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3204Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19990112Primary Sponsor: BowersAll Sponsors: BowersDrafted Document Number: l:\council\bills\kgh\15166htc99.docResiding Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Ways and Means Committee 30 HWMSubject: Property tax assessments, four percent ratio on second residence; homestead exemption for aging, handicappedHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19990112 Introduced, read first time, 30 HWM referred to Committee House 19990106 Prefiled, referred to Committee 30 HWM Versions of This Bill
TO AMEND SECTION 12-43-220, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO CLASSIFICATIONS OF PROPERTY FOR PURPOSES OF PROPERTY TAX, SO AS TO EXTEND THE FOUR PERCENT ASSESSMENT RATIO ALLOWED A LEGAL RESIDENCE TO A SECONDARY RESIDENCE AND EXTEND THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR TAXPAYERS OVER AGE SIXTY-FIVE OR DISABLED TO A SECONDARY RESIDENCE IF THE TAXPAYER OTHERWISE QUALIFIES FOR THE EXEMPTION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 12-43-220(c) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 442 of 1998, is further amended to read:
legal residence and not more than five acres contiguous thereto, when owned totally or in part in fee or by life estate and occupied by the owner of the interest, and additional dwellings located on the same property and occupied by immediate family members of the owner of the interest, are taxed on an assessment equal to four percent of the fair market value of the property. If residential real property is held in trust and the income beneficiary of the trust occupies the property as a residence, then the assessment ratio allowed by this item applies if the trustee certifies to the assessor that the property is occupied as a residence by the income beneficiary of the trust. When the legal residence is located on leased or rented property and the residence is owned and occupied by the owner of a residence on leased property, even though at the end of the lease period the lessor becomes the owner of the residence, the assessment for the residence is at the same ratio as provided in this item. If the lessee of property upon which he has located his legal residence is liable for taxes on the leased property, then the property upon which he is liable for taxes, not to exceed five acres contiguous to his legal residence, must be assessed at the same ratio provided in this item. If this property has located on it any rented mobile homes or residences which are rented or any business for profit, this four percent value does not apply to those businesses or rental properties. For purposes of the assessment ratio allowed pursuant to this item, a residence does not qualify as a legal residence unless the residence is determined to be the domicile of the owner-applicant. A taxpayer may receive the four percent assessment ratio on only one residence for a tax year.
(2)(i) To qualify for the special property tax assessment ratio allowed by this item, the owner-occupant must have actually owned and occupied the residence
as his legal residence and been domiciled at that address for some period during the applicable tax year and remain in that status at the time of filing the application required by this item.
(ii) This item does not apply unless the owner of the property or the owner's agent applies for the four percent assessment ratio before the first penalty date for the payment of taxes for the tax year for which the owner first claims eligibility for this assessment ratio. In the application the owner or his agent must certify to the following statement:
'Under penalty of perjury I certify that:
(A) the residence which is the subject of this application is my
legal residence and where I am domiciled; and
(B) that neither I nor any other member of my household own any other residence in South Carolina which currently receives the owner-occupant four percent assessment ratio.'
(iii) For purposes of subitem (ii)(B) of this item, 'a member of my household' means:
(A) the owner-occupant's spouse, except when that spouse is legally separated from the owner-occupant; and
(B) any child of the owner-occupant claimed or eligible to be claimed as a dependent on the owner-occupant's federal income tax return.
(iv) In addition to the certification, the burden of proof for eligibility for the four percent assessment ratio is on the owner-occupant and the applicant must provide proof the assessor requires including, but not limited to:
(A) a copy of the owner-occupant's most recently filed South Carolina individual income tax return;
(B) copies of South Carolina motor vehicle registrations for all motor vehicles registered in the name of the owner-occupant
(C) other proof required by the assessor necessary to determine eligibility for the assessment ratio allowed by this item.
If the assessor determines the owner-occupant ineligible, the six percent property tax assessment ratio applies and the owner-occupant may appeal the classification as provided in Chapter 60 of this title.
(v) A member of the armed forces of the United States on active duty who is a legal resident of and domiciled in another state is nevertheless deemed a legal resident and domiciled in this State for purposes of this item if the member's permanent duty station is in this State. A copy of the member's orders filed with the assessor is considered proof sufficient of the member's permanent duty station.
(vi) No further applications are necessary from the current owner while the property for which the initial application was made continues to meet the eligibility requirements. If a change in ownership occurs, another application is required. The owner shall notify the assessor of any change in classification within six months of the change. If a change in ownership occurs and the new owner does not qualify for the four percent assessment ratio, the six percent assessment ratio shall apply to the property only for the portion of the tax year in which the property is owned by the new owner. For the portion of the tax year in which the person qualifying for the four percent assessment ratio owned the property, the four percent assessment ratio shall apply.
(vii) If a person signs the certification, obtains the four percent assessment ratio, and is thereafter found not eligible, or thereafter loses eligibility and fails to notify the assessor within six months, a penalty is imposed equal to one hundred percent of the tax paid, plus interest on that amount at the rate of one-half of one percent a month, but in no case less than thirty dollars nor more than the current year's taxes. This penalty and any interest are considered ad valorem taxes due on the property for purposes of collection and enforcement.
(viii) Failure to file within the prescribed time constitutes abandonment of the owner's right for this classification for the current tax year, but the local taxing authority may extend the time for filing upon a showing satisfactory to it that the person had reasonable cause for not filing before the first penalty date.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a taxpayer may apply for a refund of property taxes overpaid because the property was eligible for the
legal residence assessment ratio allowed by this item. The application must be made in accordance with Section 12-60-2560. The taxpayer must establish that the property in question was in fact his legal residence and where he was domiciled. A county council, by ordinance, may allow refunds for the county government portion of property taxes for such additional past years as it determines advisable.
legal residence qualifying for the four percent assessment ratio provided by this item must have an assessed value of not less than one hundred dollars.
(5) To qualify for the four percent assessment ratio, the owner-occupant of a
legal residence that is being purchased under a contract for sale or a bond for title must record the contract for sale or the bond for title in the office of the register of mesne conveyances or the clerk of court in those counties where the office of the register of mesne conveyances has been abolished.
For purposes of this subsection, a contract for sale or a bond for title is the sale of real property by a seller, who finances the sale and retains title to the property solely as security for the debt.
(6) For purposes of this item, a residence includes a primary residence constituting the legal residence and domicile and a secondary residence. The primary residence must have been owned and occupied by the taxpayer for some period during the applicable tax year and remain in that status at the time of filing the application required by this item. The secondary residence must have been owned by the taxpayer for some period during the applicable tax year and remain in that status at the time of filing the application required by this item. The exemption allowed pursuant to Section 12-37-250 extends to both the primary and secondary residence if the taxpayer is otherwise eligible for the exemption."
SECTION 2. Upon approval by the Governor, this act is effective for property tax years beginning after 1999.
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