Monday, April 14, 2014
An ordinance to allow qualified taxpayers the option to pay their property taxes in installments is one reading away from adoption. Williamsburg County Council approved second of third readings during their April 7, meeting. Under the ordinance, taxpayers owning taxable real property within the county will have the option to make their payments in installments.
Extensive discussion has been given to the installment program; however, Councilman Eddie Woods sought further clarity. "I was a little concerned that they (the citizens) may not know all the implications surrounding - making that choice," said Woods. He asked county attorney Billy Jenkinson if citizens choosing the option would be presented a full explanation to the process. "It's a little more complex than I thought it was," said Woods. "Would the taxpayers be privy to knowing some of those implications before they actually agree or decide to go that route."
Jenkinson said though it might not be provided in the ordinance per say, it would be virtually impossible for a taxpayer not to be given a detailed explanation. He added that most likely a notice will inform the taxpayers of the option and an agreement would be assigned to enter into the payment plan. "It's complicated, as you know," said Jenkinson. "And without that, it is totally ineffective in my opinion, so I would concur."
According to South Carolina Code of Laws, an installment payment is based on the total property tax due for the previous property tax year, after applying all applicable credits and adjustments reflecting reduced value as determined by the county assessor. An amount equal to 16 2/3 percent of the estimated property tax obligation must be paid to the county treasurer in each of five installments according to the following schedule: On or before: First - February 15; Second - April 15; Third - June 15; Fourth - August 15; Fifth - October 15.
The remaining balance is due on or before January 15 of the following taxable year.
If a taxpayer electing to pay in installments does not make timely each payment pursuant to the schedule, the county may refuse to accept all other installment payments.
If the county refuses to accept other installment payments, the remaining balance is due.
To view the entire law visit www.scstatehouse.gov and search Title 12 Chapter 45, Section 12-45-75.