Personal Property Tax


What is personal property tax?
Personal property is all things other than real estate which have value. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers, and motor homes are taxed yearly in the same month they were originally registered at the SCDMV. Marine equipment, aircraft, and items used in a business such as furniture, fixtures and equipment are also taxed yearly, but are taxed based on ownership as of December 31st of the previous year.
When are personal property taxes due?

  • Real estate, marine equipment, aircraft, and items used in a business such as furniture, fixtures and equipment are billed in arears and mailed out in October of every year and are due by January 15th of the following year. If paid after January 15th, late penalties will be charged.
  • Cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers, and motorhome taxes are billed in the future and are due the last day of the month in which the license expires.

How do you determine the value of my watercraft?
Marine equipment tax information is provided to each county by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. By Law, the Auditor’s Office is required to tax using this information. (Boats are taxed at 10.5%. The tax rate is subject to a reduction of 4% if they are used as a primary residence. If you use the interest paid for the boat on your income tax return as a second home, the taxes can be lowered to a 6% rate). You may print and complete the form on our web page to submit to our office for approval and tax reduction. For any further questions you may contact the Department of Natural Resources at:

1000 Assembly Street
Rembert Dennis Bldg., Room 104
Columbia, SC 29202
 or 217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, SC 29422

Marine equipment valued at $500.00 or less is exempt from property taxes.
If you are active duty military, stationed in SC claiming another state as your home of record, marine equipment in your name may be exempted from property taxes. A current leave and earning statement (LONG FORM) must be filed with the Auditor’s Office.
Is it possible to appeal the value of my watercraft?
You may appeal the value of your watercraft by submitting a bill of sale or a written dealer appraisal to the Auditor’s office.
Are boat trailers taxable?
Boat trailers are no longer taxed. The taxpayer may obtain a license tag from the SCDMV to allow the trailer to be pulled across SC state lines. An exempt tax receipt may be obtained from the Auditor’s Office.
Are utility trailers taxable?
Utility trailers with a power-towing unit and a GVW equal to or less than 26,000 lbs does not require a property tax receipt. You may go to any local SCDMV office and pay a one-time fee to obtain a permanent license plate.
Utility trailers in a business name with a GVW of equal to or less than 26,000 lbs does require a paid tax receipt.
How are Business Personal Property taxes determined?
The South Carolina Code of Regulations Chapter 117-1840-1 states: The fair market value of merchants’ furniture, fixtures and equipment shall be the depreciated value as shown by the merchants’ records for South Carolina income tax purposes, provided however; that in no event is the original cost of the property to be reduced by more than ninety percent of the original capitalized costs.
Any property licensed in the State of South Carolina such as vehicles, marine equipment or aircraft would not be included on the return. Leased and/or rented equipment should not be included on the return.
What are the penalties for failure to file the Business Personal Property tax return?
South Carolina Law states that all items of personal property used in a business shall be assessed for property tax purposes. It also states that all businesses are required to file a personal property tax return on or before April 30th or 120 days after the close of their accounting period regularly employed for income tax purposes. A 10% penalty is added for late filing. There are no provisions for extensions.
What form do I use to file my Business Personal Property tax?
Businesses with a retail license must file a form PT100 to South Carolina Department of Revenue. This form is available on the SC Department of Revenue web site. For additional Information you may contact the SC Department of Revenue at (803)898-5222.
All other businesses must file a return with the Berkeley County Auditor’s office. A copy of the return may be printed from the Business Personal Property Return (PDF).

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