SC Department of Revenue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Motor Carrier Property Tax FAQs

 


Beginning with the calendar year 1997, property tax for motor carriers is collected by the South Carolina Department of Revenue instead of the local counties  Motor carriers are required to file an annual property tax return (PT441) with the Department of Revenue on or before June 30th for the preceding calendar year  The statutes covering the Motor Carrier Property Tax are Code Sections 12-37-2810 through 2880.  Motor Carriers register for this tax on Form PT442. (These forms change so please do not use prior year's forms. We send preprinted forms to registered taxpayers.)

Motor Carrier Property Tax Frequently Asked Questions:

Who qualifies as a motor carrier?
When is the tax collected?
When are the forms mailed to me?
What information is need to complete the return?
What if my vehicle isn't really more than 26,000 pounds?
How do I determine the number of SC miles?
What is the tax rate?
What is the penalty for failure to file or pay?
What do I do if I already paid the tax to the county?
Why did I get duplicate returns and statements?
How do I get more information?


Who qualifies as a Motor Carrier?

"Motor carrier" means a person who owns, controls, operates, manages, or leases a motor vehicle with a GVW greater than 26,000 lbs or bus for the transportation of property or persons in intrastate or interstate commerce except for scheduled intercity bus service, farm vehicles using FM tags and Special Mobile vehicles using SM tags as allowed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A motor carrier is defined further as being a South Carolina-based International Registration Plan registrant or owning or leasing real property within this State used directly in the transportation of freight or persons.
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When Is The Tax Collected?

Motor carriers must file an annual property tax return with the Department of Revenue no later than June 30 for the preceding calendar year and remit one half of the tax due or the entire tax due as stated on the return. If the motor carrier fails to pay either one half of the tax due or the entire tax due as of June 30, the department must issue a proposed assessment for the entire tax to the motor carrier. The tax as shown in the proposed assessment must be paid in full by cashier’s check, money order, or cash within thirty days of the issuance of the proposed assessment, or the taxpayer may appeal the proposed assessment within thirty days using the procedures provided in sub article 1, Article 5, Chapter 60 of this title.
(B)(1) If one half of the tax is remitted on or before June 30, the remaining one half of the tax due must be paid to the Department of Revenue on or before December 31 of that year. If the motor carrier fails to remit the remaining tax due pursuant to this section, the department shall issue a proposed assessment to the motor carrier.
(2) The tax shown in the proposed assessment must be paid in full by cashier’s check, money order, or cash or appealed within thirty days of the issuance of the proposed assessment. The taxpayer may appeal the proposed assessment using the procedures provided in sub article 1, Article 5, Chapter 60 of this title.
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When Are The Forms Mailed To Me?

A form PT-441 will be mailed to you by mid May.  If you do not receive a return you can go to our forms website under Property forms and access a current return or you may call the Department of Revenue at 803-898-5222 and one will be mailed to you.
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What Information Is Needed To Complete The Tax Return?

A.       Number of vehicles/buses owned as of December 31st of the preceding calendar year. (See information above to determine which vehicle/bus to account for on the return.)

B.       Year Acquired - The year each vehicle/bus was purchased. 

C.       Acquisition Cost - The original cost of the motor vehicle/bus. This should not include taxes, interest or cab customizing. 

D.       Mileage Information. 

For Vehicles With Apportioned Tags (these are tags on vehicles that travel outside SC), identify all fleet vehicles that have any miles in SC and calculate:

1.  Total miles operated in South Carolina for the preceding calendar year. 

2.  Total miles operated in all states including South Carolina for the preceding calendar year. 

For Vehicles Operating In South Carolina Only: If all miles are operated in South Carolina or if the vehicle did not travel any miles, no mileage information will be required because taxes will be allocated 100% to South Carolina.

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What if my vehicle isn't really more than 26,000 pounds?  We issue returns based upon information supplied by the Division of Motor Vehicles at the S.C. Department of Public Safety. If you receive a return, then according to the official record, the vehicle has more than 26,000 pounds. Therefore, you must file and pay as a motor carrier. If you registered the vehicle incorrectly, please contact DMV (803-251-2960), have the record corrected, and bring or mail a copy of the corrected record to one of our Taxpayer Service Centers, ATTN: Motor Carrier Section. But remember that this change only applies to future vehicle property tax returns. You still must file and pay for the tax assessed as of the previous December 31. 
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How do I check the number of miles driven in South Carolina this tax year?  If all miles were driven within SC, you won't need mileage. If you drove in and outside SC during the relevant year, you can review your quarterly  International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) returns, or contact the staffers administering this at 803-737-6307. This is the organization with which you're required to file quarterly mileage and tax reports. Vehicles that go out of state are required to register under the International Registration Plan (IRP). You can reach them at 803-737-6308.
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What is the tax rate?  The tax rate changes each and every year.  If you need to know the tax rate, please call 803-898-5222.
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What is the penalty for failure to file, failure to pay, or late filing and payment? A 25% penalty is due if the return is not filed by June 30th  with at least one-half (1/2) of the tax due. (The other one-half must be paid by December 31.)  The penalty is 25% of the total amount of the tax due. Moreover, the Department of Public Safety may not renew the registration on these vehicles if the return and tax are not remitted within 30 days. (12-37-2840)
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But I already paid my taxes county! What do I do?  If your taxes were paid to the county, please bring or fax to us (803-898-5xxx) a copy of the county's paid receipt for the tax year in question.  Please review your receipts carefully: payments of DMV Renewal Fees or Road Maintenance Fees do not qualify as payment of the Motor Carrier Property Tax.
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Why did I get duplicate returns and statements?  Every effort is made to consolidate all vehicles for a particular taxpayer under a single account number. Until recently, social security numbers and federal employer identification numbers were not always part of the DMV record, therefore, it was difficult to consolidate the records. We've made progress, but duplicate account numbers still exist. If you will contact us when you have more than one account number, we will close one account and consolidate the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) under a single account. Please call 803-898-5222.
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How do I get more help?  If you need additional information concerning payment of the motor carrier property tax, you may call (803) 898-5222 for assistance.
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