SC senior citizens could get bigger tax break on property taxes

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- A South Carolina lawmaker wants to help some of the most vulnerable residents. A proposal is on the table to expand tax breaks for senior citizens.

Right now South Carolina residents over the age of 65 qualify for a property tax exemption with a cap of $50,000 but a lawmaker from Clarendon County wants to increase that cap.

In 2018 more than 450,000 residents qualified for a property tax exemption through the Homestead Program. The program allows residents 65 years or older to have $50,000 of their home’s value exempt from property tax.

“I represent a rural area sort of poor. A lot of them live in homes that don’t have a lot of value,” explained Senator Kevin Johnson, the sponsor of the bill.

Senator Johnson wants to increase that value to $75,000.

The Clarendon County lawmaker added, “A lot of folks, especially the seniors, are on a fixed income where they only get that one social security check so we don’t want them to lose their homes.”

Other lawmakers are hoping other areas of the state’s property tax code are addressed as well.

Senator Sean Bennett is hoping the state’s tax code including sales, income and property is reformed. Senator Bennett said balance is needed.

“If your property taxes are lower somebody else’s have to be higher that’s just the way it works. So if we have certain people getting benefits then others have to pick up the slack in that.”

The bill would go into effect with the governor’s approval and would apply to property tax years beginning in 2018.

The Homestead Property Tax Exemption also applies to residents with disabilities or who are legally blind.

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