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Delinquent Tax Frequently Asked Questions

Bidders General Information Sheet and Form

Q: How much are my taxes?
A: Please call the Georgetown County Tax Collector’s Office at (843) 545-3098 for this information.

Q: When will late fees be placed on my taxes?
A: On March 17, the county places taxes in execution. At that time, the county adds an additional 5 percent penalty and $10 charge. On May 1, the County adds another $10 charge. On July 1, the County adds an additional $50 charge.

Q: Can I pay my taxes by check or credit card?
A: Acceptable forms of payment include cash, personal checks, business checks, certified checks, cashier’s check, or money orders. However, 30 days before a tax sale, acceptable forms of payment are only cash, cahier’s checks, money orders or certified funds. Presently, Georgetown County does not accept credit cards or bank transfers.

Q: When does the county notify my mortgage company concerning delinquent taxes?
A: As soon as your taxes are delinquent.

Q: When do you post tax sale properties (signage or levies)?
A: The county begins posting properties for tax sale in June each year.

Q: When do you advertise the tax sale in the newspaper?
A: The county advertises three weeks before the day of the tax sale. The County places advertisements in only the Georgetown Times, which is the newspaper of record for Georgetown County.

Q: Can I get an extension to pay my taxes?
A: The county's Delinquent Tax Office does not have the authority to grant any extensions. Mandated by a state statute, the County must sell all properties with delinquent taxes.

Q: Can anyone pay my taxes? Will they then own my property?
A: The county cannot prevent someone from paying your taxes. However, this payment does not grant them any claim to the property.

Q: Can I recover information about who paid my taxes, how much did they pay, and when the taxes were paid?
A: Presently, the county does not have the capabilities to provide all this information. By contacting the Georgetown County Tax Collector’s Office, details concerning date of payment and amount of payment are available.

Q: How do you calculate taxes?
A: Georgetown County bases your taxes on the assessed value of your property. If you have any questions regarding the assessed value of your property, please call the county Assessor’s Office at (843) 545-3014.

Q: How do I know if my property assessment is listed as my legal residence or receiving Homestead Exemption?
A: Once you have purchased property, you must complete an application for legal residence or Homestead Exemption. Property owners submit the application for legal residence to the Assessor’s Office and Homestead Exemption application to the Auditor’s Office.

Q: How can I have penalties removed or reduce the amount of taxes I am required to pay?
A: Based on the assessed value of your property, one cannot have property taxes reduced. For penalties, the Auditor’s Office has the authority to abate any penalties.

Q: When I file for bankruptcy, can you sell my property? Am I required to pay the taxes on the property?
A: Georgetown County cannot sell property protected under bankruptcy. However, while in bankruptcy, you are required to keep all post petition taxes current.

Q: Can I sell my property if there is a mortgage?
A: Yes.

Q: If the county sells my property due to delinquent taxes, will I be required to continue paying the mortgage company?
A: This is a legal matter. Please consult your attorney.

Q: When you sell property for delinquent taxes, is the property owner required to vacate the premises immediately?
A: When properties are sold at a tax sale, the delinquent tax payer, according to state statute, has one year from the date of the tax sale to redeem the property by paying the taxes, interest, penalties and cost as stated. The delinquent tax payer is not required to vacate the premises. If the delinquent tax payer allows the one year right of redemption period to pass without paying the taxes, penalties, interest and cost as stated, the property is conveyed to the highest bidder.

Q: Once sold at a tax sale, how much do I pay to redeem my property?
A: Contact the Georgetown County Tax Collector’s Office, (843) 545-3098, for details.

Q: How can I find out who bid on my property and how much they bid?
A: Contact the Georgetown County Tax Collector’s Office, (843) 545-3098, for details.

Q: When my mobile home is sold for delinquent taxes, why do I pay the high bidder rent?
A: Per S.C. Code Section 12-51-96 "Conditions of Redemptions," in addition to other requirements for an owner of a mobile home to redeem his/her property after a tax sale, the delinquent tax payer or lien holder, must pay rent to the high bidder at the time of redemption. The tax collector’s office calculates the amount of the rent based on the formula mandated under S.C. Code Section 12-51-96.

Q: What transpires when there are over-bid proceeds after the issuing of a tax deed and/or bill of sale? Can I claim the overage?
A: When the amount of the bid exceeds the amount of taxes, penalties, interest, cost and current year’s taxes, the tax collector maintains the overage in an escrow account. When conveyed to the high bidder, the owner of record before the end of the redemption period is entitled to the funds held in escrow. The owner can claim those funds by submitting a "Claim by Defaulting Taxpayer for Over Bid Proceeds." This form is available in the Tax Collector’s Office. One must submit all claims within five years of the day of the tax sale. If unclaimed after five years, the funds revert to the county.

