Common Terms

Ad Valorem

“based on value,” which applies to property taxes based on a percentage of the county’s assessment of the property’s value. The assessed value is the standard basis for local real property taxes . Any tax imposed on the basis of the monetary value of the taxed item. Literally the term means “according to value.”

Agricultural Real Property

Agricultural real property shall mean any tract of real property which is used to raise, harvest, or store crops or feed, breed or manage livestock, or to produce plants, trees, fowl, or animals useful to man, including the preparation of the products raised thereon for man’s use and disposed of by marketing or other means. It includes but is not limited to such real property used for agricultural, grazing, horticultural, forestry, dairying, and mar culture. In the event at least 50% of a real property tract shall qualify as “agricultural real property”, the entire tract shall be so classified, provided no other business for profit is being operated thereon. The term “agricultural real property” shall not include any property used as the residence of the owner or others in that the taxation of such property is specifically provided for in section 12-43-230 of the South Carolina Code of Laws and Department of Revenue Regulation 117-124.7. Application should be made with the Assessor’s Office. See Online Forms section for the application. See Agricultural Use.


The taxpayer has the right to appeal their property assessment if they disagree with the Assessor’s property valuation. However, the AMOUNT of your tax bill is not grounds for an appeal. The taxpayer may appeal: the fair market value, the special use value, the assessment ratio, and the property tax assessment. The burden of proof is on the Taxpayer to present evidence of why they disagree with the Assessor’s Office findings. See Appeal Process for more information.

Assessed Value

An appraisal or fair market value of real property multiplied by the appropriate corresponding ratio equals the assessment or assessed value.

Assessment Ratio

The percentage of your property’s value which is subject to taxation. For example, the assessment ratio of owner-occupied residential property is 4%. Multiply your home’s fair market value by the assessment ratio of 4% to determine assessed value.

Assessment Notice

Notification to the Taxpayer when values change as a result of reappraisal and reassessment of real property so as to reflect its proper valuation in light of changed conditions if the property’s fair market value increases by more than $1,000. Also an Assessment Notice will be sent for classifications changes such as legal residence, use value (agricultural use) or other changes that affect the assessed value of the property. The notification includes information to the Taxpayer on how to appeal the decision should the Taxpayer disagree with the notice. The Assessment Notice is not a tax bill. Do not wait until your tax bill arrives should you desire to make an appeal; the appeal must be made by the date shown on the notice. Appeals based upon the tax bill amount cannot be considered grounds for an assessment appeal.

Department of Revenue

Property involving transportation, utilities, manufacturing, and personal property are appraised by the South Carolina Department of Revenue not the Abbeville County Assessor’s Office. Visit the SC Department of Revenue website at

Fair Market Value

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

Homestead Exemption

The Homestead exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of your legal residence for certain persons who are 65 or older, totally disabled, legally blind and have lived in South Carolina for at least one year. Application should be made through the Auditor’s Office.

Millage Rate

The amount of mills levied in order to meet the budget of a school district, county, city or other political subdivision. The millage rate is multiplied by the assessed value to determine the amount of property tax due. One mill equals 1/1000 of a dollar (.001).

Multiple Lot Discount

Notwithstanding the requirement that real property is required by law to be appraised at fair market value for ad valorem tax purposes, when undeveloped acreage is surveyed into subdivision lots and the conditional or final plat is recorded with the appropriate county official, the county assessor shall appraise each lot as an individual property and then discount his gross actual market value estimate in accordance with either Section 12-43-224 (plats recorded prior to January 1, 2001) or Section 12-43-225 (plats recorded on or after January 1, 2001).

Property Tax Relief

Taxpayers who qualify for legal residence also qualify for additional relief as provided in the Property Tax Relief Act of 1995. This relief is applied to the first $100,000 of the property value using the school operating portion of the millage (1995) of the current millage rate. The amount of exemption is determined each year based on the South Carolina General Assembly revenue projections.

Real Property

All land and the buildings, structures or improvements on that land including mobile homes.


South Carolina’s Constitution requires that property be taxed fairly and equitably. From the time your property is added to the tax rolls, the tax assessment does not change for a five-year cycle unless:

  1. physical changes have been made to the property (e.g.: home construction, acreage change, etc.)
  2. the occurrence of an Assessable Transfer of Interest (ATI) (e.g.: sale, Deed of Distribution, etc.)
  3. a reassessment program is implemented.

In 1965, Abbeville County instituted its first reassessment and has had periodic reassessments since that time. Reassessment is the 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. This involves the revaluation of all taxable real estate in the county. Current South Carolina statutes provides for reassessment every five years.

The County is currently under a revolving reassessment program in which a new reassessment is based upon market conditions as of the last day of the year of the fifth year in the five-year cycle. The reassessment program is based on tax year 2010 with properties being reassessed every 5 years.

The Department of Revenue authorizes and certifies the reassessment program which is intended to distribute the tax burden fairly among all property owners.

Only real property values are affected by a reassessment.

Retirement of Mobile Home Title

In June 2003, provisions were made by the legislature for the Retirement of Mobile Home Titles. The Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, was amended by adding Article 4 to Chapter 19, Title 56 so as to provide a uniform procedure to Retire the Title Certificate to certain manufactured homes affixed to real property and to provide for the creation of a procedure by which a manufactured home affixed to real property may be subject to a mortgage on the real property to which the manufactured home is affixed.

Roll-Back Taxes

Taxes that are applied when property that has been receiving the Use Value classification (agricultural use) and the use of a portion or all of the property has changed. The majority of the use changes involve new houses. Roll-back taxes are applied for up to five years.

Tax Map Number

This is a unique ten-digit number that is the basis for property identification and location. (Sometimes referred to as Parcel ID Number)