Cecil LaVear Stevens, Auditor
PO Box 241
Bishopville SC 29010
Office- 803-484-5341 ext.3150
Mr. Stevens has served the citizens of Lee County 44 years. He was first elected in June of 1974 and was sworn into office in 1975. He has the distinction of being the longest elected official in South Carolina including US Congress, State House and Senate and other County Officials.
The Auditor's Office is responsible for listing and entering the assessment of personal property for ad valorem taxation. This office assembles information on real and personal property ownership for the purpose of establishing a fair market value, computing the assessed value, and applying the applicable millage rate to produce revenue to be collected by the County Treasurer. This revenue pays for a variety of public services, including schools, law enforcement, libraries, and roads. Mr. Stevens’ office is the central financial hub for Lee County. His office assesses over 17 million dollars in tax billing each year by compiling assessments from the S.C. Dept. of Revenue, the County Property Assessor and his role as personal property County Assessor. Cecil and his three tax clerks do numerous other duties including the following:
Authorizes all additions, omissions, and abatements to the tax roll.
Determines the assessed value of all personal property using manuals furnished by the South Carolina Department of Revenue.
Applies penalties to unpaid tax records.
Determines eligibility for Homestead Exemption.
Citizens living within all municipalities are billed for both county and city taxes on their real and personal property as the County collects all taxes for those citizens.
Prepares and lists all taxable personal property in the County on the tax roll. Properties include:
- Equipment(business personal property)
- Motor Homes
The Auditor's Office Does Not:
Place values on real property. Contact the Assessor's Office for information regarding property values.
Give information on paid taxes. Contact the Tax Collector's Office for information regarding paid taxes.
Issue business licenses or federal ID numbers. Contact the Department of Revenue for business licenses or federal ID numbers.
Collect any money, contact the Tax Collector's Office for information regarding Tax Collection.
What is the Homestead Exemption Benefit?
In 2007 the SC Legislature passed legislation that completely exempts from your tax bill all taxes levied for school operating purposes on the value of your legal residence. the Homestead Exemption credit continues to completely exempt the value of $50,000 for all purposes except for school operating purposes (already exempted by the new 2007 legislation)
Below is an example of a tax bill with credits for school operations (school tax credit savings) and homestead exemptions:
Value of Home $62,500
Assessment ratio for legal residence (4%) x .04 Total Assessed value 2,500
Total millage for all purposes (285 mills) x .285 Total taxes due before any credit $712.50
New school tax credit savings:
62,500x.04x150 mills school operations = ($375)
Homestead exemption credit:
50,000x.04 x 135 mills
(285 total-150 school operating) = ($270)
Total tax bill with both credits: = $67.50
Do I qualify?
In order to qualify, the following points must be true:
You hold complete fee simple title or life estate to the primary residence
As of December 31 preceding the tax year of exemption you were a legal resident of South Carolina for at least one calendar year
As of December 31 preceding the tax year of exemption you turned 65 years of age, was declared totally and permanently disabled by a state or federal agency having the authority to make such a declaration and/or you are legally blind as certified by a licensed ophthalmologists.
Where Do I Apply?
Contact the County Auditor's office in Lee County for application information and assistance. You can visit them at the Lee County Courthouse, 1st Floor, Room , call 803-484-5341 EXT 3152.
What documents do I need?
The following documents are needed when applying:
Proof of Eligibility (see qualifications)
If applying due to age, birth certificate, Medicaid card, Medicare card, and/or driver's license
If applying due to disability, documentation from licensed ophthalmologist.
If you are the income beneficiary of a trust, present a copy of trust agreement
Do I need to reapply annually?
No. Only in the case of the death of the eligible owner or spouse (see "Surviving Spouse Benefit" below), or if you move to a new home will re- application be necessary. However, any changes that may affect your eligibility must be reported immediately to the county auditor. These changes may include:
Change in disability status
Change in ownership
Rental of your home
Remarriage of surviving spouse
Surviving Spouse Benefits:
The surviving spouse of a qualified or potentially qualified Homestead recipient may also receive the benefit. If you are the spouse of a person who was not otherwise qualified for the Homestead Exemption on December 31 preceding the tax year for which the exemption is claims, but was 65 years of age, legally blind, or permanently disabled at the time of his/her death, and meets the ownership and residency requirements (as defined above).