The exemption from legal residence is not the same as the exemption from ownership. The Homestead exemption is a $50,000 reduction in the estimated value of a home owned by those who have lived in South Carolina for an entire calendar year and who are 65 years of age or older, are legally blind or permanently and completely disabled. The request for a homestead exemption must be made to the auditor of the district where the apartment is located. Homeowners who apply for the legal residency exemption for their home are taxed on their home at a 4% appraisal rate. But that rate only applies if the home is their primary residence, Glennon said. Otherwise, a homeowner with a second home would be valued at a rate of 6%. Many taxpayers who receive a questionnaire will be able to correct discrepancies and demonstrate that they are eligible by providing the necessary information and returning the questionnaire. If it appears that the owner is not qualified, the Charleston County Appraiser`s Office will make the final decision, notify taxpayers in writing and taxpayers will have the right to appeal, according to county spokesman Shawn Smetana. County officials are planning a thorough search of public records where homeowners could break the law. In cases where it turns out that the eligibility of the exemption may be questioned, the county will send that owner a questionnaire that must be completed within 15 days. “If everyone pays their fair share, revenue and budget will better meet the needs of Charleston County,” said Assistant Treasurer Keith Bustraan.
The efforts are based on similar efforts in other South Carolina counties. More information can be downloaded from the State Department of Revenue website: bit.ly/1u03Dr8 Anyone who has questions about how to complete the questionnaire should call the Legal Residency Exemption Audit Call Center at (843) 414-0766 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.