Lee County Assessor’s Office
Welcome to the Lee County Assessor’s Office Information Web Site. This site is intended for your convenience and we hope that the information provided will be helpful and of benefit to you. This site may not meet all of your needs; however, for further assistance our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We can also be reached by phone at 803-484-5341 Ext. 3186 , Ext. 3190 or Ext. 3187. Our office is located in the Lee County Court House. The physical address is Room 307, 123 S Main Street, Bishopville South Carolina 29010. We look forward to providing you the best public service possible.
Clarence M. Caudill III, Lee County Assessor
What is the Lee County Assessor’s Office?
Lee County Assessor’s Office’s primary mandate is to establish mass property values utilizing standard mass appraisal practices for all real property and mobile homes in Lee County. We mass assign values and determine the eligibility for assessment ratios that are used in the calculation for property taxation; however, we do not calculate or determine the amount of actual taxes. Amount of actual taxes is based on the budgetary requirements to provide services deemed necessary by the governing body. Taxes are then calculated by the County Auditors Office and collected by the County Treasures Office. We have on staff appraisers that are licensed by the South Carolina Real Estate Appraisers Board. We also handle various applications for special assessment such as: Legal Residence applications, Agricultural Use Value applications, and other discounts for developers and land owners. The Assessor’s Office maintains property records for all Real Property and Manufactured Homes in the County, the City of Bishopville, and the Town of Lynchburg; including ownership records and mailing address. We conduct county wide reassessment every 5 years as required by the SC Department of Revenue. We are regulated by the South Carolina Department of Revenue and are governed by South Carolina State Law. Property involving transportation, utilities, manufacturing, and personal property are appraised by the South Carolina Department of Revenue. In Lee County, the following additional functions fall under the umbrella of the Assessor’s Department: Mapping/GIS, Addressing, and Manufactured Home Permitting.
Lee County Assessor’s Office Directory:
Main Number 803-484-5341 ext. 3190
Mobile / Permitting 803-484-5341 ext.3187
GIS/Mapping 803-484-5341 ext.3189
E911 Addressing 803-484-5341 ext.3189
Fax Number 803-484-3518
Property Record Website:
Assessor’s Office Data Disclaimer
All Assessor’s Office data was created for the use of Lee County for county government purposes. The suitability of Assessor’s data for any other use is not guaranteed and the user assumes all risk for such uses. Lee County, SC assumes no legal responsibility for property record data or information. Users noting errors or omissions are encouraged to contact the Lee County Assessor’s Office.
Special Assessment for Agricultural Use Value must be filed before the first penalty date of the tax year for which the assessment is being claimed.
Date to Appeal in a Year when No Notice of Assessment has been Mailed is any time during the year up until the first penalty date for the tax year for which the appeal is being claimed; however, for administrative purposes the earlier in the year the appeal is filed the better, preferably before March 1st. Appeals that are filed late in the year may result in requiring the taxes be paid at the original billed amount to avoid any late penalties and if adjustments are made they will be made at a later date.
Final Date to Appeal in a Year when a Notice of Assessment has been Mailed is 90 days from the date of the notice.
Reassessment Implementation is scheduled every 5th year.
Our most recent Reassessment Implementations were: 2005, 2010, 2015
How can I change my Mailing Address?
The Assessors Office maintains mailing address for all real property and mobile homes in Lee County. A request for a change of mailing address can be done in our office if you are a single owner and provide proof of identity or by mailing a written request to our office. If a property has multiple owners or is owned by a corporation then the request must be in writing and can be sent by mail or delivered in person to our office.
Agricultural Use Value Discount
Agricultural Use Value refers to the special discounted appraised value assigned to those acreage tracts of land that qualified based on bona fide agricultural use of the property.
What is the definition of Agricultural Real Property?
