Point of Sale – Beaufort County Owners Bracing for Tax Bills


June 22, 2008

By Michael Welles Shapiro – Island Packet

Tax bills that go out in October could be startlingly high for nearly 6,200 people who’ve bought property in Beaufort County in 2007.

Under a 2006 state law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2007, the county must assess property based on its sale price. For instance, if a home previously was assessed at $150,000, but sold in 2007 for $200,000, it would be assessed based on the $200,000 sales price. The law applies to residential and commercial properties.

Higher assessments, one of the factors used to compute property taxes, almost always cause tax bills to go up.

Pam Kurtz is one of those people who expects her property taxes to jump. She moved to Hilton Head Island in 2005 with her husband. After his death, she bought a smaller, more affordable home in 2007.

Her new home previously had been assessed at $543,000, but because she paid $620,000 for it, that’s the new assessment, according to county records.

“If they’re going to use purchase price, that’s not good for me,” said Kurtz. “I worry because between that and the cost of insurance, it could push me off the island.”

David Donnell of Bluffton is in the same boat. He sold his home last year, then bought a new one. Now the person who bought his home is bracing for higher taxes.

His old house sold for $1.65 million, about twice the previous assessment of about $800,000.

“All of a sudden, I sell the house and the guy’s tax bill doubles,” Donnell said. “Seems like every time someone makes a windfall, the county does, too.”



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