Property Tax Definitions

Property Tax Definitions

Real Property

All land and the buildings, structures or improvement on the land.

Personal Property

All things other than real estate which have value, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, motors, airplanes, items used in a business such as furniture, fixtures, and equipment, and items used in a rental property such as furnishings and appliances.

Fair Market Value

The amount that property can reasonably be expected to sell on the open market with a willing buyer and a willing seller.

Assessment Ratio

The percentage of your property’s value that is subject to taxation in accordance with state law. For example, the assessment ratio of residential property is 4.0%. Multiply your home’s fair market value by the assessment ratio of 4.0% to determine assessed value.

Assessed Value

The appraised or fair market value of real or personal property multiplied by the appropriate corresponding assessment ratio equals the assessment or assessed value. Assessed value times the millage rate equals the amount of property tax due.


A process required by state law to determine the change in market value of property over a certain period of time in order to provide equity among taxpayers. Reassessment is a revaluation of real estate and by state law usually occurs every five years.

Millage Rate

The amount of mills levied in order to meet the budget of the county, town, school district, or special district. One mill equals 1/1000 of a dollar or 1/10 of a cent. If the tax rate is 256 mills, multiply .256 by the assessed value to determine the amount of property tax due.

Tax Year

The tax year is the year that the tax bill is received by the taxpayer and is payable by January 15 of the next year without penalty. Certain exceptions include boats and motors registered with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and motor vehicles, where the Tax Year coincides with the registration month for the respective personal property.


Tax Year for a vehicle coincides with the registration month for that vehicle.

Tax Map Number (TMS#) or Parcel ID#

The “TMS” number links ownership and map location information. This information is maintained by the County Assessor’s Office. This includes “tax maps” that show all the parcels of land in the county, each labeled with its own TMS number that links back to current ownership information for each parcel.

Tax Receipt Number or Tax Bill Number

The receipt number identifies each individual tax bill issued for each Tax Year. The receipt number is used to link the billing and payment records for each tax bill.

Online Payments

Online payment of the tax bill requires the taxpayer to enter the “Property ID (PIN)” or “Alternate ID (AIN)” number of the tax bill the taxpayer wishes to pay. Payments are handled with the Treasurer’s office.

The part of the tax bill below the detach line literally is the unpaid receipt for the taxes. It becomes a paid receipt once payment is received, and that section of the form is validated by the Treasurer’s Office.

Penalty Amount

Amount required by state law to be added to the total tax due for late payment of total taxes due on a specific tax bill.

Execution Cost

Amount charged in addition to penalties to support the process of collecting unpaid property taxes after the third penalty date has passed and the Treasurer has turned over unpaid property tax bills to the Delinquent Tax Department for collection.