Document Vessels

  1. December 31 of the prior year is the assessment date for the current tax year. Failure to file the Survey by April 30 of the current year may result in an estimated value plus 10% penalty. If sold, please attach a copy of your Bill of Sale or other document showing date of sale, and purchaser's name and address. If sold after December 31 prior, you may still be subject to property taxes this year.
  2. Horry County Council has passed an ordinance adopting a state-allowed local option to reduce all watercraft taxes by 42.75%. Under this ordinance, 42.75% of the fair market value of a watercraft (and motor, if taxed separately) will be exempted from tax. The assessment rate will remain at 10.5% as set by state statute. The ordinance, which went into effect beginning with tax year 2008, has the same net effect as using a 6% assessment rate.
  3. Please sign and return the survey with post-mark on or before April 30 to avoid a potential 10% penalty, and please complete the Survey in its entirety so that your vessel may be added to or exempted from the official tax roll of Horry County. An incomplete filing may result in an estimated value being used for the vessel described.
  4. The Watercraft Survey is required if any of the following criteria apply to you:
    • Your official documentation/registration shows an Horry County mailing address,
    • Your official documentation/registration shows an Horry County hailing port,
    • Your boat was docked in Horry County for a minimum of 180 days during the prior year,
    • You are a legal resident of Horry County,
    • Your name/address have been included on a report from a local marina.
  5. South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 12-37-710 states, "Every person of full age and of sound mind shall annually list for taxation the following personal property, to wit:
    • All the tangible personal property in the State owned or controlled by him;
    • All the tangible property owned by him or by any other resident of this State and under his control which may be temporarily out of the State but is intended to be brought into the State;
    • (3) All tangible personal property owned or controlled by him which may have been sent out of the State for sale and not yet sold."
  6. In cases where a taxable vessel has been sold after the December 31 assessment date, taxes are not automatically prorated by Horry County. The December 31 (prior) owner will be billed for the tax. Section 12-37-735 provides for the proration of property taxes, but only if the transferor (seller) and transferee (buyer) agree and both sign a proration form available at our office and immediately pay each pro-rated share.
  7. South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 12-54-40 states: A person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat any tax or property assessment, in addition to other penalties provided by law, is guilty of a FELONY and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, together with the cost of prosecution. The assessment may be estimated from the best available information and then amended when more sufficient information becomes available. ENFORCEMENT FOR NON-COMPLIANCE (PENALTIES AND PROSECUTION) WILL BE STRENGHTENED BY OUR OFFICE, ALONG WITH OTHER COUNTY, STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCIES.
  8. South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 12-37-900 states that personal property owned on December 31 shall be listed for taxation with the County Auditor between January 1 and April 30 of the following year regardless of whether the property was sold after the December 31 assessment date.
    An Attorney General's opinion on this section states, (for example) "The owner of personal property on December 31, 1979 is required to make a return to the county auditor listing all property owned by him on that date notwithstanding the fact that some property is sold by him in January 1980…a (taxpayer) is liable for the ad valorem tax on all tangible personal property possessed and used by him as of December 31 next preceding the taxable year."
  9. If you have any questions regarding the information listed in this section, please contact:
    Horry County Auditor's Office
    1201 21st Avenue North
    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29577  
    Phone: (843) 915-5054