Agricultural real property shall mean any tract of real property which is used to raise, harvest or store crops or feed, breed or manage livestock, or to produce plants, trees, fowl, or animals useful to man, including the preparation of the products raised thereon for man’s use and disposed of by marketing or other means. It includes but is not limited to such real property used for agriculture, grazing, horticulture, forestry, dairying, and mariculture. In the event at least 50% of a real property tract shall qualify as “agricultural real property”, the entire tract shall be so classified, provided no other business for profit is being operated thereon. The term “agricultural real property” shall not include any property used as the residence of the owner or others in the taxation of such property is specially provided for in Section 12-43-230 of the South Carolina Code of Laws and Department of Revenue 117-124.7. Agricultural Real Property that is privately owned is taxed at a 4% assessment ratio. Agricultural Real Property that is corporate owned is taxed at a 6% assessment ratio.
What are the requirements and qualifications for Agricultural Real Property?
Agricultural real property which is actually used for such purposes and meets certain size or income restrictions, not including, however, a corporation which is the owner or lessee except for certain corporations which do not:
Have more than 10 shareholders
Have as a shareholder a person (other than an estate) who is not an individual
Have a nonresident alien as a shareholder; and
Have more than one class of stock
Timberland tracts must be five acres or more. Tract of timberland must be devoted to growing trees for commercial use. Tracts of timberland less than five acres qualify if any of the following conditions are met:
Contiguous to a qualifying tract
Under same management system as a qualifying tract
Owned in combination with nontimberland tracts that qualify as agricultural real property.
Non-timberland (cropland) tracts must be ten acres are more. Tracts of non-timberland less than ten acres qualify if any of the following are met:
If contiguous tracts with identical ownership meet the minimum acreage requirement when added together.
If a person making application earned at least $1,000 gross farm income in at least three of the past five years or at least three of the first five years if this is initial application.
If the property has been owned by current owner or an immediate family member of the current owner for at least ten years ending January 1, 1994 and the property was classified as agricultural real property for tax year 1994.
When and how to file for Agricultural Use Value?
By law property owners may file for Agricultural Use Value up until the first penalty date within the tax year for which the request for special assessment is claimed; however, administratively it is beneficial if the application is made as early in the year as possible. Applications may be filed in person at our office or sent by mail. Listed below is a printable application for Agricultural Use Value. Please be sure it is filled out completely.
(Link to Agricultural Use Value Application)
When do Roll-Back Taxes apply to Agricultural Use?
When real property which is in agricultural use and is being valued, assessed, and taxed under the provisions of this article, is applied to another use other than agricultural, it shall be subject to additional taxes, hereinafter referred to as roll-back taxes, in the amount equal to the difference, if any, between the taxes payable on the basis of the agricultural use valuation and assessment, and the taxes that would have been paid had the property been taxed at the market value appraisal and 6% assessment ratio. The roll-back can be applied to the property for the current tax year (the year of change in use) and each of the five tax years immediately proceeding the year of change in use. (South Carolina Code 12-43-220(d) (4))
Legal Residence Classification Discount
Legal Residence Discount refers to the special 4% assessment ratio for owner occupied homes; which results in a tax savings of one-third of the tax bill compared to the 6% ratio. Legal Residence Discount also includes removing the school operating portion of the tax bill. Together there is a considerable savings to the tax payer. Legal Residence Discount is not automatic. Application for the special assessment must be made.
What is the definition of Legal Residence?
For property tax purposes the term "Legal Residence" shall mean the permanent home or dwelling place owned by a person and occupied by the owner thereof. It shall be the place where he intends to remain permanently for an indefinite time even though he may temporarily be living at another location. However, the same shall not include a residence maintained principally for vacation or recreational purposes.
(South Carolina Tax Commission Regulation 117-122).
What are the requirements to qualify for Legal Residence?
To qualify for the special property tax assessment ratio allowed by this item, the owner-occupant must have actually owned and occupied the residence as his legal residence and been domiciled at that address for some period during the applicable tax year and remain in that status at the time of filing the application required by this item.(SC Code of Laws 12-43-220 (c))
The owner must have title (deed or will) or have an equity interest (Contract to Purchase) and the property must be occupied by the owner as his legal residence. The property can include not more than five acres contiguous thereto and be owned totally or in part in fee or by life estate, but shall not include any portion which is not owned and occupied for residential purposes.
