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PROTESTS AND APPEALS
 

MARKET VALUATION

The South Carolina Code of Laws Section 12-37-930 states, "All property must be valued for taxation at its true value in money which in all cases is the prices which the property would bring following reasonable exposure to the market, where both the seller and buyer are willing, are not acting under compulsion, and are reasonably well informed of the uses and purposes for which it is adapted and for which it is capable of being used."
Basically put, market value is the value that a property would sell for on the open the market place following reasonable exposure time to the market and where the buy and seller are knowledgeable and are not acting under compulsion. The Assessor’s Office does not create market value. Market value is created by people who buy and sell property. Our responsibility is to analyze market data and assess property based on that information. Foreclosures, foreclosure resales, forced sales, family sales, distressed sales, non-market level sales, un-marketed property sales, and other unreliable sales are not used to develop fair market value.
If you recently purchased one of these types of properties and are appealing based upon purchase price, please read the following court rulings very carefully.


The Courts have consistently ruled that:

  1. All property shall be valued for taxation purposes at its true value in money which in all cases shall be held to be the price which the property would bring following reasonable exposure to the market, where both the seller and the buyer are willing, are not acting under compulsion, and are reasonably well informed as to the uses and purposes for which it is adapted and for which it is capable of being used. S. C. Code Ann. § 12-37-930 (Supp. 1995).
  2. Fair market value is the measure of true value for taxation purposes. Lindsey v. S.C. Tax Comm'n, 302 S.C. 504, 397 S.E.2d 95 (1990).
  3. “A taxpayer contesting an assessment has the burden of showing that the valuation of the taxing authority is incorrect. Ordinarily, this will be done by proving the actual value of the property.” [citations omitted]. Cloyd v. Mabry, 295 S.C. 86, 367 S.E.2d 171, at 173 (Ct. App. 1988).
  4. While not conclusive, market sales of comparable properties present probative evidence of the fair market value of similar property. 84 C.J.S. Taxation § 411 (1954); see Cloyd v. Mabry, 295 S.C. 86, 367 S.E.2d 171 (Ct. App. 1988).
  5. Forced sales and distress sales such as foreclosed properties are not probative evidence of value. Hickey v. United States, 208 F.2d 269 (1953).
  6. A delinquent tax sale is a forced or distress sale with the sale price dictated more by the amount of taxes owed rather than the normal market factors which provide a reliable indication of true value and should not be considered as a comparable sale for purposes of determining the fair market value of the subject property. See S. C. Code Ann. § 12-37-930 (Supp. 1995); and Hickey v. United States, 208 F.2d 269 (1953).

We are responsible for appraising over 157,500 parcels. How do we accomplish this? We accomplish this using Mass Appraisal. Mass Appraisal is the process of valuing a universe of properties as of a given date using standard methodology, employing common data, and allowing for statistical testing to achieve uniformity and equity for tax purposes.

  • The Mass Appraisal process includes:
      • Identification of properties to be appraised
      • Defining market areas of consistent behavior that applies to properties
      • Identifying supply and demand in the market that impacts value
      • Developing and calibrating model structures that reflects the relationship among the characteristics affecting value
      • Analyzing and applying the conclusions to the market models
      • Reviewing, modifying, and measuring the results

The appraisers in our office use a combination of the following appraisal methods to value your property:
Cost Approach - estimates the cost to replace your building new, then subtracts for depreciation to determine the value of the improvement. The improvement value is then added to the land value.
Sales Comparison Approach - compares your property to similar properties that have sold during the previous five years.
Income Approach- determines the value of commercial property based on the amount of income it should produce in the market place.

 
Common Forms
Informal Appeal Form
Taxpayer Appeal Information Sheet
Board of Assessment Appeals Dates
Sample Change of Assessment Notice
Who May Represent During the Administrative Tax Process
 
Departmental forms may be used to file an appeal/protest, but it is not mandatory.
 
Documentation supporting the owner's opinion of value is necessary for a successful appeal.
 

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 12-60-2510 as amended;

  • In years where there is a notice of property tax assessment, the property taxpayer, within ninety (90) days after the assessor mails the property tax assessment notice (date on notice), must give the assessor written notice of objection to one or more of the following; the fair market value, the special use value, the assessment ratio, and the property tax assessment.
  • In years when there is no notice of property tax assessment, the property taxpayer may appeal the fair market value, the special use value, the assessment ratio, and the property tax assessment of a parcel of property at any time. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the assessor. An appeal submitted before the first penalty (January 15) applies for the property tax year for which that penalty would apply. An appeal submitted on or after the first penalty date of January 15th applies for the succeeding property tax year.
 
Step #1

Request in writing to meet with the County Assessor ANYTIME between January 1st of the current year and January 15th of the following year, or within ninety (90) days of receiving an assessment notice.

NOTE: The taxpayer cannot exercise both options within the same tax year.

