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Bill Number: 2573 Ratification Number: 408 Act Number 381 Introducing Body: House Subject: Assessment and return of merchants' and manufacturers' property to the Tax Commission for ad valorem tax purposes
(A381, R408, H2573)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 12-37-970, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE ASSESSMENT AND RETURN OF MERCHANTS' AND MANUFACTURERS' PROPERTY TO THE TAX COMMISSION FOR AD VALOREM TAX PURPOSES, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE TAX COMMISSION SHALL FORWARD THE ASSESSMENTS PREPARED AS A RESULT OF THE RETURNS SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION TO THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITIES NO LATER THAN AUGUST FIFTEENTH OF THE APPLICABLE TAX YEAR; TO AMEND SECTION 12-43-210, RELATING TO COUNTY EQUALIZATION AND REASSESSMENT PROGRAMS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT NO REASSESSMENT PROGRAM MAY BE IMPLEMENTED IN A COUNTY UNLESS ALL REAL PROPERTY IN THE COUNTY, INCLUDING REAL PROPERTY CLASSIFIED AS MANUFACTURING PROPERTY, IS REASSESSED IN THE SAME YEAR; TO AMEND SECTION 12-43-280, RELATING TO THE PROVISION THAT TOTAL AD VALOREM TAXES MAY NOT BE INCREASED MORE THAN ONE PERCENT AS A RESULT OF EQUALIZATION AND REASSESSMENT, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE TAX COMMISSION TO TAKE CERTAIN ACTIONS TO INSURE COMPLIANCE WITH THIS PROVISION; TO AMEND SECTION 12-43-290, RELATING TO POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS BEING ALLOWED TO INCREASE MILLAGE FOR SPECIFIED PURPOSES ABOVE CERTAIN LIMITS, SO AS TO REQUIRE TAX NOTICES TO REFLECT CERTAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN REGARD TO THIS EXCEPTION; TO AMEND SECTION 12-43-300, RELATING TO WRITTEN NOTICES TO OWNERS OF CERTAIN ASSESSMENTS OR REASSESSMENTS OF PROPERTY FOR TAX PURPOSES, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THE TIME WITHIN WHICH THIS NOTICE MUST BE SENT IN NONREASSESSMENT AND REASSESSMENT YEARS, TO PROVIDE THAT IF TIMELY NOTICE IS NOT GIVEN, THE PRIOR YEAR'S ASSESSED VALUE IS THE BASIS FOR THE CURRENT YEAR'S ASSESSMENT, TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THE CONTENTS OF THIS NOTICE, TO EXTEND THE TIME FOR THE OWNER TO FILE AN APPEAL THEREFROM, TO PROVIDE THAT A COUNTY GOVERNING BODY BY ORDINANCE MAY EXTEND THE TIME FOR FILING AN OBJECTION TO REASSESSMENTS WITHIN THE COUNTY, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE ABOVE CHANGES TO SECTIONS 12-43-210, 12-43-280, 12-43-290, AND 12-43-300 ARE EFFECTIVE FOR TAXABLE YEARS BEGINNING AFTER 1988.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Date for submission to local officials
SECTION 1. Section 12-37-970 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by an act of 1988, bearing Ratification Number 358, is further amended to read:
"Section 12-37-970. The assessment for property taxation of merchants' inventories, equipment, furniture and fixtures, and manufacturers' real and tangible personal property, and the machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures of all other taxpayers required to file returns with the South Carolina Tax Commission for purposes of assessment for property taxation, must be determined by the Commission from property tax returns submitted by the taxpayers to the Commission on or before the fifteenth day of the fourth month after the close of the accounting period regularly employed by the taxpayer for income tax purposes in accordance with Chapter 7, Title 12. The Commission by regulation shall prescribe the form of return required by this section, the information to be contained in it, and the manner in which the returns must be submitted. Every taxpayer required to make return to the Commission of property for assessment for property taxation must make the return to the Commission not less than once each calendar year. Whenever by a change of accounting period or otherwise more than one accounting period ends within any one calendar year, the taxpayer must make one such return within the prescribed time for filing following the end of each of the accounting periods and the Commission shall determine the assessment from the return setting forth the greatest value.
When property required to be returned as herein provided is sold after the end of the seller's accounting year and before January first next ensuing and when the purchaser's accounting year ends after the seller's and before January first next ensuing, the property must be returned by the seller as of the end of his accounting period. The purchaser is not required to list and return the property as of the close of his accounting period during the calendar year of sale. The seller and the purchaser are jointly and singularly liable for the tax that is due and payable by reason of this provision. The provision of this section does not apply to motor vehicles licensed for use on public highways.
When property required to be returned as provided in this section is sold before the end of the seller's accounting year and before January first next ensuing and when the purchaser's accounting year ends before the date of purchase and before January first next ensuing, the property must be listed and returned by the taxpayer holding title as of December thirty-first and is liable for the tax for the ensuing year.