Section 12-43-220 (c) of the South Carolina Code of Laws provides further: “In addition to the certification, the burden of proof for eligibility for the four percent assessment ration is on the owner-occupant and the applicant must provide proof the assessor requires including, but not limited to: (A) a copy of the owner-occupants most recently filed South Carolina individual tax return; (B) copies of the South Carolina motor vehicle registrations for all motor vehicles registered in the name of the owner-occupant; (C) other proof required by the assessor necessary to determine eligibility for the assessment ration allowed by this item. Some such items may include: South Carolina drivers license, voters registration, bank statement, paycheck, retirement check, income tax return, etc.
How can I apply for Legal Residence Discount?
Legal Residence Applications can be filed at our office. Please be sure to bring no less than three proofs of residency, including your S.C. drivers Licenses or S.C. I.D. All personal vehicles must also be registered and taxed at the address of your residence. Under S.C. law you are only entitled to Legal Residence Discount on one property. Married couples living in separate dwellings are only entitled to the Legal Residence Discount on one of the properties.
Reassessment Implementation is scheduled every 5th year.
Our most recent Reassessment Implementations were: 2005, 2010, 2015.
Due to the magnitude of a reassessment program we must begin work several years prior to implementation. Actual market sales data is used, and then formulas & cost of construction tables are established to match up with the sales data. We strive for values that are a mathematical expression of how supply and demand factors interact in a market, and that when applied to the total number of properties, are both fair and equitable to the majority. The property value adjustments made during a reassessment for the county as a whole, are made based on sales information collected prior to implementation.
Our reassessment program must have approval by the South Carolina Department of Revenue prior to implementation. The quality or success of a reassessment program is measured by its sales ratio study. Approval is based on a sales ratio between the market values we assign and actual sales values. DOR sets the guidelines and standards for approval. In order for DOR to give approval of our program we must overall have set or assigned our property values within 80% to 105% of the actual sales data. According to our most recent ratio studies we average around 97%, which is within the standard or a normal percentage for most programs.
In the past Lee Counties market activity has tended to be somewhat stable or static. As a whole real property values tend to gradually appreciate over time. The further away you get from the time of implementation the more often the values assigned will become inaccurate depending on the market activity.
How is the valuation of my property determined?
The County Assessor maintains information on each property located in the County, including size, square footage, location, and certain amenities. An appraiser from the Assessor’s Office visits the property and measures the structures to determine square footage. The appraiser also notes other information, such as age, type of construction, type of heating and air conditioning, number of stories, and whether the structure has a garage, deck, swimming pool, or other amenities. They also have copies of building permits which provide additional information on the property. The appraiser then considers this information along with selling prices of similar properties in the area, how much it would cost to replace the property at current costs, and the general physical condition of the property. With all of this information Mass Appraisal techniques are applied and the appraiser then estimates the value on your property. For rental or commercial property, an evaluation may be made on how much income the property produces, what the operating expenses are and what kind of investment return can be reasonably expected.
What is a mass appraisal?
We are responsible for doing mass appraisal which falls under Standard 6 of “The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice”. Even though some of the thought process and terminology is similar, mass appraisal practices are different from fee appraisals practices. A fee appraisal is of a single property as of a given date. In a fee appraisal the quality of appraisal would be measured by comparison with sales of comparable properties during the given time. A mass appraisal is the systematic appraisal of a universe of properties as of a given date. In mass appraisal the focus is not on the individual property. The quality of a mass appraisal is determined by its use of standard methodology, the employment of common data, and the over all subjection to statistical testing. In a reassessment it is our objective to value property at its current fair market value as of the control date of December 31st of the year prior to implementing.
Why implement a reassessment?
State statutory mandate requires that reassessments occur every five years. It also requires that property be assessed fairly and equitably. Contrary to what many people think, the purpose of reassessment is not to raise more money for local governments. In fact reassessment programs do not and can not create additional revenue according to SC code of laws 12-37-251(e) accept for, new revenues from “assessments added for property or improvements not previously taxed, for new construction, and for renovation of existing structures”. Act 208, as passed by the General Assembly in 1975, provides that all real property will be valued at its current fair market value (the price your property would sell for on today's real estate market). Act 208 also provides for the classification of all real property for assessment purposes and provides that all real property be assessed at one time. In 1999 the legislature passed Code of Laws of South Carolina 12-43-217(a), “Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, once every fifth year each county of the State shall appraise and equalize those properties under its jurisdiction. Property valuation must be complete at the end of December of the fourth year and the county or State shall notify taxpayers of any change in the value or classification if the change is $1000 or more.
