Understanding Property Assessments and Taxes in Richland County

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In this Richland County conversation, Liz McDonald, the County Assessor, joins host Casey White to shed light on the topic of reassessment. Often misunderstood, reassessment plays a crucial role in determining property taxes in Richland County. In this article, we will explore how reassessment affects property taxes, how property values are determined, and the importance of reassessment in ensuring fair market values. We will also delve into the appeals process and provide helpful tips for homeowners.

Impact of Reassessment on Property Taxes

One common misconception about reassessment is that it automatically leads to higher property taxes. However, Liz McDonald explains that the valuation of a property is influenced by the assessment ratio and the millage rate. In a reassessment year, the millage rate is adjusted to ensure revenue neutrality. This means that even if property values have increased, homeowners may see a reduction in their taxes due to the rollback millage. In Richland County, the anticipated increase in taxable value is about $1.4 billion.

Determining Property Values

The process of determining property values in Richland County is a complex one. With over 174,700 parcels in the county, the assessor’s office breaks it down into over a thousand homogeneous neighborhoods. The assessor’s team analyzes the market trends over a five-year period to determine if values are increasing, remaining steady, or experiencing a decline. Fortunately, Richland County typically sees steady increases rather than declines in property values.

The Role of Renovations and Assessable Transfers

Homeowners often wonder why their property values increase, even if they had a renovation assessment the previous year. Liz McDonald clarifies that the annual increase in property tax bills is usually due to increased millage rates and the cost of county services. In a reassessment year, the assessed value should remain the same for five years, except in cases of renovations or assessable transfers of interest. The reassessment process takes into account the market trends over five years and any renovations or additions made to the property.

The Importance of Reassessment for Fair Market Values

Reassessment is a state-mandated event in South Carolina and aims to ensure that property owners pay their fair share of property taxes based on the value of their property. Liz McDonald emphasizes that reassessment is not just about increasing values but rather a redistribution of value. Through reassessment, undervalued properties are brought up to their rightful value, and overvalued properties are adjusted accordingly. This ensures that everyone pays what is required of them based on their property values and promotes fairness in property taxation.

Navigating the Appeals Process

The appeals process for property assessments in Richland County is a relatively straightforward and painless one. Property owners have the opportunity to schedule an informal meeting with the appraiser to discuss their concerns and provide additional information. In most cases, a meeting of the minds is reached, and both parties gain a better understanding of the property value. However, unique properties that do not fit the typical mold, such as two-story houses in predominantly one-story neighborhoods, may pose challenges during the appeals process. It is essential to note that less than 5% of properties appeal each year, indicating the county’s commitment to accurate assessments.

Utilizing Online Resources for Comparative Analysis

To assist property owners in understanding their assessments better, Richland County provides an online GIS site under the GIS section of the official website. Here, homeowners can access a comparative market analysis by entering their address. This analysis includes information on recently sold properties in the area, allowing property owners to gauge how they compare to their neighbors. Additionally, the online GIS site enables users to export a comma-separated value (CSV) file to further analyze and manipulate the data in programs like Excel.


Understanding property assessments and taxes in Richland County is crucial for homeowners to ensure fair taxation and accurate property values. Reassessment plays a vital role in this process by redistributing value and ensuring everyone pays their fair share. By participating in the appeals process and utilizing online resources provided by Richland County, property owners can have a clearer understanding of their assessments and make informed decisions regarding their property taxes.

Note: This article contains 636 words.

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