TAX SALE BIDDERS GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET

Bidders General Information Sheet and Form

  1. Bidding will start at the combined amount of delinquent and current taxes due (rounded off) and proceed in no less than $25 increments.
  2. Bidders must register and obtain a bidder number in order to bid. No bid will be accepted without a bidder number.
  3. Any bidder desiring to pay his/her bids prior to the completion of the sale must surrender his/her bidder number to the Delinquent Tax Office and allow time for the computation of his/her bids.
  4. Bidder must make payment of properties purchased by 5 p.m. on the day of the sale by certified check or cash.
  5. In case the successful bidder, or proxy bidder, fails to remit within the time specified, the defaulting bidder is liable for no more than $300 damages upon default, per bid each parcel.
  6. Property could be sold in error. If so, your bid will be refunded to you without interest. If tax payment is postmarked prior to sale date, your bid will be refunded to you without interest.
  7. S. C. Code Sec. 12-51-150: In the case that the official in charge of the tax sale discovers before a tax title has passed, the failure of any action required to be properly performed, the official may void the tax sale and refund the amount paid to the successful bidder.
  8. Bidders, when paying upon sale day, will be issued a master receipt for the cumulative total of all bids. Individual tax sale receipts for specific properties will be mailed to the bidder as soon as possible following the sale.
  9. Bidder money will be held in escrow. If property is redeemed by the taxpayer, bidder's money plus interest as provided by law will be returned to the bidder.
  10. Under State Law, a taxpayer will have a one year period in which to redeem his/her property. During this period, the bidder will have no access or rights to this property.
  11. If a taxpayer has multiple lots and/or multiple acreage to be sold, only enough will be sold to satisfy the taxes due.
  12. When selling delinquent tax property, the bidder takes title on the property "as is."
  13. All official announcements at this sale shall be by the official in charge.
  14. If there is not time to dispose of all property on sale day, the next day following shall also be a regular sale day, if by public outcry on sale day, notice of sale on the next day shall have been given.
  15. All bidders must make payment of properties purchased at tax sale by 5 p.m. on the day of the sale.
  16. The information contained herein is general in nature, and is not all inclusive.
  17. The principle of caveat emptor applies with all its rigor to all purchases at a Georgetown County delinquent tax sale.
  18. It is the policy of the Georgetown county Delinquent Tax Office not to issue tax titles and/or bills of sale to a successful purchaser at tax sale until such time as all taxes due are paid (delinquent and current). Mobile homes must be properly registered in the successful purchaser's name.
  19. Tax districts 5 and 6 are municipalities. Bidders should be cognizant of status of municipal taxes.
  20. Time will not permit the Tax Collector or his staff to answer questions regarding the above information for the duration of the tax sale.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tax Sales

Q: What is the date, time and location of your tax sales?
A: Usually, the first Monday in October. Please call the Tax Collector’s Office for verification in September. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the sale starts at 10 a.m. Sales are conducted in County Council Chambers, County Courthouse, 129 Screven St., Georgetown, SC 29440.

Q: How often do you hold tax sales?
A: Usually, once annually.

Q: Does your county hold a deed sale in addition to a lien sale? If so, when and where does it take place?
A: Deed sale only. Sales are conducted in County Council Chambers, County Courthouse, 129 Screven St., Georgetown, SC 29440.

Q: When and where will the tax sale be advertised?
A: Three consecutive weeks prior to sale, in the Georgetown Times newspaper.

Q: How and when do I register for the tax sale?
A: Bidder registration begins at 9 a.m. on the day of the sale. See sample of bidder registration form.

Q: What type of payment requirements are needed at the sale (cashier’s checks, personal checks, etc.) and when must payment be rendered? Is there a deposit required before the sale?
A: See tax sale bidders general information sheet, above. No deposit is required.

Q: What is the bidding process?
A: Public auction; highest bidder wins. See tax sale bidders general information sheet, above, for more information.

Q: What type of document is issued at the sale?
A: Bid receipt, after bid(s) are paid. Generally speaking, when a bidder bids at tax sale in Georgetown County, one of three things occurs:

  1. The taxpayer redeems the property from the tax collector within the one-year redemption period and the bidder is refunded interest as provided by law.
  2. The taxpayer fails to redeem the property within the one-year redemption period. The bidder is issued a tax title to the property.
  3. See item No. 7 on the tax sale bidders general information sheet, above.

All information contained herein is general in nature and is not all-inclusive.