Effective Jan. 1, 2020, all registrations will be renewed every year instead of every three years. Click here for the full list of 2020 Boat Registration Renewal Changes.
The South Carolina Legislature passed Act 223 in 2018, changing the way boats, motors and watercraft are taxed beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The change was made to protect boat purchasers who were unaware that when purchasing the boat they also acquired any/all delinquent tax associated with the watercraft.
Under Act 223, the certificate of title for a watercraft requires the seller to certify that all personal property taxes have been paid to date but also that “all current year personal property taxes are the responsibility of the seller unless an otherwise enforceable agreement has been reached between the buyer and seller.”
As of Jan. 1, 2020, boats, motors and watercraft are being taxed in the same manner as vehicles.
If you purchase a boat from an individual, you will need to visit the county Auditor’s Office to get a bill created and pay it in the Treasurer’s Office before going to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
If you purchase a boat from a South Carolina boat dealer, the dealer will notify SCDNR, which will then send the information to your County Auditor, who will prepare a bill that is due 120 days from purchase. This is the same treatment as vehicles.
Additionally, there is a provision in the bill that will not allow any boat to be taxed twice in a 12-month period.
For more information, visit the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.