SC Department of Revenue
Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights


South Carolina Department of Revenue

Your Rights and Obligations as a South Carolina Taxpayer

Basic Rights and Obligations

  • You have the right to apply for relief or assistance from the Taxpayer Rights' Advocate within the Department of Revenue.  The Taxpayer Rights' Advocate is responsible for the resolution of taxpayer complaints and problems.  Under certain conditions, the advocate may postpone until resolution any actions determined to cause you irreparable loss.

  • You have the right to request and receive forms, instructions and other written materials in plain, easy-to-understand language.

  • You have the right to prompt, courteous service from us in all your dealings with the Department of Revenue.

  • You have the right to request and receive written information guides, which explain in simple and nontechnical language, appeal procedures and your remedies as a taxpayer.

  • You have the right to receive notices which contain descriptions of the basis for and identification of amounts of any tax, interest and penalties due.

  • You are required to provide complete and accurate information when you file your tax returns.

  •  You are required to keep records to prove the accuracy of your tax returns or to determine your tax liability if you did not file your return.

  • You are required to file a return and pay your taxes when they are due.

Privacy & Confidentiality
The Department of Revenue will not disclose to anyone the information you give us, except as authorized by law. You have the right to know why we are asking you for information, how we will use it, and what happens if you do not provide requested information.

The Audit Process
When we notify you of a proposed change in your tax or to schedule an audit, we will advise you of your rights and responsibilities throughout the audit process and the steps to take to appeal if you disagree with the outcome. If you have any questions about your rights, please call us at one of the telephone numbers listed on the back of this brochure. You are entitled, though not required, to be represented by an attorney, accountant or other enrolled agent you designate.  Generally, you have the right to delay an audit for up to 30 days for adequate preparation of your case.

At the conclusion of the audit, you will receive a written explanation of our findings.  If you owe additional tax, you must pay the tax or file a written appeal within the prescribed time period.

The Appeals Process

  • You have the right to appeal a proposed assessment. Generally, you must appeal in writing within 90 days of receiving a proposed notice of assessment from us requiring you to pay more taxes.

  • You have the right, though it is not required, to be represented throughout the appeals process by a lawyer, certified public accountant or other enrolled agent.

  • The first step in the appeals process is with the Department of Revenue section which proposed the tax in question.

  • If you disagree with the Department of Revenue's final decision, you may appeal to the Administrative Law Judge Division within 30 days of receiving our final agency determination.  In most cases, you may appeal the Administrative Law Judge's decision through the courts of this state.

  • If you appeal the final agency determination to the Administrative Law Judge Division and the amount in controversy is $10,000 or less, you may elect to designate the action as a small claims case. You must do this at the time you request the hearing. If so designated, the decision in your case applies only to you and is final and cannot be reviewed by a higher court.

  • We may record any meeting, conference or hearing with you if we tell you ahead of time.  You may request a copy of our recording.

The Collections Process

  • We are responsible for providing you with an explanation of any tax, penalty or interest you owe. If you don't understand any tax bill you receive, you may call the phone number on the bill for an explanation.

  • We are responsible for sending a notice of any tax, penalties or interest due, by first class mail to the last known address of the taxpayer.            

  •  If you move or your mailing address changes you are required to notify us of your current address.

  • If we notify you that taxes are due, you are obligated to pay those taxes.  If you don't think you owe the tax, you must file an appeal within the prescribed time.

  • If you fail to file a return when required to, regardless of whether any tax is due, we will make an estimate of the amount due and issue a proposed assessment for that amount.

  • If your failure to file a return or pay tax was due to written advice from us, we may, under certain circumstances, waive any penalties and interest.

  • Generally, we must notify you that we think you owe taxes within three years of the date the taxes were due.  We have more than three years to notify you if:
    •  you committed fraud,
    • you failed to file a return,
    • you understated how much tax you owed by 20% or more,
    • the IRS is making an adjustment to your tax liability, or
    • you agree to waive the three-year deadline.

 If any of the above listed circumstances exist, the statute of limitations does not apply.

  • If you are granted relief by the Taxpayer Rights' Advocate, all statutes of limitation are suspended during the relief period.

  • If necessary, we may place a tax lien on your property.  This generally means you will be unable to sell or borrow against your property until the debt is paid. These liens are generally filed in the courthouse of the county in which you reside or own property.

  • We may also levy against your wages, bank account or other property you own.  We may seize and sell your property to collect taxes you owe.  Once you satisfy the tax debt which led to the lien being filed, we will record that the lien has been satisfied. 

  • If a lien has been filed in error, we will expunge the lien from public record and send a letter to you explaining the error. 

  • If we believe releasing or modifying a lien will facilitate the paying of the tax debt, we may, at our discretion do so.

