Horry County property tax bill due Thursday - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County property tax bill due Thursday

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Property taxes, personal property taxes, and boat taxes are due in Horry County on Thursday.

Bills can sometimes slip our minds, but this property tax bill is one you do not want to be late on. You must pay it or post-mark it by January 15. If you don't, you will face a 3% fine. And the fine gets steeper the longer you wait. If you still don't pay by February 1, you'll face a 10% fine. You'll face a 15% fine if you push it past March 15.

There are four ways to pay the bill:

- In person at the treasurer's office

- Online at www.horrycounty.org, click “Online Services”, then click “Tax Payments and Receipts”

- Call 1-866-830-3582

- At the post office, make sure the clerk post-marks the mail January 15

There is additional information on the Horry County website on how to sign up for an installment payment plan for the 2015 tax year.

This year's property taxes are a bit different, because this year your property value was reassessed. The county is required by law to do this every five years. This allows the county to update the real market value, which directly impacts your property taxes.

So back in December 2013, all 250,000 properties in Horry County were re-evaluated. Since then, if your property increased in value by $1,000 or more, you got a reassessment notice from the county. This letter was not a bill, but it was forewarning you that you could be in for an increase when your bill eventually came around. The bills were then sent out in October. If you never got a letter in the mail before you got your tax bill, that means your home is valued about the same or less than it was back in 2010?.

For the first time in the county's history, the new assessment showed the overall market value is down. More than 150,000 properties saw a drop of $1,000 or more - especially condos. Even if you did see a drop in market value, you could still pay more in taxes. If you believe something is incorrect with your reassessment and your bill, you can make an appeal. But you have to do so by the end of the day Thursday. Even if you do make an appeal, you must still pay your bill by Thursday or you face even more fines.

A reassessment is what the county thinks your property is worth, not necessarily what someone would or should pay for your home. If your property value changed by more than $1,000, you missed the deadline to make an appeal for this current tax bill. You can still make an appeal, but it will only be considered for next year's bill.

If your property value changed by less than $1,000, and you think that assessment is wrong, your deadline to appeal is January 15. Gail Silbiger, the owner of Beach Appraisal Service, says if you're just starting the appeals process, it's too late to try and get an appraiser involved. Their process takes weeks and lots of paperwork. But if you know a realtor, ask if they can get you the property numbers of the homes around you. Then you can send that information in with your appeal to show your market value doesn't match. The Horry County Assessor's Office lists very detailed instructions on exactly what documents they accept. You can find that information here.

Once the appeal is finalized, if you win, then you will be refunded the difference. If you lose, and you never paid the bill in the first place, you'll have to pay steep fines.

Leaders at The Horry County Assessor's office say using new software for this year's reassessment has made a world of difference for their employees and for your pocket book. This new system helps streamline the process of reassessing market values. It allows workers to scan basic information, like an address or market value, from a bar code on the assessment notices and tax bills. This keeps the administrative staff from having to individually enter all the tedious information.

Their office always anticipates thousands of appeals, and this new software is making it much easier to handle them all in a timely manner. The assistant assessor says that even though we have had a fluctuating economy, they've received more than 13,000 fewer appeals than in the previous reassessment. She tells me they consider this a positive indicator that their reassessment values were spot on this year.

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