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When buying a new car don’t forget to pay taxes

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Carrie Helms

Most people like having new vehicles. A new convertible would be especially nice for the summer time. Unfortunately, with new vehicles come taxes and it’s important for you to understand what taxes are due and how to pay them to avoid problems later on.

When purchasing a vehicle, you must pay local property taxes to the County Treasurer’s Office and you must also pay a sales tax for the vehicle to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer is allowed to pick up your registration and license tags without paying the local property taxes – but you are still responsible for paying these taxes.

When the dealer tells you they are taking care of your taxes, they mean they are paying the sales taxes for your vehicle purchase, which allows you a 120-day grace period to delay payment of personal property taxes on your new vehicle. Failure to paying these taxes could lead to a suspension on your driver’s license.

It’s important to keep in mind that different rules apply for those who bought their vehicles from a dealership outside of the state of South Carolina. For vehicles bought from another state, there is no 120-day grace period and the property taxes have to be paid within 45 days of the date of the purchase of the vehicle for the vehicle to be registered and issued tags.

Don’t forget that while DMV-issued vehicle registrations are valid for two years, you must pay vehicle taxes annually. Unless those taxes are paid, you will not receive a renewal sticker for your license plate. You should expect to receive those bills in the mail about two weeks before the month in which they are due.

If you have questions, please feel free to stop by our office at the County Administration Building downtown Lancaster or you can call us at (803) 285-7939. You can also get more information by looking up the Treasurer’s website: www.mylancastersctax.org.

You can also get more information about vehicle sales and registration by visiting the S.C. DMV website: www.scdmvonline.com.

Carrie Helms is treasurer for Lancaster County