  • If we file a levy in error, you may request reimbursement of any bank charges you incur as a result of the levy.  Your written request for reimbursement must be made within 90 days of the levy.

  • If we have reason to believe that delay would hamper our ability to collect, we will take steps to collect the tax immediately.  This is called a jeopardy assessment.  You may appeal a jeopardy assessment to the Administrative Law Judge Division.

  • You may bring legal action against the state if any Department of Revenue employee willfully, recklessly and intentionally disregards department procedures which results in your suffering actual and direct monetary damages. However, the court may reduce any damages awarded to you if they find that your action or negligence contributed to your damages and fine you up to $10,000 if it determines your lawsuit is frivolous or was filed as a delay tactic.

  • You may request an installment payment plan if you believe it will help you pay your tax liability.  You will be charged an administrative fee at the time of your application for an installment agreement.


  • You may request a refund of any tax you may have overpaid.  Generally, your request must be made within three years of when you filed your return or two years from when you paid the tax, whichever is later.  Taxes that were withheld are considered paid on the last day for filing a return for that tax year. Please note that there are some exceptions and limitations relating to claims for refund under this statute. For a factual interpretation, please contact us either at our website or at one of the numbers listed in this brochure.

  • If we deny your refund, you may appeal our decision.

  • If you are expecting a refund, but owe other taxes or other governmental debts (such as county hospital debts or municipal water bills), we may apply your refund to those debts.  You will be sent a notice to your last known address by the agency claiming your refund 30 days before the claim is submitted. You must file an appeal of this claim with the claimant agency. We have no authority to reverse a claim submitted.


If we deny your application for a license or we plan to suspend, cancel or revoke a license you hold, we must tell you in writing the reason for our actions.  You have the right to appeal our decision within 90 days of notification.

If you fail to comply with tax laws, we have the right to begin revocation on any license we issued to you.

 If we feel that your business endangers the health, safety or welfare of the public, we may request an emergency license revocation order from the Administrative Law Judge Division.


Penalties and Interest
Penalties will be charged to you if you file a late return or do not pay all the tax you owe.  In most cases, penalties continue to accrue until the entire liability has been paid.  You may request in writing that a penalty be abated.  If you qualify under the Department's waiver guidelines, the Department of Revenue may abate the penalty.

Interest will be charged to you for late tax payments.  Interest will continue to accrue until the debt is paid.

Taxpayer Service
The South Carolina Department of Revenue holds high the principles of the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and will strive to insure your rights are protected in all dealings with us. We appreciate your comments and suggestions that may help us serve you better.

We are here to help you.  Please contact us by e-mail at or by telephone to our contact center at (803) 898-5000. You may order forms and get answers to your income tax questions from a 24-hour automated telephone service.  You may find information about South Carolina taxes on our website at Some helpful telephone numbers are listed on the back of this brochure.

If you feel you are not getting proper assistance, you can call Compliance and Recovery.  A department specialist will work with you to help resolve problems you may be experiencing with the Department's administration of the tax laws.

A taxpayer advocate is here to help you when all other steps fail.  The taxpayer advocate takes an active and immediate interest in resolving your tax problem.

Where to Call

Contact Center………………………………(803) 898-5000(Columbia)          

Compliance and Recovery…………………(803) 898-5381

Taxpayer Advocate…………………………(803) 898-5444

Forms (24 hour service)…………………...1-800-768-3676

Forms Columbia area………………………(803) 898-5320


The Taxpayers' Bill of Rights may be found in Title 12, Chapter 58 of the S.C. Code of Laws, 1976, as amended.

Taxpayer Service Centers


Columbia  (Main Office)


1 Southpark Circle

301 Gervais Street

1452 West Evans St

Suite 100

P.O. Box 125

P.O. Box 5418

Charleston, SC  29407-9985

Columbia, SC 29214

Florence, SC  29502-5418

(843) 852-3600

(803) 898-5000

(843) 661-4850

FAX (843) 556-1780

FAX (803) 898-5822

FAX (843) 662-4876





Myrtle Beach

Rock Hill

545 North Pleasentburg Drive Edgefield Building 3rd Floor

1330 Howard Parkway             P.O Box 30427

454 S. Anderson Rd.                Suite 202

Greenville, SC  29607

Mrytle Beach, SC 29588 

P.O. Box 12099

(864) 241-1200

(843) 839-2960

Rock Hill, SC 29731

FAX (864) 232-5008

FAX (843) 839-2964

(803) 324-7641


FAX (803) 324-8289



Columbia Market Pointe


300B Outlet Pointe Boulevard   P.O. Box 21587


Columbia, SC 29210



(803) 898-5200


FAX (803) 896-1129






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