The Tax Commission shall forward the assessments prepared as a result of the returns submitted pursuant to this section to the appropriate local taxing authorities no later than August fifteenth of the applicable tax year."
All property must be reassessed
SECTION 2. Section 12-43-300 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 12-43-300. (A) Whenever the market value estimate of any property is fixed by the assessor at a sum greater by one thousand dollars or more than the amount returned by the owner or his agent, or whenever any property is valued and assessed for taxation which has not been returned or assessed previously, the assessor shall, on or before July first, or as soon thereafter as may be practicable, in the year in which the valuation and assessment is made give written notice thereof to the owner of the property or his agent. In reassessment years, the written reassessment notice to owners or agents must be given by July first. If there is no timely written notice, the prior year's assessed value must be the basis for assessment for the current taxable year. The notice must include the prior market value, the total market value estimate, the value estimate if applicable, the assessment ratio, the total new assessment, the percentage changes over the prior market value, if there is no change in use or physical characteristics of the property, number of acres or lots, location of property, tax map, appeal procedure, and other pertinent ownership and legal description data required by the South Carolina Tax Commission. The notice may be served upon the owner or his agent personally or by mailing it to the owner or his agent at his last known place of residence which may be determined from the most recent listing in the applicable telephone directory, South Carolina Department of Highways and Public Transportation Motor Vehicle Registration List, county treasurer's records, or official notice from the property owner or his agent. The owner or his agent, if he objects to the valuation and assessment, shall serve written notice of his objection upon the assessor within thirty days of the date of the mailing of the notice. In years when there is no notice of appraisal because of a less than one thousand dollar change or no change in the appraised or assessed value, the owner or agent has until March first to serve written notice of objection upon the assessor of the appraised or assessed value. In those years, failure to serve written notice of objection by March first constitutes a waiver of the owner's right of appeal for that tax year and the assessor is not required to review any request filed after March first. The assessor shall then schedule a conference with the owner or agent within twenty days of receipt of the notice. If the assessor requests it, the owner, within thirty days after the conference, shall complete and return to the assessor the form as may be approved by the Commission relating to the owner's property and the reasons for his objection. Within thirty days after the conference, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the assessor shall mail written notice of his action upon the objection to the owner. The owner or agent, if still aggrieved by the valuation and assessment, may appeal from the action to the Board of Assessment Appeals by giving written notice of the appeal and the grounds thereof to the assessor within thirty days from the date of the mailing of the notice. The assessor shall notify promptly the Board of Assessment Appeals of the appeal.
(B) The governing body of the county may by ordinance extend the time for filing an objection to the valuation and assessment of real property resulting from reassessment within a county.
(C) The Commission shall prescribe a standard reassessment form designed to contain the information required in subsection (A) in a manner that may be understood easily."
Tax Commission to insure compliance
SECTION 3. Section 12-43-280 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 12-43-280. (A) Upon completion of an equalization and reassessment program as required by this article, the total ad valorem tax, for any county, school district, municipality, or any other political subdivision, may not exceed the total ad valorem tax of the county, school district, municipality, or any other political subdivision for the year immediately prior to completion by more than one percent, if the increase in total taxes was caused by the equalization and reassessment provided by this article. This does not prohibit an increase in the total ad valorem tax as a result of the assessments added for property or improvements not previously taxed, for new construction, or for renovation of existing structures taking place during the reassessment period.
(B) The Tax Commission shall review ad valorem tax collections in each county for reassessment years to insure compliance with the limitation imposed by this section. The Commission shall promptly notify the governing body of the county if the limit has been exceeded and the total amount of any increased tax collections resulting solely from the program of equalization and reassessment. The governing body of the county shall immediately transfer that total amount to a separate, segregated fund, which must be used to roll back the tax millage in the following year."
Tax notices to include itemizations
SECTION 4. Section 12-43-210 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 12-43-210. (A) All property must be assessed uniformly and equitably throughout the State. The South Carolina Tax Commission shall promulgate regulations to insure equalization which must be adhered to by all assessing officials in the State.
(B) No reassessment program may be implemented in a county unless all real property in the county, including real property classified as manufacturing property, is reassessed in the same year."
Reassessment notices and procedures revised
SECTION 5. Section 12-43-290 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 12-43-290. The limitations set forth in Sections 12-43-270 and 12-43-280 do not prohibit any county, school district, municipality, or any other political subdivision from increasing the millage on all taxable property for the purpose of obtaining additional monies for increased or new services provided for the taxpayers of the county, school district, municipality, or any other political subdivision. If there is an increase of this nature, the tax notice must include a separate itemization of each increased or new service and the resulting millage change and must clearly distinguish between a millage change made pursuant to Sections 12-43-270 or 12-43-280 and a millage change made pursuant to this section."
SECTION 6. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor, except that the amendments to Sections 12-43-210, 12-43-280, 12-43-290, and 12-43-300 of the 1976 Code in this act are effective for taxable years beginning after 1988.