DATE OF VALUATION: Berkeley County real estate values reflect the market value as of December 31, 2013, which is the date of the last county-wide revaluation. Any inflation, deflation or other economic changes occurring after this date cannot be lawfully considered when reviewing the value for adjustment. The December 31, 2013 values remain in effect until the next county-wide revaluation, which is currently performed every five years, or an Assessable Transfer of Interest occurs. New accounts or new construction created after the revaluation year are assessed according to the last county-wide revaluation. SC Code of Laws 12-43-215 & 12-37-3140
Appeals to the County Assessor
South Carolina Code 12-60-2510 and 12-60-2520 establish the steps necessary to appeal an assessment made by a county assessor:
Appeals to the County Board of Assessment
South Carolina Code 12-60-2530 establishes the procedure for administrative appeal of the Assessor's decision to the County Board of Assessment Appeals:
All board members present at the hearing must consider each appeal. The lesser of a majority of the members or three members of the board are a quorum, unless the assessor and the taxpayer agree to a lesser number.
Only those persons permitted to practice before the county boards by South Carolina Code 12-60-90; may practice before the board of appeals, i.e., attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, licensed appraisers, and the taxpayer and employees of the taxpayer (in house counsel).
The attorney or representative is an advocate of the taxpayer's position. His or her arguments are not testimony and are therefore not given evidentiary value. Administrative practice is also to allow attorneys licensed in any state to represent a taxpayer before a county board.
South Carolina Code 12-60-2530 specifies the procedures of the hearing. The hearing must be held as follows:
The Boards may affirm, increase or decrease the assessment that is the subject of the appeal. The board shall make its decision based upon the evidence before it. The Board shall state the basis of its conclusions. The findings of fact shall be stated in such detail as necessary to adequately reflect the same and to support the basis or grounds for the board's conclusions.
The decision must be made by a majority vote of the board members present at the hearing. (See Quorum, above.) In case of a tie, the assessor's determination of value is upheld.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the decision may be announced orally or it may be reserved for consideration. In either event, the board shall mail a written decision to the parties within fifteen (15) days after the date of the hearing, or as soon thereafter as practical.
The written decision of the board shall:
Appeals to the Administrative Law Judge Division
Within thirty (30) days after the date of the board's written decision, a taxpayer or an assessor may appeal a decision made by the board by requesting a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division in accordance with rules of the ALJ Division. The County Board establishes no record. The ALJD hearing is an entirely new hearing. Further the ALJD is finder of fact and its record becomes the record for appeals.
If a taxpayer requests a contested hearing with the ALJD without exhausting his pre-hearing remedies because he failed to file a protest or attend a hearing with the County Board, the ALJD will dismiss the action without prejudice.
If the taxpayer failed to provide facts or law to support his position to the County Board and seeks to provide those facts or argue that legal position to the ALJD, the ALJD will return the case to the County Board to reconsider the case in light of the new facts or law.
If an appeal extends, or is expected to extend, beyond December 31, the taxpayer must pay a portion of the tax equal to 80% of the protested assessment and may agree, in writing, to pay a higher amount. (See South Carolina Code 12-60-2550).
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