Why is current fair market value so important?
The market value of property will continue to change. Unfortunately, property values do not all change at the same rate; some increase or decrease at a faster rate due to location, desirability of the neighborhood or property, age and physical condition, etc. The key word in the reassessment program is accuracy. Taxes cannot be levied fairly unless the true value of each property is known. Correct assessments are not possible unless correct appraisals of property are made in light of present value, not what it was worth in past years. This is the most important function of a continuing assessment equalization system.
Will my taxes increase because of Reassessment?
Some property will notice a decrease in taxes, some will stay the same and some will pay more taxes. Reassessment is not created to raise taxes; it is intended to distribute the taxes collected more fairly among all property owners. Over time property values are likely to increase, unless a property is badly in need of repair or has not been properly maintained. Because of the increase in values during reassessment, state law requires that local government reduce the millage rate (i.e. tax rate or levy) to what is called a "rollback millage."
How can I check my Property Assessment?
Information regarding your Property Assessment can be obtained at the Lee County Assessor’s Office. Property records can be searched by tax map number, ownership, or property location. In addition there are property record cards for every parcel that can be located by tax map number. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We can also be reached by phone at 803-484-5341 Ext. 3190, 3187 or 3189. Our office is located in the Lee County Court House. The physical address is Room 307, 123 N Main Street, Bishopville South Carolina 29010. Property Assessment records can also be found at www.qpublic.net/sc/lee
All appeals must be in writing directly to the Assessor’s Office at Lee County Assessor’s Office, P.O. Box 309, Bishopville S.C. 29010. Appeals may be mailed in or hand delivered to our Office. Appeals will be given to a County Appraiser who will respond to each appeal after giving it careful consideration. When considering appeals, the Assessor’s Office can only consider three things: Property Value (Actual fair market value), Property Classification (Legal Residence, Agricultural Use Value, Regular, etc.), and Inequitability (Not assessed constant with similar properties in accordance to the Law). The Assessor’s Office cannot address issues dealing with the dollar amount of your taxes. Failure to appeal within the allotted time constitutes a waver in your right to appeal for the year.
Appeal Deadline in a year of receiving an assessment Notice:
Each year assessment notices are mailed to taxpayers who have had a change in the value or classification if the change is $1000 or more. Each property owner has the right to appeal up to 90 days after the date of the notice. Failure to respond within 90 days will forfeit your right to appeal for the year of implementation.
Appeal Deadline in a Non-Reassessment year when No Notice of Assessment has been mailed:
In a non-reassessment year when no notice of assessment has been mailed each property owner has the right to appeal any time during the year up until the first penalty date for the tax year for which the appeal is being claimed; however, for administrative purposes the earlier in the year the appeal is filed the better, preferably before March 1st. Appeals that are filed late in the year may result in requiring the taxes be paid at the original billed amount to avoid any late penalties and if adjustments are made they will be made at a later date. Failure to appeal by the first penalty date will forfeit your right to appeal for the year.
What to include in my Appeal?
Please include the following in your appeal request: personal contact information, a phone number you can be contacted, tax map number, actual physical property location, detailed reason for the appeal, what you believe your property to be worth and how you arrived at that figure. This will help us in reviewing your property.
The Lee County Assessor’s Office is responsible for establishing mass property values, utilizing standard mass appraisal practices, for all the Manufactured Homes in the County. For tax purposes Manufactured Homes are considered and taxed as real property.
Lee County Assessor’s Office is also responsible for the administration of registration of Manufactured Homes, Moving Permits for Manufactured Homes, and payment for inspections of Manufactured Homes.
How is my Manufactured Home appraised?
We maintain records with information such as current owners name and address, value, size, make, model, year, and the last four digits of the serial number. Sales and Market information, along with data from Marshall and Swift Valuation Service and NADA is used to arrive at value. Any adjustments are then made based on inspections of the Manufactured Home.
