Beaufort city council supports putting local option sales tax on ballot

Local News

BEAUFORT, SC (WSAV) – Tuesday Beaufort City Council passed a resolution in support of putting a local option sales tax (LOST) on the November ballot.

According to city officials, LOST would add a penny to the current sales tax paid by Beaufort County residents and visitors, which is 7%. 

Of the revenue collected, 71% would go back to property owners as a property tax credit. The remaining 29% would be apportioned among the county and municipalities.

Officials added LOST would allow for a credit against a taxpayer’s ad valorem (real property, personal and motor vehicle) tax liability.  

The city says that according to various analyses a significant amount of the revenue raised through LOST would come from visitors and tourists.

Beaufort County Council voted to approve putting LOST on the November ballot on Monday.

According to estimates prepared by the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, a 1% local options sales tax would generate approximately $52 million in revenue in Beaufort County in FY 2021-22.

The lion’s share, $35 million, would be allocated back to resident taxpayers in the form of property tax credits.

Of the remaining $14.3 million, the City of Beaufort would receive approximately $1.5 million in revenue that would be applied toward projects included in Capital Improvement Plan.

City leaders believe that LOST would provide a much needed revenue source to address capital projects without taking on additional debt.

Many of these are funded through grants but require matching funds from the City, which are limited.

Officials say the city provides many services to visitors who are not taxpayers and the local sales option tax would address this imbalance.

According to the city, the owner of a home with an appraised value of $100,000 would receive an approximate $222 tax credit if this tax were to pass.

If passed by voters in November, the tax would begin to be collected in May 2021.

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