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Lexington County Administration Building are open Monday - Friday 8am to 5pm.

Real Property Assessments - Setting Taxable Market Values

Q.  What is the taxable market value of my property?

A. The taxable market value (as per the market values of December 31, 2019) is determined by the Assessor’s Office. It is shown in the “Current Tax Year” table on the top left (unshaded) portion of the tax bill, the middle column titled “MARKET VALUE.”

 

Q.  The assessment on my property is higher this year than last year.  Why?

A.  The tax assessment does not change unless physical changes have been made or a county reassessment program is implemented.

  •  Physical changes.   If made any additions to your property or made other major improvements, your property value increased to reflect the changes completed through December 31, 2019. If your home was damaged, the value may have been reduced.
  •  Reassessment Program.  Lexington County implemented a reassessment program this year (2020) in compliance with state law.  The purpose of a reassessment program is to determine real property market values that are in line with current property characteristics and market conditions.  Lexington County’s previous reassessment program was 2015.  Significant changes in property values had occurred that were not reflected in the property tax system.  South Carolina’s Constitution requires that property be taxed equitably. When similar properties in the same taxing district are taxed differently because conditions have changed over a long period of time, the system becomes unequal. South Carolina law requires counties to reassess every five years. Only real property is reassessed every five years. Values of personal property such as cars, boats and motorcycles are kept current through annual updates by the Department of Revenue.

 

Q.  How was the market value for my property determined?

A.  An employee from the County Assessor’s office has visited and measured your home to determine square footage. The employee also notes other information, such as age, type of construction, type of heating and air conditioning, number of floors, and whether the structure has a garage, deck, swimming pool or other amenities.

 

The Assessor’s Office then considers this information along with similar properties that have sold in the area, adjusting that sales information to fit your property.  For rental or commercial property, an evaluation is made on how much income the property produces, what the operating expenses are and what kind of investment return can be reasonably expected.  With all of this information, the Assessor’s Office then determines the market value of the property.

 

Q.  Am I supposed to be told about changes in market value determined for my property?

A.  Yes.  The Assessor must mail a property assessment notice to all property owners whose real property’s fair market value increases by $1,000 or more. Assessment notices must be sent to the person listed as property owner as of December 31 of the prior year.

 

The assessment notice includes the market value, the new assessment value, the assessment ratio, number of acres or lots, location of property, tax map number and the appeals procedure.

 

When a reassessment program is completed, the Assessor must mail the assessment notices by February 1 of the year the reassessment program will be implemented.

 

Q.  If I disagree with the market value put on my property, can I do anything about it?

A.  After receiving your real property assessment notice, if you disagree with the new value assigned, you have the right to appeal. A written appeal must be filed with the Assessor within 90 days of the date on the assessment notice.  Don’t wait until your tax bill arrives to appeal your new value; it’s too late.  If no assessment notice is received, the open appeal period is between January 1 and January 15th of the following year.

 

All appeals are reviewed according to market value.  Appeals based on the tax bill amount cannot be considered as grounds for an assessment appeal.

 

If you appeal your property value and the appeal is not settled by December 31, you will be billed for at least 80% of the assessed value for the current year. You may request in writing that you be billed for more than 80% in order to avoid paying interest should your appeal not be successful. The tax must be paid by January 15.

 

Once the appeal is resolved, you may receive a refund or be expected to pay additional tax, depending on how the appeal is resolved. You must pay interest at the current prevailing rate on any outstanding taxes owed. Likewise, if your appeal is successful and your taxes are less than what you paid, you will be paid interest.

 

Manufacturing, utility, railroads, boats and motors, and business personal property are assessed by the Department of Revenue. Vehicles are assessed based on information provided by the SC Division of Motor Vehicles and the SC Department of Revenue. A state property tax is levied on private carlines and airlines based on the average statewide millage rate as determined by the SC Department of Revenue.  All other property is assessed by the County Assessor.

 

Information on how to contact entities for additional information about property taxation is provided on the back of the tax bill.