Tax time is here again, and for those who purchased in 2010, this is your opportunity to appeal.  Your appeal must be filed by the end of 2011.  The good news is that even if you purchased in 2008 or 2009 you can still appeal.  Like the 2010 purchaser, the 2008 and 2009 appeals may only appeal with transfers that occur in the year of purchase and no transactions after the year of purchase may be used as a basis.  Unfortunately, if the property was acquired before January of 2008 the chance of a successful appeal is minimized.  Realtors ® did make some positive strides in 2011 to change the 2006 Point of Sale tax code but the change only benefits 2011 purchases and only those assessed at the 6% rate or commercial properties. In a nutshell, if the property had been acquired after 2002, the chance of benefiting by this law is minimized because the purchase price less 25% cannot be below the property’s Fair Market Value of record.


If you win an appeal, you will enjoy the reduction in taxes for 2011 and 2012. All properties values will be reassessed by the County after December 31, 2012.  While our real estate taxes are a bargain compared to many states, only those who can’t claim residency, hold the property as an investment, and all vacant sites have the best opportunity to succeed in the appeal process because they are assessed using a 6% ratio.  Essentially, if your purchase price is well above like properties, you should file and soon.  The appeal form is simple to prepare and can be found at .  While the owner can prepare the form, the difficulty is in presenting, in a logical and convincing manner, the basis for the appeal or why you believe your property has been overvalued.  Given the lack of like sales this can be a difficult task even for an Appraiser.  Of course, I recommend an appraisal as the best method to present a logical appeal.  Remember, the Assessor’s Office is staffed by Appraisers, licensed by the state, and are most familiar with the logical approach to value utilized in a formal appraisal.  The cost of an appraisal cannot, by law, be based on the value established in the report but as a guide you can expect to pay between $450 and $550 for properties that are valued under $700,000.


Finally, you have three opportunities or levels in the appeal process. Only the property owner, and those hired to represent the owner, limited to an Attorney or Appraiser, may participate in the appeal when communicating with the County Assessor’s office and in the 2nd and 3rd levels of the appeal process.  Bruce Goff, the author and local Appraiser since 1988, can be contacted at or 843.686.4444.


Bruce A. Goff, Owner Bruce A. Goff, Inc.
PO Box 4652 / Hilton Head Island, SC 29938

SC Professional Appraisers Coalition, Board/Past Chairman

SC State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser, CR29
Licensed SC Real Estate Broker / SC Real Estate & Appraiser Instructor
Voice: (843) 686-4444 / Cell: (843) 683-4444 / Fax: (843) 686-4858

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