Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the time table for collecting property taxes in Barnwell County?

Answer: Taxes are collected on the following schedule for the year that ended December 31. Important dates are:

  • Mid October – Books open, tax notices mailed
  • 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 Delinquent Tax Collector

Q: When are the taxes due on my motor vehicle?

Answer: 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 did the treasurer raise my taxes?

Answer: 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’s Office 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?

Answer: Yes. There are several exemptions on real estate that you may qualify for. You will need to contact the Auditor’s Office at 803-541-1040. You 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 803-541-1011 for more information.

Q: How can I change my mailing address?

Answer: To update your mailing address on your real estate bill, contact the Assessor’s Office at 803-541-1011. The address on your vehicle tax bill is based on your driver’s license at the DMV.

Q: How do I apply for a high mileage discount on my vehicle?

Answer: To apply for a high mileage appeal, mail or bring in a signed statement with exact mileage to the Auditor’s Office before the due date.

Q: How do I apply for a senior citizen discount on vehicle renewal fees?

Answer: A discount is available on registration fees only, not taxes. It is recommended that customers apply directly to the DMV for the deduction, that way your social security number remains more secure.

Q: Why am I being charged taxes for the vehicle I just purchased? The dealer told me he would take care of tags and taxes.

Answer: There are two taxes when purchasing a vehicle: property tax with the county treasurer’s office and sales tax with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles.

The dealership is allowed to pick up your tags on a vehicle without paying local property taxes. When the dealer states that they are taking care of your taxes, they are referring to sales tax, which is paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles, not your property tax paid to the Treasurer’s Office. This allows you a 120 day grace period to delay payment of personal property taxes on your new vehicle.

Q: Why am I getting a tax bill for a vehicle or boat that I no longer own?

Answer: If you receive a tax notice for a vehicle you no longer own, you will need to contact the Auditor’s Office at 803-541-1040. A form needs to be completed to remove the vehicle from the tax rolls. If you receive a tax notice for a boat or motor that you no longer own, you must notify the SC Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.

Q: Why did I receive two tax notices for the same property?

Answer: The county assesses taxes on the real property, but if it is rental property or business, you are assessed on the furniture, fixtures, and equipment within that property. The value is based on the information provided on the PT-100 (Business Personal Property Tax) filed with the SC Department of Revenue..

Q: Where does the treasurer invest funds, and what are the constraints on investment of county monies?

Answer:  Sections 12-45-220 and 6-5-10 of the S.C. Code of Laws limit the treasurer as to where public funds may be invested. These code sections allow investment:

  1. in obligations of the United States and its agencies with the United States that are fullyguaranteed by the federal government;
  2. in bonds of certificates of indebtedness of the State of South Carolina and its agencies;
  3. in shares of any building and loan association insured by an agency of the United States;
  4. with banking institutions of South Carolina.

Q: What is the Homestead Exemption program?

Answer: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.

For more information about the Homestead Exemption program, click here