State of SC Veterans Benefits: Part II

7 mins read

By Larry Dandridge

The State of South Carolina offers benefits for its military service members and Vets including real (home) and personal (passenger vehicles) property tax exemptions, income tax exemption on retirement pay, state employment preferences, education and tuition assistance, vehicle tags, and hunting-fishing license privileges. Eligibility for some benefits depend on residency, military component, and Veteran disability status.

This article will give you details on one of SC’s generous benefits, the real and personal property tax exemption. There are many more SC Vet’s benefits than could be listed in this article, so read the information at va@scdva.sc.gov and at https://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/Benefit-Library/State/Territry-Benefits. If you have questions about Vets’ benefits in SC, you should contact the SC Department of Veterans’ Affairs (SCDVA) in Columbia, SC at 803-734-0299, FAX 803-734-4014, E-mail va@scdva.sc.gov or your serving Veterans Service Office (VSO). 

Veteran Home and Privately Owned Vehicle Tax Exemptions

South Carolina’s effective real estate tax rate is 0.57%. Homeowners pay an average of $601 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value. As a permanently 100% disabled veteran, I save about $2,000.00 in taxes every year because I applied for and received a SC real property tax exemption on my home. 

The SC Department of Revenue (DOR) web site Property.Exemptions@dor.sc.gov and dor.sc.gov/exempt-property states that the following veterans are exempt for home and land (Real Property) tax and two private passenger vehicles (Personal Property) tax: 

Vets deemed totally and permanently service-connected disabled.

Medal of Honor (MofH) Recipients.

Prisoners of War (POW) from WWI, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War. 

After applying and being approved by the State of SC, Vets eligible for home tax exemptions are exempt from paying home taxes (100% disabled = home and 5 acres and MofH recipients and POWs = home and 1 acre). Vets will need to submit the following documents to apply for home and private passenger vehicle tax exemptions: 

A VA letter or County VSO letter certifying you are totally and permanently disabled with the effective date. VA Rating decision letters alone, do not meet SC requirements of law. Temporarily 100% disabled Vets do not qualify. 

For home and land exemption, a copy of the recorded deed; your marriage certificate, if the home is jointly titled with a spouse; and *proof of legal residence. *Proof of legal residence can include: proof of employment, military record, SC Driver’s License or ID Card, paying SC income taxes as a resident, ownership of principal residence, license for a professional practice, etc.

For home-land exemption, a copy of a document showing that the 4% special assessment ratio for an owner-occupied dwelling from the country assessor’s office has been granted, either solely to the applicant or jointly with a spouse. 

For vehicle tax exemptions, a copy of the current registration card, bill of sale, or title and, for jointly titled vehicles, a copy of your marriage certificate.

A completed SC PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION APPLICATION FOR INDIVIDUALS Form PT-401-1 found at https://dor.sc.gov/forms-site/Forms/PT401I.pdf. Follow the form instructions carefully. 

The surviving spouse of totally and permanently disabled veteran is also eligible for home exemption, if at the time of the Vet’s death, the spouse acquires sole ownership in fee or for life. A surviving spouse may apply for this exemption for a dwelling home the Veteran and spouse acquired from the deceased spouse, as long as the spouse remains unmarried, resides in the house, and owns the house for fee or for life. 

Surviving spouses are also eligible for one vehicle tax exemption, which is registered solely in the surviving spouse’s name. If applying as a surviving spouse, provide copies of: Vet’s death certificate; documentation from the VA showing you are the survivor of a veteran; and SC vehicle registration, bill of sale, or title showing you are the sole owner.

The surviving spouse of a Medal of Honor Recipients is also eligible for home exemption, if the surviving spouse inherited sole ownership of the property upon the passing of the Medal of Honor recipient. There is no surviving spouse exemption for privately owned vehicles.

The surviving spouse of a POW is also eligible for home exemption, if the surviving spouse inherited sole ownership of the property upon the passing of the veteran. A POW. surviving spouse is also eligible for one vehicle, which is registered solely in the surviving spouse’s name. 

This article describes only one of SC’s many Veterans Benefits. Don’t miss out on these benefits. Get with your County (or other) VSO and apply for the benefits you qualify for. There is a county VSO serving every SC County. The Beaufort County Veterans Service Office is located at 1905 Duke Street, Beaufort, SC 29902, Phone 843-255-6880 and email is Beaufort@scdva.sc.gov.

Larry Dandridge is a patient at the RHJ VA Medical Center; an Army ex-Enlisted Infantryman, Ex-Warrant Officer Combat Pilot, and retired Lt. Colonel; a past Veterans Service Officer; a volunteer Patient Adviser at the RHJ VA Medical Center; the Fisher House Charleston volunteer Good Will Ambassador; the volunteer VP for Veteran Affairs for the Coastal Carolina Association of the US Army (AUSA) Chapter; the Author of the award winning BLADES OF THUNDER (Book One); the CEO of TVV Publishing LLC; a past Aerospace Company Regional Manager; the Founder of CLC Hospice LLC; a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt; a Motivational Speaker; a past University Business, Aeronautics, Military Science, and Writing Instructor; and a contributing writer for the Lowcountry Weekly & Island News. You can reach Larry at LDandridge@earthlink.net . 

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