By Mindy Lucas
At their regular meeting held on Tuesday, April 14, members of Beaufort’s City Council voted in favor of adding a local option sales tax (LOST) to the November ballot.
If passed by voters, the tax would add a penny to the current sales tax of 7 percent paid by Beaufort County residents and visitors.
Of the revenue collected, 71 percent would go back to property owners as a property tax credit. The remaining 29 percent would be distributed among the county and its municipalities.
LOST would allow for a credit against a taxpayer’s real property, personal and motor vehicle tax liability. According to various analyses, a significant amount of the revenue raised through the tax would come from visitors and tourists, a news release from the city stated.
Beaufort County Council voted 6 to 5 to add the tax on the November ballot at its meeting April 13.
According to estimates prepared by the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, a 1 percent local options sales tax would generate approximately $52 million in revenue in Beaufort County in FY 2021-22.
The lion’s share of that revenue, or $35 million, would go back to residents in the form of property tax credits. Of the remaining $14.3 million, the City of Beaufort would receive approximately $1.5 million in revenue that would be applied toward the city’s capital improvement projects.