Only certain authorized persons may represent property owners in the “administrative property tax process“. Authorized representatives include the following: South Carolina Licensed Attorneys, South Carolina Certified Public Accountants, Corporate Officers, South Carolina Registered/Licensed/Certified Appraisers, Full-Time Employees of the Property Owner, Enrolled IRS Agents, Partners and Fiduciaries. Who May Represent During the Administrative Tax Process.

If anyone other than the property owner files an appeal/protest, the Assessor requires them to show proof of eligibility to represent the owner. In addition, written consent of the owner must be given to the representative and provided to the Assessor. This information must be submitted with the appeal or the appeal will be denied. Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, as seen on Department of Revenue Website.

Documentation supporting the owner's opinion of value is necessary for a successful appeal.

If upon examination of the property taxpayer's written objection, the county assessor agrees with the taxpayer, the county assessor must make the change. In accordance with the South Carolina Code of Laws Section 12-60-2520 (B), the re-determined assessment of your informal appeal is final and the appeal is closed.

If upon examination of the property taxpayer's written objection, the county assessor does not agree with the taxpayer, the assessor shall schedule a conference with the property taxpayer.

Within 30 days of the date of the request for a meeting or as soon thereafter as practical. If the matter is resolved at the conference, no further action is necessary on the part of the taxpayer. If a property owner or agent fails to appear in person or by telephone at the scheduled conference, the right to further appeal is waived for that year and the appeal is closed.

 
Step #2

If the matter is not resolved at the conference the property owner will be advised of his/her right to file a protest. The property owner has thirty (30) days from the date of the conference and or the date on the written Notice of Action from the assessor to file a written protest with the Assessor.

The protest must contain:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the property taxpayer;
  • A description of the property in issue;
  • A statement of facts supporting the taxpayers position;
  • A statement outlining the reasons for the appeal, including any law or other authority, upon which the taxpayer relies; and
  • The value and classification which the property taxpayer considers the fair market value, special use value, if applicable, and the proper classification.
Departmental forms may be used to file an appeal/protest, but it is not mandatory.
Documentation supporting the owner's opinion of value is necessary for a successful appeal.
 
Step #3

The Assessor will then respond in writing to the taxpayer with thirty (30) days of the date of receipt of the taxpayers protest or as soon thereafter as practical.

The Assessor’s written response will include a statement of the initial assessment and the re-determined property tax assessment.

 
Step #4
If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the Assessor's reply, he/she may appeal within thirty (30) days after the date of the County Assessor's response to the Spartanburg County Board of Assessment Appeals. The Assessor may extend the time period for filing a taxpayers appeal if the request for an extension is received by the Assessor within thirty (30) days of the date of the County Assessor's response. If no appeal is made by the taxpayer, the re-determined value, if any, becomes final.
 
Step #5

A conference on the appeal must be conducted by the Board within thirty (30) days after the date of receiving the notice of appeal, or as soon thereafter as practical. The Assessor and taxpayer will be notified of the place, date and time for the conference at least thirty (30) days in advance.

All evidence of the property taxpayer must be presented at the conference. The Board has the authority and jurisdiction to enter a default decision if either the property taxpayer or the Assessor fails to appear at the conference, if proper notice of the conference was given. The Board may grant a continuance and refrain from entering a default order upon good cause shown by any party.

The Spartanburg County Board of assessment Appeals is comprised of up to nine citizens of Spartanburg County, appointed by Spartanburg County Council. Members are elected for up to two terms by a majority vote of Spartanburg County Council. A unanimous approval by Spartanburg County Council is required for a Board member to be appointed to more than two consecutive terms. Members of the Board are appointed by Spartanburg County Council to achieve comprehensive geographic representation by a body possessed of specific real estate expertise. The Board members elect a Chairman, a Vice Chairman, and a Secretary and meet as necessary to act on appeals from the assessments of the tax assessor. Three members present constitute a quorum authorized to hear and act on appeals.

Spartanburg County Board of Assessment Appeal Members

 
Step #6

At least fifteen (15) days before the date of the conference, the Assessor and property taxpayer shall file with the Board, copies of documents, including appraisals, property sales and a brief description of other evidence to be presented. Documents etc, shall also at this time be exchanged between parties prior to the hearing.

Documentation supporting the owner's opinion of value is necessary for a successful appeal.
 
Step #7

At least seven (7) days before the date of the conference, the parties may file with the Board any response each may have to the information filed by the other. This material must be mailed or delivered to the other party at the same time (prior to conference).

Conferences are open to the public.

 
Step #8

At the conference, the Assessor and taxpayer may present their cases and provide the Board with evidence.

After the conclusion of the conference, the Board shall mail a written decision to the parties within fifteen (15) days after the date of the conference, or as soon thereafter as practical.

 
Step #9
Within thirty (30) days after the date of the Boards written decision, a property taxpayer or county assessor may appeal the Board’s decision by requesting a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Court.
Documentation supporting the owner's opinion of value is necessary for a successful appeal.
 
Step #10

The decision of the Administrative Law Court may also be appealed by either party to Circuit Court, Appellate Court of finally the South Carolina Supreme Court.

 
Documentation supporting the owner's opinion of value is necessary for a successful appeal.