Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who do I make my check payable to?                                          A. Lancaster County Treasurer                                        

Property Tax

Q. What is the time table for collecting property taxes in Lancaster County? 
 A. Taxes are collected on the following schedule for the year that ended December 31. Important dates are:

Real estate notices by law have to be mailed 30 days prior to due date. 

January 15 - Taxes Due
January 16 - 3% Penalty added to bill
February 2 - 10% Penalty added to bill
March 17 - 15% Penalty added to bill and turned over to Deliquent Tax Collector

Dates can change due to weekend or Holidays

Q: Why did the Treasurer send my bill to the wrong address? How can I update my address?
A. The Treasurer does not maintain owner records. The Assessor maintains Land and Building records. The Auditor maintains Personal Property and Vehicle records. The Vehicle records are received from the DMV. It is the taxpayers' responsibility to notify the correct respective offices of changes in address. 

You can update your address on everything except motor vehicles by looking up your tax record on this web site and clicking the 'Update Mailing Address Information' button.

 

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. Contact the Auditor's office in order to bring proper documentation to qualify.
 

For more information about the Homestead Exemption program, click HERE.
 

Q: Why did the Treasurer raise my taxes? 
A: The Treasurer does not determine property tax amounts. The amount of tax money needed is decided by each of the area's taxing authorities. The Assessor's Office determines appraisal values for real property while the Auditor calculates the tax. The County Council,  School Board and each one of the councils of the municipalities  determine how much revenue is needed to meet their individual budgets. If taxes are increased , these entities are solely responsible for tax increase.
 

Q. Is there any way to reduce my tax bill? 
A. Yes. There are several exemptions on real estate that you may qualify for if you are disabled or a non-profit organization. You will need to contact the Auditor's Office at 803-285-7424. Your may qualify for legal residence on your home if you are living in the home and the home is in your name. Contact the Assessor's Office at 803-285-6964 for more information.
 

Q. Where do property tax dollars go? 
A. Property tax dollars go to fund the following:
    * To support administration  of County government and public school system
    * To build and repair public buildings for County and schools
    * To pay expenses of court, county jail and law enforcement
    * To provide for fire protection
    * To pay salaries for County and school district employees.
 

Vehicle Tax

Q: When are the taxes due on my motor vehicle? 
A. Taxes on motor vehicles and recreational vehicles must be paid before your license plate tags can be renewed. These taxes are due by the last day of the month in which your tag expires. 

In South Carolina, vehicle taxes are paid a year in advance.  If you are renewing your vehicle license tag, you can pay your taxes and renewal fee to the Treasurer's Office and eliminate having to go to the  South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) .

Q: Why am I being charged taxes for the vehicle I just purchased? Didn't I pay the taxes when I bought my vehicle? The dealer told me he would take care of tags and taxes. 
A. There are two taxes when purchasing a vehicle: property tax with the County Treasurer's Office and sales tax with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, they are allowed to pick up your registration and license tags without paying the local property taxes. When the dealer states that they are taking care of your taxes, they are referring to South Carolina sales tax, which is paid at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. This allows you a 120 day grace period to delay payment of personal property taxes on your new vehicle.

Dealers must have a paid property tax receipt for the vehicle in order to register and have tags issued unless it is a South Carolina dealership from which the vehicle was purchased and there the proper form granting the 120 day grace period has been filled out and signed by the South Carolina dealership.  If the vehicle was purchased from a dealership outside of the state of South Carolina, then there is no 120 day grace period available and the property taxes have to be paid within 45 days of the date of the purchase of the vehicle in order for the vehicle to be registered and issued tags.


Q: Why am I getting a tax bill for a vehicle or boat that I no longer own?
A: If you receive a tax notice for a vehicle you no longer own, you will need to contact the Auditor's Office at 803-285-7424. If you receive a tax notice for a boat or motor that you no longer own, you must notify the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at Post Office Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or online at www.dnr.sc.gov. Boats and motors are taxed based on what you owned on December 31st of the year prior. You will also need to contact the Auditor's Office for further information. There are forms to be completed online at the above address with the Department of Natural Resources or are available in the Auditor's office.

Q: How do I apply for high mileage discount on my vehicle? 
A. To apply for a high mileage appeal,  print this FORM. You can also visit the Auditor's office and sign an affidavit stating the mileage of your vehicle prior to due date.

News & Updates

Real estate & personal property tax bills are due by January 15th without penalites. If the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, you will have until 5:00 pm the next business day to pay without penalty. After March 16th,  real estate & personal property taxes will be turned over to the Tax Collectors office.  Motor Vehicle bills are mailed on the 15th of the month, one month prior to bills being due and are due on the last day of the month. The decal will come from the South Carolina DMV Office if you pay by mail, phone, or online within 7-10 business days. If you don’t receive the decal within 7-10 business days, please call DMV @  1-803-896-5000.

You can pay your tax bill in the office, by mail, by phone 1-888-525-3661 or HERE ONLINE.