Dorchester County has contracted with Tax Management Associates Inc. (TMA) and LexisNexis Risk Solutions to audit legal residence exemptions being granted to taxpayers in the county.
In South Carolina, taxpayers are eligible for a legal residence exemption only on their primary residence. Occasionally, however, taxpayers mistakenly or fraudulently claim exemptions on properties that do not qualify, including vacation homes, multiple homes, or other properties in which the owner does not primarily live.
The goal of the program is to recover lost property tax revenue by discovering and collecting on improperly claimed exemptions. Money collected due to this audit will benefit the school districts, cities, towns, fire departments, libraries, county and other taxing entities that need these revenues to provide essential services to our citizens.
To conduct the audit, the companies will obtain a list of all exemptions currently being granted in the county. TMA will compare this list to LexisNexis’ extensive public records database to identify likely cases of improper or fraudulently claimed exemptions, including exemptions granted to deceased individuals, individuals receiving multiple exemptions, and individuals claiming a property that is not their primary residence. TMA will investigate these cases and then recommend accounts for collection by the county.
LexisNexis and TMA will begin the program this month. The program will be paid for with a percentage of the revenue recovered.