Everything You Need To Know About Property Taxes in Charleston

What SC Homeowners and Buyers Need to Know About Taxes
June 17, 2021
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Everything You Need To Know About Property Taxes in Charleston

Property Taxes in Charleston

Have you ever asked yourself why you have to pay property tax and what does it mean? Let’s find out about Charleston SC property tax.

Property taxes in America are collected by local governments and are usually based on the value of a property. The money collected is generally used to support community safety, schools, infrastructure and other public projects. Simply put, property taxes are taxes levied on real estate by governments, typically on the state, county and local levels. Tax-related questions are varied by area.

Property taxes are one of the oldest forms of taxation. In fact, the earliest known record of property taxes dates back to the 6th century B.C. In the U.S., property taxes predate even income taxes.
Discovering Charleston SC property taxes, let’s see the main pattern and understand how much are property taxes in Charleston SC.

  • Primary Residences  – 4 percent fair market value
  • Other Real Estate – 6 percent fair market value
  • Personal Property (some motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, business personal property)  – 10.5 percent fair market value of personal property tax charleston SC
  • Commercial Boats – 5 percent fair market value
  • Primary-Residence Boats – 4 percent fair market value
  • Agricultural Property (privately-owned) – 4 percent fair market value
  • Agricultural Property (corporate-owned) – 6 percent use value
  • Manufacturing & Utility Property – 10.5 percent fair market value
  • Railroad, Airline, & Pipeline Property – 9.5 percent fair market value

Let’s break it down a bit. Since there are so many Charleston SC properties as second homes and/or investment properties there are a different set of rules for calculating your yearly real estate taxes than those with primary residence.

Any residential properties that are not your primary residence will be assessed at the 6% millage rate, and when you purchase a new property the new assessed value will be the purchase price so your taxes will be based on the final closed sale price.

A simple rule of thumb to quickly get an idea of what your Charleston SC property taxes will be if a real estate property is currently based on a primary home rate of 4% and you’re buying it as something other than primary residence is to double what it currently is.

Charleston sc property tax rate varies, primary Residences: 4.0% of fair market value Agricultural Property (privately owned): 4.0% of use value Agricultural Property (corporate owned:) 6.0% of use value Other real estate (such as second homes, investment property etc): 6.0% of fair market value. 

Example of $1,000,000 for Primary residence at 4%

Based on Primary Residence located in Downtown Charleston. Millage rate varies from municipality to municipality. Here is more detailed info on the calculation.

Example of $1,000,000 for Primary residence at 4%

Example at 1,000,000 for Secondary residence at 6%

Based on a Residence located in Downtown Charleston. Millage rate varies from municipality to municipality. 

Example at 1,000,000 for Secondary residence at 6%

There are many ways to calculate taxes and keep track of paying them accordingly. Missing tax payments can cause bigger problems than the taxes itself. 

Charleston County property tax rate

Charleston County encompasses the city of Charleston in the southeastern portion of the state, near the Atlantic Ocean. The average effective Property tax in Charleston county SC is just 0.47%, one of the lowest rates in the state. Compared to the other states in South Carolina Charleston county is in 5th place of its low property tax out of 46 other counties.

However, homebuyers in Charleston County should keep in mind the cost of flood insurance. Even for homes that are not directly on the shore, flood insurance in Charleston County can cost thousands of dollars a year, often more than property taxes.

Nowadays it is not so hard to estimate Charleston county SC property tax bills and other areas online which can provide an accurate estimate.

What Are Property Tax Exemptions?

A tax exemption is the right to exclude all or some income from taxation by federal or state governments. Some taxpayers are entitled to reduce their taxable income while there are certain individuals/companies that are completely exempt from paying taxes. Some of the most common tax exemptions are property taxes.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common Charleston county SC property tax exemptions:  

  • Homestead
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Veterans/Disabled Veterans

Most states and counties include certain property tax exemptions beyond the full exemptions granted to religious or nonprofit groups. These specialized exemptions are usually a reduction of up to 50% of taxable value. However, rates can vary by location, by area and of course state.

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