Real Property

There are three methods typically used by appraisers to value real property. These are the Cost Approach, Sales Comparison Approach and Income Approach. Not every method is applicable to every property.
The cost approach is a real estate valuation method that surmises that the price a buyer should pay for a piece of property should equal the cost to build an equivalent building. In cost approach appraisal, the market price for the property is equal to the cost of land, plus cost of construction, less
depreciation.
The sales comparison approach is also based on the principle of substitution: it uses sales of similar properties as a basis for comparison. It is rooted in the principal that the arms-length, negotiated sale price of similar properties, best indicates the market value of the subject property. Adjustments must be made for differences in attributes, such as location, size, quality, condition, special features.
The income approach is based on the anticipated income stream generated by the use of the property and the desired return on investment. In this approach, the income (net or gross) a property will generate is estimated. Capitalization rates (rate of return) or multipliers are used to predict value. This approach is used primarily for commercial and rental property.

The appraised value is the value estimate established by the assessor from the last reassessment, an assessable transfer of interest, the value as a result of an appeal, or the value after new construction/remodeling. The appraised value may be capped based on the last reassessment (15% limitation)
The assessed value is the result of multiplying the appraised value by the appropriate assessment ratio of 4%, 6% or 10.5%.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-37-3130 & 12-37-3135

Assessable transfer of interest (ATI) means a transfer of an existing interest in real property that subjects the real property to appraisal (revalued at a more current date of value in between reassessments). For purposes of this definition, an existing interest in real property includes life estate interests. A nonexclusive list of events that constitute an ATI is provided in South Carolina Code of Laws 12-37-3150.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-220

To qualify for the special property tax assessment ratio, the owner-occupant(s) must have actually owned and occupied the residence as his/her legal residence and been domiciled at that address for some period during the applicable tax year.
You must file an application and provide all required documents listed on the application as proof that your only legal residence is in Berkeley County. Incomplete applications or those missing information/documents will not be processed.
Online 4% Legal Residence application
Filing as early in the year as possible, well before tax bills are mailed is highly recommended. Once tax bills are mailed the number of applications received per week increase and the number received per week continues to climb as the end of the year and the last day to pay taxes near.

Homestead Exemption – Homeowners age 65 or older or deemed permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Please contact the Auditor’s Office

South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) Property Tax Exemption – Veterans that are permanently and totally disabled as a result of a service connected disability, Former law enforcement officer, who is permanently and totally disabled as a result of a law enforcement service connected disability in this State, Former firefighter, including volunteer firefighter who is permanently or totally disabled as a result of a firefighting service connected disability in this State, Paraplegic or Hemiplegic homeowner.

Please contact the SCDOR at 1-803-898-5000 or visit them at www.dor.sc.gov for information regarding this exemption.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-220

If you receive military orders for a PCS or a TDY for at least one year, you are required to file the Active Duty Military Special Assessment Supplement Application with this office, on or before the first penalty date (usually January 15th) of the year in which you wish to receive the military exemption. Please keep in mind that this is an annual application that must be filed every year applicable, on or before the first penalty date.
Special Assessment Active Duty Military Supplement Application

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-232

Agricultural use value refers to the appraisal value assigned to those acreage tracts of land that qualified based on bona fide agricultural use of the property.


  • If the tract is used to grow timber it must be five acres or more or be contiguous to or under the same management system as a tract of timberland which meets the minimum requirements.
  • For tracts not used to grow timber, tracts must be ten acres or more.
  • Tracts not meeting the acreage requirements may qualify if the person making the application earned at least $1,000 of gross farm income for at least three of the five taxable years preceding the year of application.

The Assessor may require the applicant to give written authorization consistent with privacy laws allowing the Assessor to very if farm income from the Department of Revenue or the IRS and to provide Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service farm identification number of the tract and allow verification with the ASCS Office

An application must be filed with the Assessor’s office on or before the first penalty date for taxes due for the first year in which the special assessment is claimed. Applications can be filed online, incomplete applications or those missing information/documents will not be processed. You must file a separate application for each qualifying parcel.

