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PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO FINANCE AND TAXATION, BY ADDING SECTION 6A SO AS TO ELIMINATE INCREASES IN FAIR MARKET VALUE OF OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY ATTRIBUTABLE TO A PROPERTY TAX REASSESSMENT IN A COUNTY OCCURRING AFTER DECEMBER 31, 2006, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THIS EXEMPTION CONTINUES UNTIL THE PROPERTY WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS IS TRANSFERRED OR IMPROVED.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. It is proposed that Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended by adding:
"Section 6A. (A) For purposes of this section, 'real property' means owner-occupied residential real property eligible for the four-percent assessment ratio for property tax purposes.
(B) There is exempted from property tax an amount of fair market value of real property located in the county sufficient to eliminate any increase in fair market value attributable to a countywide appraisal, reassessment, and equalization program conducted after December 31, 2006. An exemption allowed by this section does not apply to:
(1) fair market value attributable to real property or improvements to real property not previously taxed, such as new construction, renovation of existing structures, or infrastructure improvements affecting the real property including road, water, and sewer improvements; and
(2) real property transferred after the implementation of the values determined in the most recent countywide equalization and reassessment program conducted on or before December 31, 2006.
(C) Notwithstanding subsection (B)(2), the exemption provided in subsection (B) applies to real property which has been transferred in a transfer not subject to income tax pursuant to a gift or inheritance and transfers between spouses or incident to divorce. The exemption provided in subsection (B) also continues to apply to real property which has been transferred if the transferor retains a life estate in the real property and the transferor continues to occupy the real property as his legal residence and to real property which has been transferred to a trust if the transferor is a life beneficiary of the trust and continues to occupy the real property as his legal residence.
(D) Except as provided in subsection (E), once the fair market value of real property is first reduced by the exemption allowed in subsection (B), that reduced fair market value remains the fair market value of the property subject to property tax except as otherwise provided in subsection (B)(1) and (2), regardless of further increases in fair market value of that real property as determined in subsequent countywide appraisal, reassessment, and equalization programs. When real property is transferred such that the real property is no longer eligible for the exemption provided for in subsection (B), the real property is subject to being taxed in the tax year following the transfer at its current fair market value.
(E) The fair market value of the property shall reflect from year to year beginning in 2007 an inflationary increase or reduction not to exceed two percent for any given year to the extent of the increase or decrease in the average of the twelve monthly consumer price indexes for the most recent twelve-month period consisting of January through December of the preceding calendar year, and also may be reduced to reflect substantial damage, destruction, or other factors causing a decline in value.
(F) The General Assembly by law may also provide that under appropriate circumstances and pursuant to definitions and procedures established by law, any person over the age of sixty-five years or totally and permanently disabled who resides in property that is eligible for the exemption provided by this section may transfer the fair market value of the property entitled to exemption, with any adjustments authorized, to any replacement dwelling of equal or lesser value located within the same county and purchased or newly constructed by that person as his principal residence.
SECTION 2. The proposed amendment must be submitted to the qualified electors at the next general election for representatives. Ballots must be provided at the various voting precincts with the following words printed or written on the ballot:
"Must Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended by adding Section 6A so as to eliminate increases in fair market value of owner-occupied residential property attributable to a property tax reassessment in a county occurring after December 31, 2006, and to provide that this exemption continues until the property with certain exceptions is transferred or improved?
Those voting in favor of the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'Yes', and those voting against the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'No'."
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