Real estate agents celebrate point-of-sale change

August 13, 2011 

Real estate agents and state legislators will join Gov. Nikki Haley in Charleston on Monday for the ceremonial signing of a bill aimed at blunting the impact of a law that changes how much properties are taxed when sold.

The bill passed the S.C. legislature as a compromise and was signed into law in June. However, that signing came in the midst of fights over the state budget and congressional redistricting, so its supporters never got a chance to celebrate until now.

"It was a small victory," said Andy Klepchick, a Hilton Head Island Realtor who is legislative chairman for the S.C. Realtors association. "It isn't the ultimate answer. It's a start."

The change isn't universally popular, and some local government officials said when it passed they were worried it would hurt revenue.

Real estate agents, though, lobbied hard for the bill. About three-dozen local agents hopped on a bus in February and headed to Columbia to call for changes to the point-of-sale law.

The bill that ultimately passed doesn't eliminate point-of-sale assessments outright, but it gives some owners a 25 percent discount on the new taxable value.

"If a property that is currently being assessed at $100,000 sells for $200,000, its new assessed value will be $150,000," said Nick Kremydas, CEO of the Realtors association.

However, the 25 percent discount cannot lower the taxable value below its current market value. For instance, if a property valued at $180,000 sells for $200,000, it would be taxed at $180,000.

In addition, the discount only applies to property taxed at the 6-percent rate, such as commercial and rental property or second homes.

Kremydas said the bill is retroactive to the beginning of this year, which means anyone who bought qualified property after Dec. 31, 2010, should see the discount on their tax bill this fall.

Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.

Related Content:

Point-of-sale compromise gets mixed reviews, June 2, 2011

Realtors accelerate push to repeal point-of-sale property assessments, March 7, 2011

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