SC Department of Revenue
Casual Excise Tax


Casual Excise Tax

South Carolina Code Section 12-36-1710(A) imposes a 5% casual excise tax on the issuance of every certificate of title or proof of ownership for every:

  • motor vehicles,
  • motorcycles,
  • boats,
  • motors or
  • airplanes

required to be licensed, titled or registered.  The tax rate is 6% of the "fair market value" of a motor that is purchased alone (not permanently attached to the boat).  The measure of the casual excise tax is fair market value of the item to be licensed, titled or registered.  Fair market value is the purchase price less any trade-in allowed, or the value shown in a national publication (NADA) of used values adopted by the Department of Revenue less any trade-in allowed.

The purchaser is liable for the casual excise tax and, unless he can prove the state sales or use tax has been paid, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Natural Resources or the Division of Aeronautics may not issue a license or transfer title until the tax has been paid.


Excluded from the casual excise tax are motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats, motors or airplanes transferred to a:

  • member of the immediate family (spouse, parents, children, sisters, brothers, grandparents and grandchildren);
  • legal heir, legatee or distributes;
  • partnership, from an individual, upon formation of a partnership;
  • corporation, from a stockholder, upon formation of a corporation;
  • motor vehicle or motorcycle dealer licensed under Code Section 56-3-2310 for the purpose of resale;
  • financial institution for the purpose of resale; and 
  • transfers as a result of repossession to a secured party for the purpose of resale.

In addition to the above, the following also are excluded from the casual excise tax:

  • the fair market value of motor vehicles, motorcycles and airplanes transferred to a seller or secured party in partial payment (trade-ins); and
  • transfers of motor vehicles,motorcycles or airplanes specifically exempted by Code Section 12-36-2120 from the sales or use tax.


Local Taxes

Transfers subject to the casual excise tax are exempt from the 1/2% of 1% sales and use taxes.


ST-236 Casual or Use Excise Tax Return



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