Eds. Note: Boat tax is subject to change by state and local legislation and its application can change based on the facts. Please call for advice concerning you individual matter.
Tax on a vessel purchased outside of South Carolina (the use tax) is capped at $300. S.C. Code Ann. § 12-36-2110. A boat in the state and registered is subject to the casual excise tax, capped at $500.
Boats in South Carolina, therefore, are most at risk for the imposition of personal property tax. Liability for South Carolina’s personal property tax arises when a boat is in the state for 60 consecutive days or 90 total days in a calendar year. A local jurisdiction, however, has the discretion to increase the number of days a boat can stay without being subject to taxation to 180 days.
SC Code Ann. § 12-37-714 provides:
(2) A boat, including its motor if the motor is separately taxed, which is not currently taxed in this State and is not used exclusively in interstate commerce, is subject to property tax in this State if it is present within this State for sixty consecutive days or for ninety days in the aggregate in a property tax year….
Also, upon an ordinance passed by the local governing body, a county may increase the number of days in the aggregate a boat….must be in this State to be subject to property tax to one hundred eighty days in a property tax year, regardless of the number of consecutive days.