The 2016 South Carolina State Sales Tax
What is the 2016 South Carolina Sales Tax Rate?
The South Carolina state sales tax rate is 6%, and the average SC sales tax after local surtaxes is 7.13%.
- Groceries and prescription drugs are exempt from the South Carolina sales tax
- Counties and cities can charge an additional local sales tax of up to 3%, for a maximum possible combined sales tax of 9%
- South Carolina has no special sales tax jurisdictions with local sales taxes in addition to the state sales tax
- South Carolina has a lower state sales tax than 65.4% of states
While South Carolina does not have one of the highest general sales tax rates, when the state sales tax is combined with South Carolina's local, county, and hospitality taxes the total can amount to a maximum general sales tax of 9%. The majority of South Carolina's 46 counties charge a local sales surtax.
Some cities levy additional taxes on prepared food and liquor,with total taxation as high as a 16.5% on mixed drinks in Myrtle Beach. Additional surtaxes may also be collected on the sale of prepared food in some counties. The state sales tax on the sale of most motor vehicles is capped at $300.Sales Tax Holidays:
South Carolina does have a sales tax holiday on the first weekend of August every year, created to benefit back-to-school shoppers. Many school-related items, including clothes and computer equipment, can be purchased sales tax free during this weekend.85+ Sales Tax Exemption:
Senior citizens over age 85 can receive a 1% discount on their sales tax bill on all purchases by requesting the discount and showing proof of age at the point of sale. All retailers are required to post a sign explaining this exemption on premises.
If you are a South Carolina business owner, you can learn more about how to collect and file your South Carolina sales tax return at the 2016 South Carolina Sales Tax Handbook .
South Carolina Sales Tax Exemptions
South Carolina doesn't collect sales tax on purchases of most prescription drugs and groceries. Prepared Food is subject to special sales tax rates under South Carolina law. In most states, necessities such as groceries, clothes, and drugs are exempted from the sales tax or charged at a lower sales tax rate.
Some items may not be eligible for these reduced sales tax rates, such as expensive clothing, unhealthy food or drinks like soda, and certain non-essential pharmaceuticals. Unlike many states, South Carolina treats both candy and soda as groceries for sales tax purposes. Other items including gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes are subject to various South Carolina excise taxes in addition to the sales tax.
South Carolina has four sales tax holidays, during which certain items can be purchased sales-tax free. For more details, see the South Carolina sales tax holiday calendar.
In some states, items like alcohol and prepared food (including restaurant meals and some premade supermarket items) are charged at a higher sales tax rate. Prepared Food is subject to a higher state sales tax then other items. The SC sales tax applicable to the sale of cars, boats, and real estate sales may also vary by jurisdiction. South Carolina's sales tax rates for commonly exempted items are as follows:
$100 Restaurant Dinner
$100 of groceries
$100 in clothes
$100 of consumer products
$10.50 sales tax
$0.00 sales tax
$6.00 sales tax
$6.00 sales tax
South Carolina Sales Tax Exemption Certificate
Unlike a Value Added Tax (VAT), the South Carolina sales tax only applies to end consumers of the product. Individuals and companies who are purchasing goods for resale, improvement, or as raw materials can use a South Carolina Sales Tax Exemption Form to buy these goods tax-free.
Companies or individuals who wish to make a qualifying purchase tax-free must have a South Carolina state sales tax exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the South Carolina Department of Revenue . On making an exempt purchase, Exemption Certificate holders may submit a completed South Carolina Sales Tax Exemption Form to the vendor instead of paying sales tax.
Sales tax exemption forms (as well as business sales tax id applications, sales tax returns, and the full South Carolina sales tax code) can be downloaded from the South Carolina Department of Revenue here .
South Carolina Sales Tax Calculator
Whenever you make a purchase at a licensed South Carolina retailer, your sales tax will be automatically calculated and added to your bill. To lookup the sales tax due on any purchase, use our South Carolina sales tax calculator.
South Carolina Use Tax
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If you buy goods and are not charged the South Carolina Sales Tax by the retailer, such as with online and out-of-state purchases, you are supposed to pay the 6% sales tax (less any foreign sales tax paid) for these items yourself as the South Carolina Use Tax.
Your are expected to voluntarily list your liable purchases on a South Carolina Use Tax Return, which should be attached with payment to your South Carolina Income Tax Return. Historically, compliance rates with with the South Carolina Use Tax have been low.
South Carolina Local Sales Taxes
South Carolina does not allow local jurisdictions like cities or counties to collect a local sales tax. The South Carolina state sales tax of 6% is applicable statewide. You can view the sales tax rates for various cities in South Carolina here.
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