment to the South Carolina Constitution, Article X, Section 1(8)(B)(1) reduced the assessment ratio on personal motor vehicles including motorcycles from 10.5% to 6% over six years beginning with the 2002 tax year. The 6% ratio was applied in the 2007 tax year. The reduced assessment ratio only applies to personal automobiles, lightweight trucks and personal motorcycles. The laws were changed in 2006, to amend the gross vehicle weight to 11,000 lbs. or less and the net vehicle weight to 9,000 lbs. or less. Any vehicle listed in a business name is taxed at a 10.5% ratio. All medium and heavy trucks classified by the manufacturer are valued at 10.5%.
How do I figure out how much my taxes will be on a new vehicle I am purchasing?
We have a manual provided to us by the SC Department of Revenue that shows the value of most all vehicles. When an assessed value is not available in the DOR vehicle manual, we use other nationally recognized sources. We can give you an estimate from our manual by phone, fax, or e-mail. You must be able to provide us with the Vehicle Identification Number, Year, Make, Model and your Greenwood County address in order for us to give an accurate estimate.
If you want to figure an estimated amount yourself, take the market value (before any rebates, allowances, or trade ins) and multiply that by 6% if the vehicle will be in your personal name or by 10.5% if the vehicle will be in a business name or is over 11,000 lbs gross vehicle weight. After you have done that, you will multiply your answer by the tax rate of the district you live in. We can give you the tax rate if you will tell us what your address is or you can find the tax rate on any of your tax bills for the current year. If you need an exact amount, you will need to fax, email, or come in and bring a title or bill of sale.
How do I know if my vehicle qualifies for a high mileage discount?
We have a chart provided to us by the SC Department of Revenue for mileage adjustments. You can call, fax or email our office and give us your mileage and year of your vehicle to find out if you are eligible. The high mileage chart for the current year can also be found on our website.
Can I get a reduction of my vehicle taxes?
You can apply for high mileage on your vehicle by completing the form on this website and emailing it or faxing the specific odometer reading to us along with your tax notice. We will then compare with our SC Department of Revenue guidelines and determine if you qualify and reply by fax, email or when you come into our office. Please note that you must apply for high mileage before paying your vehicle tax and prior to the end of the month in which your property tax is due. The Auditor's office reserves the right to check any odometer reading to verify. You must reapply for this discount annually.
You may also apply in person in the Auditor's office or by mailing in the completed form on the bottom of your tax notice.
Does your office accept credit cards?
Can I pick up my check?
No, all payments must be mailed.
I know a payment has been made but I have not received my check. What do I do?
A stop payment may be placed on a check. You may fill out a form at the Child Support Office, Room 103, Greenwood, South Carolina 29646 the inside payment window at or you may mail the request and information to Child Support Attn: Betty Jo Ouzts. Once the form has been filled out or the request mailed you must return it to the Child Support Office for reissue.
How can I find out if a payment has been made?
You may come and check in person. We are unable to give out information over the telephone due to security reasons.
How do I get a payment history of my account?
You may come into the office and to the payment window to request it. There is a .25 charge for each page of payments.
How do I change my address and/or name?
You may come into the office and fill out a form at the payment window or mail to Family Court, Room 103, Greenwood, South Carolina 29646 or fax the information to our office @ (864) 943-2640. We will need a copy of your picture ID.
When will I receive my payments?
After a payment is posted, the payment to the custodial parent is mailed the next working day.
The County Auditor, an appointed official, maintains records on all County real estate and personal property assessed valuation and computes the millage rate to produce revenue to be collected for all Taxing entities in Greenwood County. Provides Homestead Exemption for the disabled and the senior citizens of the County.
The specific duties of the Auditor are spelled out in Title 12,Chapter 39 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Most of the duties of the Auditor are regulated by the South Carolina Department of Revenue, although some of the Auditor's activities fall under the regulation of the South Carolina Comptroller General's Office.