Tax Frequent Questions
Q. When are my property taxes due?
A. By law, property tax bills have to be mailed out at least 30 days prior to the due date. They are due by January 15th without penalty unless the 15th falls on a weekend or a holiday. If the 15th does fall on a weekend or holiday, you will have until 5:00 p.m. the next business day to pay without penalty.
After March 16th (unless on a weekend or holiday), they are turned over to the Tax Collector, 864-984-4742.
Q: Why did the Treasurer send my bill to the wrong address?
A. The Treasurer does not maintain owner records. The Assessor maintains Land and Buildings records while the Auditor maintains Personal Property and Vehicle records and these records are dependent on taxpayers to notify their offices of changes in address.
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 qualifying for exemptions, benefits and how to apply, 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 anyway to reduce my tax bill?
A. Yes. There are several exemptions on real estate that you may qualify for. You will need to contact the Auditor’s Office at 864-984-2535. 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 864-984-6546 for more information.
Q. Where do property tax dollars go?
A. Property tax dollars go to fund the following:
* To support administration of the Laurens 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.
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 Highway Department.
Q: Why am I being charged taxes for the vehicle I just purchased? Didn’t I pay the taxes when I bought my vehicle?
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 Revenue. 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. This allows you a 120 day grace period to delay payment of personal property taxes on your new vehicle.
If you are purchasing a vehicle from an individual, you must come to the Auditor’s to register your vehicle, go to the Treasurer’s office to pay the county taxes and then pay your South Carolina sales tax at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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 864-984-2535. 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. You will also need to contact the Auditor’s Office for further information. There are forms to be completed 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, you may visit the Auditor’s Office in person or apply by mail prior to the due date.
Q. How do I apply for Senior Citizen Discount on vehicle renewal fees?
A. This happens automatically through your South Carolina drivers license.