Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Janet Brown Jurosko, Berkeley County Auditor, has released information to Summerville’s Berkeley County residents concerning marine equipment.
South Carolina law prohibits the sale or purchase of watercraft without a valid title issued in the seller’s name to assign to the purchaser at the time of sale. All watercraft are required to be registered and titled except documented vessels, windsurfers, or watercraft moved by human power with oars, paddles or similar devices.
Non-powered sailboats are required to be titled only. All outboard motors of five horsepower or more are required to be registered and titled.
A purchaser may operate a watercraft and an outboard motor up to 30 days from the date of purchase if he has a temporary watercraft certificate and notarized bill of sale on board. The temporary watercraft certificate is the Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) application for new registration. The application is at www.scndr.sc.gov.
When marine equipment is purchased, it must be registered with the SCDNR by the end of the 30-day period. SC sales tax is paid to the SCDNR at the time of application. Property taxes are not due on the marine equipment until the following year. Unlike vehicles, which are paid in advance, marine equipment taxes are billed in October based on ownership as of Dec. 31 of the prior calendar year.
For example, an owner who sold a boat in Jan. 2012 will still owe the taxes for Tax Year 2012 as it is based on the end of the calendar year 2011. The taxes follow the item, not the owner. When taxes are not paid and have become delinquent, the SCDNR file will be flagged as failed to pay taxes and transfers cannot be done until the delinquent taxes have been paid.
If you are thinking of purchasing marine equipment, you may contact the county in which the seller resides to make certain there are no delinquent taxes due. Boat trailers are no longer taxed; however, the taxpayer may obtain a license tag from the DMV in order to allow the trailer to be pulled across SC state lines.
Marine equipment valued at $500 or less is exempt from property taxes. If you change your address, either within the county or elsewhere, you are required to notify the SCDNR and the Auditor’s Office within 30 days.
Please contact the Berkeley County Auditor’s office at (843) 719-4727, 719-4735 or 719-4736.
Visit www.berkeleycountysc.gov or www.dnr.sc.gov.