What is Reassessment?
Reassessment is the process of revaluing all the property in a county to assign new values for tax purposes. Property values change over time due to market fluctuations, but not all properties change at the same rate, so over time some owners pay more taxes in proportion to the property's current value, others pay less. The purpose of a reassessment is to equalize the tax burden so that every owner pays in proportion to their assessment (value) - to the extent allowed by law.
How Often Does Reassessment Occur?
Reassessment is required every five years by South Carolina state statutes. The implementation of the last reassessment in Charleston County was delayed by one year until 2011, which the law allows. This reassessment is being implemented on time in 2015. The notices informing owners of the changes in value were mailed on September 24, 2015.
Who Values My Property?
The Charleston County Assessor's Office staff includes 29 licensed and certified appraisers who have years of experience in valuing real estate. Many have extensive private sector appraisal experience. Those appraisers are required to go through the same education, testing and licensing as appraisers in private practice.
What Do They Know About My Neighborhood?
Each appraiser is assigned to a specific geographic area of the county or specific property type. This is done to ensure that the appraiser can become an expert in that area and that sub market. The appraisers continually research property sales and other real estate information in their assigned area. At reassessment, real property is valued based on that research.
How Are Properties Valued?
Supply and demand is the largest single factor in determining a property’s value. Appraisers research a number of factors relating to value. The method used to value property will vary based on property type and the purchasers for that property type. Appraisers typically value property by using comparable sales or the income potential.
Comparable sales tell appraisers what similar properties have sold for on the open competitive market. Most single family homes, townhouses, condominiums and residential lots are valued based on what similar properties sell for on the open market.
Income potential is considered by investors who rely on anticipated rents or other income from the property to provide a return on their investment. Investment properties can range from rented houses to large commercial properties such as shopping centers and office buildings.
General Appeal Information
All appeal information must be submitted to the Assessor's Office. Do not send information to any other office. The back of the reassessment notice contains more information. Phone calls do not protect your appeal rights - but if you have questions, you are welcome to call the hotline before filing an appeal.
Appeals must be in writing and an original signature is required on all appeal documents. The reassessment notice included an Objection Form - use of the form is strongly recommended as it will ensure you provide all the required information.
Filing the Appeal
Appeals may be delivered in person to the Assessor's Office OR appeals may be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service or by a delivery service that provides a verifiable sending date. Deadlines apply at all stages of the appeal process, and being able to verify the sending date is critical to accepting your appeal if it is filed near the deadline.
The Assessor’s office will send a letter acknowledging that your initial objection has been received. These are sent approximately once a week after the appeal has been received and updated into the computer. It may take up to two weeks for you to receive the letter.
There are three local levels that an "appeal" or disagreement may proceed through (most disagreements are resolved at local level one or two): More details can be found on the back of the reassessment notice. Additional information is provided at each stage of the appeal process.
Objection: The first level is to file an objection in writing. An objection form has been included with the reassessment notice. Once the form is received an appraiser or other staff member will contact you and the disagreement may be resolved. If the disagreement is not resolved it will go to the second level which is called a protest.
Protest: The second level is to file a protest in writing. A form will be provided to you for filing the protest. You will be notified in writing of any decision. If the disagreement is not resolved at this level it can proceed to the County Board.
Appeal: The third level is to file an appeal in writing to the County Board of Assessment Appeals.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of your disagreement after the three local levels, you may pursue it further at the state level through the Administrative Law Court.
All levels in the appeal process have specific legal deadlines which cannot be extended.
The deadline for objections is ninety (90) days after notices are mailed. For your convenience that deadline is printed on the reassessment notice. It is also printed on the objection form. The reassessment notices were sent at one time, so the notices have a deadline of December 23, 2015. A few notices may be re-mailed due to address changes, if so; the new deadline will be clearly printed on the re-mailed reassessment notice.
You will be informed in writing of subsequent deadlines if you appeal – all forms and notices contain deadlines. You are responsible for meeting all deadlines. If you miss any deadline throughout the appeal process, your appeal rights will be abandoned for the 2015 tax year. Postmarks or mailing marks are used to determine if the deadline was met.
File Appeals Early
Many taxpayers file very close to the deadlines. Experience has shown that the volume of initial appeals (objections) doubles during the two weeks before the deadline. In 2011 over 12,500 appeals were filed, over 6000 of those were received the last two weeks. Because appeals are generally handled in the order received, those who file the last month experience lengthy and unavoidable delays due to volume. Those who file in the first month will receive responses more rapidly. FILE YOUR APPEAL EARLY – DURING THE FIRST MONTH.
Taxpayers sometimes prefer to have someone else handle an appeal. People who represent an owner in the appeal process are called representatives. South Carolina law governs who can represent an owner in the appeal process (SC Code Ann. § 12-60-50). The back of the reassessment notice has a list of people who are allowed to represent taxpayers during the appeal process.
Representatives MUST have written authorization to be allowed to represent the taxpayer. The authorization must have the owner’s original signature. The authorization should be provided with the initial objection. If the authorization is not provided with the initial objection – it will delay the progress of the appeal until the authorization is provided. The SC Department of Revenue has a form - SC2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative that is commonly used by taxpayers to authorize representatives to handle appeals.
Q: Is the reassessment notice I was sent in late September my tax bill?
Q: Is the "Assessment" the amount of my taxes?
Q: What does "assessment" mean?
The term "assessment" in South Carolina means value. See Definitions and Common Terms for more on the words “assessment” and “market value”.
Q: What is the Taxable (Capped) Value/Assessment?
Q: What properties are not capped or are only partially capped?
Q: How do I appeal?
Q: Why is my property at the 6% ratio instead of at the 4% ratio?
A reassessment hotline (843) 958-4144 staffed by County appraisers will be available beginning September 25th, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Appraisers will staff the hotline until October 30th. After October 30th, your call will be redirected to customer service representatives who can answer most questions. More information about the hotline is on the Reassessment flier that was sent with the reassessment notice.
Call volume to the hotline is usually very high the first two weeks after reassessment notices are mailed, so taxpayers may find it difficult to get through during this time period. Call volume will also be high after tax bills are mailed in early October. Many answers to your questions can be found in this section of the county website, which you are currently visiting.
The Assessor's office is located in the County Office Building at 101 Meeting Street, Suite 130, Charleston, SC, 29401.
The Assessor's office mailing address is Post Office Box 427, Charleston, SC 29402
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