The Horry County Assessor's Office appraises and lists all real property for taxation and maintains ownership information. It reviews legal residence (or primary residence) applications, agriculture assessments, and many other ownership functions.
Notification of appraisal/assessment information on property appraised by SCDOR is sent to the property owner directly. All real and personal property appraised in Horry County, including both property approved by the County and SCDOR are billed through the Horry County Auditor's Office.
The South Carolina Code of Laws requires that once every five years all real property in every county within the State will be reappraised and adjusted to current fair market value as of December 31 of the year prior to implementing the reassessment. Only real property is appraised during a reassessment. Values of personal property, such as cars and boats, are adjusted on an annual basis and kept current through the Horry County Auditor’s Office at the direction of the South Carolina Department of Revenue. The purpose of a reassessment is to equalize the valuations of all real property in a county. The five-year reassessment cycle in South Carolina is an appraisal freeze, only broken on property sale or change to a property.
The fair market value of real property is constantly changing due to factors such as location, market demand, the age and physical condition of a neighborhood, and the state of the economy. As a result, non-uniformity in values occurs within tax jurisdictions whether or not property values increase or decrease. For example, some comparable houses are now selling for a lower amount than at the time of Horry County’s last reassessment in 2010 when the market value was determined as of the end of December 2008. The reassessment process ensures that all houses which have similar characteristics are valued consistently; the property values are equalized allowing property tax to be redistributed on a more equitable basis.
Property owners will pay no more or less than their fair share of the property tax burden. Forecasts indicate that some residents may share a greater burden of the property tax due to a this equalization process as some properties have increased in value, some properties have declined in value, and some have stayed about the same. If your property has increased in taxable value, you will likely receive a higher tax bill. If your property stayed at about the same taxable value, you may receive a higher tax bill because there are some properties that decreased in taxable value, causing the redistribution of the tax burden.
The Horry County Assessor’s Office maintains a database of the physical characteristics for approximately 250,000 properties within Horry County. The data includes information such as heated square footage, garages, decks, pools, type and quality of construction, land area, water features, and several other attributes required for the mass appraisal process. Properties are then grouped into one of approximately 2,622 appraisal models based on similar market characteristics.
Licensed staff appraisers determine land values for each of the appraisal models based on analysis of vacant and improved property sales. Structural improvements to the land are valued using a market sales modified Marshall & Swift cost service. The valuations produced for each appraisal model are tested for accuracy using actual market sales. After testing, the result of the mass appraisal model for Horry County is then measured against statistical standards of the International Association of Assessing Officers.
If a model fails the required standards, further review and refinements are necessary before acceptance. Commercial properties may be evaluated on rental income streams, operating expenses, and what kind of investment return can be reasonably expected. Subsequent to the valuation processes and testing, the reappraisal results must be submitted to the South Carolina Department of Revenue for further statistical testing and State approval. The Horry County Assessor is then notified of the approval and program implementation to the taxpayer.
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