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The Local Option Sales Tax would be applied uniformly to eligible goods and services and would not offer individual or business exemptions.
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The Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) is authorized under S.C. Code Section 4-10-10. This tax is a general sales and use tax on retail sales that are taxable under the state sales and use tax. This tax is imposed to reduce the property tax burden on persons in the counties where this tax is imposed. The S.C. Department of Revenue collects this tax on behalf of these counties. The tax would not apply to groceries and prescription medications.
Residents will see the biggest benefit on taxes for homes. The LOST offsets property taxes for primary residences, as well as secondary homes. However, it also offsets taxes on other property, including vehicles, boats and motors, and aircraft.
The amount offset by the LOST for property owners is called the LOST credit factor. This is based on the amount of sales tax collected each year. Of the amount generated, 71% would go directly to property tax rollbacks. The remaining 29% of revenue generated may be used for government operations and projects (both county and municipal, based on location of sale and population). It is estimated that the tax would generate approximately $10 million per year. View a chart that shows the breakdown of how LOST revenue is distributed.
While it is impossible to know the exact amount each property owner's taxes would be offset by this tax, you can download the Excel workbook linked below to help estimate your property tax reduction amount. After downloading the workbook, you will note that there are three separate worksheets for Real Property, Vehicles, and Boats. Double click on the green cell in Row 23, Column N and enter the taxable value of your home, vehicle, or boat (be sure you are using the appropriate worksheet).
Effect of Implementation of 1% Local Option Sales Tax - Microsoft Excel Workbook
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the above workbook is a Microsoft Excel workbook and will work best in that program. Any figures or calculations generated by this workbook are estimates and should only be used for planning purposes. Figures/calculations under this model may vary depending upon other factors, including but not limited to: property values, assessments, etc., which may vary over time. Neither the information provided by this workbook, nor any reliance thereon, shall operate to create any warranty or duty on behalf of Georgetown County, and Georgetown County assumes no liability or responsibility for damages which may arise in relation to or reliance on the information obtained through this workbook.
Voters may approve the LOST through a county referendum. If voters approve the tax, the tax will typically become effective in that county on May 1 following the November election date.
If approved, the LOST will be a permanent tax, in place until/unless voters repeal it in another referendum.
The LOST applies to anything that the state’s 6% sales tax applies to. Groceries and prescription medications are exempt from the tax. Items limited to the $300 maximum sales and use tax are not subject to the LOST.
Only counties have the authority to impose the LOST, with approval from voters via referendum. However, municipalities receive a portion of funds generated by the LOST.
Georgetown County estimates the tax would generate approximately $10 million per year. This is a conservative estimate.
Georgetown County has a web page set up to provide voters with information about the LOST. Visit gtcounty.org/LOST.
A referendum on a 1% Capital Project Sales tax will also be on the ballot in 2024. Learn more about the proposed CPST at gtcounty.org/CPST.
No. These are separate taxes that will be on the ballot in 2024. To learn more about the differences between the LOST and CPST, please visit https://www.gtcounty.org/440/Proposed-Taxes-for-2024-Referendum.