Bill provides rental tax break

  • Thursday, June 5, 2014

A bill that would give a tax break to primary homeowners who rent out their houses for more than two weeks out of the year, awaits one final tweak before going to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature.

The remaining question is whether the bill – if the governor signs it – would take effect this year or next, said Sen. Ray Cleary, the bill’s primary sponsor.

It is unlikely to affect the South Strand area, said Jackie Broach, Georgetown County’s public information officer.

The bill is designed to help seniors and others whose primary homes are in high-tourist areas and who have found themselves struggling with increasing taxes and insurance costs.

Under the proposal, people could rent out their homes for up to 72 days and the homes would be taxed at the regular tax rather than the rate usually assessed for rental properties – nearly three times the rate.

“This is a way that may some homeowners keep their homes,” Cleary said in February 2013, when he first introduced the legislation.

Broach said that Georgetown County already allows owners of primary residents to lease their houses for up to 72 days, providing they meet the requirements. She estimated that about 50 people take advantage of the relaxed rules, most of them in the Pawleys Island, Litchfield Beach and Murrells Inlet area.

Statewide, officials estimate that about 500 people will be affected by the change.

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