South Carolina’s 2016 annual effective property tax rate was 0.57%, the fifth-lowest rate in the United States. The following is a look at how property taxes compare across South Carolina counties and across state lines; how low property taxes impact South Carolina schools; and how the state compensates for the lack of tax revenue.

Counties in South Carolina With the Highest and Lowest Property Taxes

As of May 2016, Newberry County had the highest property tax rate in South Carolina. The average effective property tax rate was 0.82%. Richland County and Lee County had the second- and third-highest property tax rates, with average rates of 0.77 and 0.74%, respectively. None of these counties, however, have the highest median annual property tax payment in South Carolina. Residents of Beaufort County paid a median annual property tax of $1,331. Charleston County residents paid a median annual property tax of $1,215, while Dorchester County residents paid a median annual property tax of $1,174.

Horry County and Chesterfield County had the lowest property tax rate in 2016. Both counties assessed an average property tax levy of 0.39%. The third-lowest property tax rate in South Carolina was 0.41%, in Florence County. Chesterfield County residents paid the lowest median annual property tax at $306. Marlboro County and Dillon County had the second- and third-lowest median property tax assessments at $342 and $363, respectively.

How South Carolina Property Taxes Compare to Neighboring States

Only two states border South Carolina: North Carolina and Georgia. Property taxes are relatively lower in South Carolina than in neighboring states. In 2016, North Carolina’s average effective property tax rate was 0.85%, the 20th in the U.S. Georgia’s average effective rate was 0.96%, or 25th in the country. Although Florida is nearby, it also had a higher rate. Its average effective property tax rate was 1.1%, or 30th in the U.S.

How South Carolina Property Taxes Compare to the National Average

South Carolina has one of the most favorable average property tax rates in the country. In 2016, the median assessment of property tax in South Carolina was $689, the sixth-lowest nationwide. South Carolina also has the sixth-lowest ratio of property taxes compared to average individual income. Only 1.32% of an individual’s income went toward property taxes in 2016. Finally, the average property tax assessment in South Carolina was 0.5% of the properties assessed value. This was also sixth-lowest in the U.S.

Other Taxes in South Carolina

One reason South Carolina is able to assess such a low average property tax rate is because of numerous other taxes the state levies. As of 2016, South Carolina assesses a personal income tax, with six tax brackets topping out at 7%. South Carolina’s state sales tax rate as of May 2016 was 6%, and lodging taxes were 7%. In addition, the states imposed a 5% casual excise tax on all motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats and airplanes. South Carolina has multiple revenue streams from tax assessments, which allows the levying of lower property tax rates.

Impact of Property Taxes on Public Education System

With two-thirds of property tax revenue going to support public education, low rates have an impact on overall education. Although South Carolina has other tax revenue streams, it comes in 36th nationwide for how much money is spent on public education. WalletHub ranked South Carolina’s public school system as the sixth-worst school system for 2015, excluding the District of Columbia. Although low property tax rates are beneficial to property owners and prospective home buyers, the impact of this low tax assessment is decreased spending on public education, resulting in poor performance rates by students and districts.

Tennessee Property Tax Guide

Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Your Property Tax Assessment: What Does It Mean?

    Understanding your property taxes can protect you from financial shocks.
  2. Taxes

    9 States Where You'll Pay the Most in Taxes

    Which state you live in can mean thousands of dollars saved or lost in taxes each year. Here's a list of states to avoid when it comes to tax rates.
  3. Taxes

    Sell Your Rental Property for a Profit

    Being a landlord can be taxing, especially when you want to sell. Find out how to reduce your burden.
  4. Taxes

    States With The Biggest (And Smallest) Tax Burden

    If you're considering moving, here's a list of the states with the highest - and lowest - tax burdens.
  5. Investing

    Use Real Estate To Put Off Tax Bills

    Find out how you can build wealth and reduce your taxes.
  6. Taxes

    How Does a Tax-Free Exchange Work?

    In regards to the sale of property, particularly in real estate, a 1031 exchange is increasingly being recognized for its tax benefits to investors of all levels.
  7. Taxes

    How To Prevent A Tax Hit When Selling A Rental Property

    Rental property ownership has its benefits but when selling you can face a big tax hit. Thankfully there are ways to reduce your capital gains exposure.
  8. Retirement

    The 5 Best Places to Retire in North Carolina

    Natural beauty, a reasonable cost of living and affordable housing give you ample choice when it comes to the best places to retire in North Carolina.
  9. Personal Finance

    South State Completes Deal for Southeastern (SSB)

    South State Corp., the parent of South State Bank, announced the completion of its acquisition of Southeastern Bank Financial Corp.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What are these points that the Dow is always gaining or losing?

    Points on the Dow represent dollars and show whether the stocks of the 30 companies that make up the index went up or down ...
  2. How do investors lose money when the stock market crashes?

    Find out how investors can lose money due to stock market crashes. Learn how fluctuating share prices affect overall wealth.
  3. What was the Whitewater scandal?

    Learn about the real estate controversy involving former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, known as the Whitewater ...
  4. Who decides when to print money in the U.S.?

    Learn the U.S. Treasury's Federal Reserve Bank's roles in the process of printing money in the United States.
Trading Center