How does the record of ownership for a Manufactured Home get changed in the Assessor’s Office?
South Carolina law requires that when a manufactured home is purchased or the ownership of the manufactured home is transferred the new owner must register that manufactured home with fifteen (15) days.
**The previous owners name can not be removed from a tax bill until the new owner obtains a new decal for that manufactured home.
Where do I register a Manufactured Home?
All Manufactured Home registrations are issued at the Assessor’s Office, in room 307. A copy of the title in the name that you intend to register the Manufactured Home is required at the time of registration. There is a fee associated with registration. You will be provided a new decal. That decal must be displayed in a visible window of the Manufactured Home. Questions regarding Manufactured Homes should be directed to 803-484-5341 ext.3190 or 3187.
How do I get my Manufactured Home inspected so power can be turned on?
All Manufactured Home inspection fees are paid at the Assessor’s Office, in room 307. A copy of Manufactured Home inspection requirements can be obtained at the Assessor’s Office. Electrical service instructions can also be obtained at the Assessor’s Office depending on which electric company will be providing your service. No Manufactured Homes older than 1979 are allowed new set up in Lee County. Before inspection, registration and decal must be displayed and visible in a window of the Manufactured Home. Questions regarding Manufactured Homes inspection fees should be directed to the Assessor’s Office at 803-484-5341 ext.3190 or 3187.
Once your Manufactured Home is ready for inspection you should call Planning and Zoning to arrange for an Inspection. Questions regarding Manufactured Homes inspections should be directed to Planning and Zoning at 803-484-5341 ext. 3195.
(Link to Manufactured Homes on Individual Lots requirements Before Inspection)
(Link to CP&L Manufactured Home Electric Service Instructions)
(Link to Black River Elec. Manufactured Home Electric Service Instructions)
(Link to Pee Dee Elec. Manufactured Home Electric Service Instructions)
How does a Manufactured Home get removed from a property record?
If a manufactured home is removed from a property, a moving permit is required. Moving permits can be purchased at the Assessor’s Office, in room 307. If a Manufactured Home is moving out of the county, prepaid taxes must be paid in the Treasurer’s Office before you can purchase a Moving Permit. There is a fee associated with a Moving Permit. If the manufactured home burns down or is destroyed, please notify the Assessors office as soon as possible so as to have that incident confirmed by the fire marshals and removed from the tax records. Questions regarding Manufactured Homes should be directed to 803-484-5341 ext.3190 or 3187.
Where do I get a Manufactured Home Moving Permit?
All Manufactured Home moving permits are issued at the Assessor’s Office, in room 307. If a Manufactured Home is moving out of the county, prepaid taxes must be paid in the Treasurer’s Office before you can purchase a Moving Permit. There is a fee associated with a Moving Permit. Questions regarding Manufactured Homes should be directed to 803-484-5341 ext.3190 or 3187.
South Carolina law provides for a number of different classifications of property that qualify the property for exemption from property taxation. Approval of properties for exemptions is determined by the South Carolina Department of Revenue. In order for an application to be accepted it must be completed by the owner or agent and mailed directly to the South Carolina Department of Revenue. All incomplete applications will be returned causing a delay in the Department of Revenue consideration. Churches may be asked to provide a copy of their by-laws. If you are a 100% disabled veteran you must also enclose a letter from the Veterans Administration Office qualifying you. If the veteran becomes deceased then the spouse is required to re-apply for exemption. The County Auditor’s Office handles 100% Disability Social Security Exemption as well as Homestead Exemption and all vehicle exemptions. Applications and Questions concerning 100% Disability Social Security Exemption and Homestead Exemption contact the County Auditor. All other Exemption Applications and Exemption Questions contact the South Carolina Department of Revenue.
Property Tax Relief Due to Fire Damage
In accordance with South Carolina Code of Law 12-39-250 real property that has been damaged due to fire is subject to tax relief upon application by the owner. The applications for relief must be made to the Assessor Office. Applications along with a copy of the fire report may be mailed or delivered in person to our office.