You may access the application by clicking on this link Agricultural Use Application

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-220

When real property valued and assessed as agricultural property is changed to a use other than agricultural it is subject to additional taxes, referred to as rollback taxes. Rollback taxes are calculated on the difference between what was paid under agricultural use verses what would have been paid as nonagricultural property. The rollback taxes can be applied to the property for the preceding five (5) years.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-60-2510, 12-60-2520 & 12-43-217

Objections must be in writing, you are able to file an online appeal by clicking on the following link: Informal Appeal. The Informal Appeal Request Form can be located under Forms & Documents.

If you received a Notice of Classification, Appraisal & Assessment of Values, appeal rights expire within 90 days of date the notice was mailed. The deadline is shown on the Notice.

If no Assessment Notice is sent, the taxpayer has until the last day to pay taxes without a penalty to file the Informal Appeal for that tax year. Generally, the last day to pay without penalty is January 15th.

Your objection must contain the following:

  • Identification of the property in question, Tax Map Number (TMS) and property address (if applicable)
  • Basis of your appeal
  • Your opinion of Value
  • Contact name and telephone number

You may be contacted by a representative of the Assessor’s office to discuss your issues, either by telephone or scheduled conference

Step 1. Informal Review A certified appraiser will conduct an informal review of all timely-filed appeals.

Step 2. Notice of Decision The assessor will notify the property owner of the results of the review by mailing a notice of decision

Step 3. Board of Appeals After receiving the assessor’s notice of decision you can appeal to the County Board of Assessment Appeals by filing a written protest with the board within 30 days of the notice of decision date.

Step 4. Administrative Law Court Division If you are not satisfied with the decision made by the County Board of Assessment Appeals, you may appeal to the Administrative Law Judge Division within 30 days of the County Board of Assessment Appeals written decision.

Taxpayers are urged to file objections for any tax year early in the year (in the spring if possible). Objections are handled in the order received. Filing an objection does not relieve the taxpayer of the obligation to pay the current bill while the objection process proceeds. For that reason, filing well before bills are issued is advised.

A notice of property tax assessment is not a property tax bill. In general, a Notice of Classification, Appraisal and Assessment of Values informs the owner of a value change, or of approval, removal or denial of various exemptions or special assessments. Notices relating to value changes are sent primarily the year after a change is made to a property, after an error is discovered, after the property transfers, or there is a countywide reassessment. Some of the changes that may trigger a notice are new buildings, new improvements, renovations, additions, subdividing property, etc.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-217

Once every fifth year each county or the State shall appraise and equalize those properties under its jurisdiction. Property valuation must be complete at the end of December of the fourth year and the county or State shall notify every taxpayer of any change in value or classification if the change is one thousand dollars or more. In the fifth year, the county or State shall implement the program and assess all property on the newly appraised values.

The amount of property tax due is based upon three elements: (1) the property value, (2) the assessment ratio applicable to the property used to determine assessed value, and (3) the millage rate imposed by the taxing jurisdictions.

  • Was your property affected by an “assessable transfer of interest” (ATI)?
  • The neighbor’s tax bill is $600, but your tax bill is $900. Your “neighbor” bought his house in 2005 and you bought your home in 2008.
  • SC voters approved a 15% cap to be applied against the prior-year value for all conveyances occurring prior to the 2007 tax year. The prior year value of your neighbor’s property is capped at 15% when implementing county-wide reassessment
  • SC state law requires the removal of the 15% cap when an assessable transfer of interest occurs after the 2006 tax year. SC law requires a “point-of-sale” reassessment with a current market value having an effective appraisal date of December 31st of the year that the “ATI” conveyance occurred.
  • Have you applied for the legal resident exemption?
  • Are you age 65 or over and qualify for homestead exemption?

Do you qualify for an agricultural use value?

You may submit your request for change of address concerning your real property tax bill to this office, by completing the Change of Address Application

This office will update the mailing address for the following: residential, vacant land, and commercial buildings.

To request an address change for your vehicle(s) or business personal property, please contact the Auditor’s Office.

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