State of South Carolina Flag

South Carolina Sales Tax Guide for Businesses

Sales Tax Rate
6.0%
Local Taxes
Yes
Website
Department of Revenue
Tax Line
803-898-5000

We wrote this guide for online sellers who want to know if they even have to bother with sales tax in South Carolina, and if so, how best to tackle the sales tax situation in the Palmetto State.

After reading this, you’ll know:

  • Do you or don’t you need to collect South Carolina sales tax?
  • Which customers do you collect from?
  • How much do you collect?
  • What do you do with all the sales tax you’ve collected?
  • Way more than you probably ever wanted to know about South Carolina sales tax!

Do you have sales tax nexus in South Carolina?

Good news! You only have to begin thinking about South Carolina sales tax if you have sales tax nexus in South Carolina.

“Sales tax nexus” is just a fancy way of saying “significant presence” in a state.

South Carolina considers a seller to have sales tax nexus in the state if you have any of the following in the state:

  • An office or place of business
  • An employee present
  • Goods in a warehouse
  • Ownership of real or personal property
  • Delivery of merchandise in South Carolina in vehicles owned by the taxpayer
  • Independent contractors or other representatives in South Carolina

You can click here to read exactly what the South Carolina Department of Revenue (South Carolina’s taxing authority) has to say about what constitutes sales tax nexus in South Carolina.

Do you have sales tax nexus in South Carolina if you sell on FBA?

If you sell on Amazon FBA, you may have sales tax nexus in South Carolina. Storing physical products in a state can create sales tax nexus, and South Carolina is home to two Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

To determine whether or not you have items stored in an FBA warehouse in South Carolina, you can do one of two things:

  1. Login to Amazon Seller Central and pull your inventory report
  2. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of TaxJar and find out from where your Amazon inventory ships with our Amazon badge feature

You may find that your inventory is stored in one or both of South Carolina’s Amazon fulfillment centers in this list:

Warehouse Code Address County Tax Rate
CAE1 4400 12th Street Extension, West Columbia, SC 29172 Lexington 8%
GSP1 402 John Dodd Rd. Spartanburg, SC 29303 Spartanburg 6%

Read here for more about Amazon FBA and sales tax nexus. And here’s a list of all Amazon Fulfillment Centers in the country.

Is what you’re selling even taxable?

You’ve probably read this far because you realized you have sales tax nexus in South Carolina. Your next step is to determine if what you’re selling is even taxable.

Services in South Carolina are generally not taxable. So if you’re a freelance writer or a plumber, you’re in luck and you don’t have to worry about sales tax. But watch out – if the service you provide includes creating or manufacturing a product, you may have to deal with the sales tax on products.

Tangible products are taxable in South Carolina , with a few exceptions. These exceptions include certain groceries, prescription medicine and medical devices, and machinery and chemicals used in research and development.

So if you sell toys, then charge sales tax to your South Carolina customers.

But if you’re a graphic designer, don’t charge sales tax to your South Carolina customers.

If you have sales tax nexus in South Carolina and your products are taxable, your next step is to register for a sales tax permit.

How to Register for a Sales Tax Permit in South Carolina

Sellers with sales tax nexus in South Carolina must apply for an South Carolina sales tax permit.

Don’t skip this step! Many states consider it unlawful to collect sales tax in their name without a permit. Go here for more on how to register for a sales tax permit in South Carolina.

How to Collect Sales Tax in South Carolina

So you’ve determined that you have sales tax nexus in South Carolina and what you’re selling is taxable. And you’re all set and registered for your South Carolina sales tax permit.

The next step is to determine how much sales tax to collect.

South Carolina is a destination-based sales tax state. So if you live in South Carolina, collect sales tax at the rate at your buyer’s location.

Example: You live and run your business in Columbia, SC, in the 29201 zip code. The sales tax rate in Columbia 8%. But you make a sale to a customer in Greenwood where the sales tax rate is 6%. You would charge your customer the 6% sales tax rate based on their ship to destination, and not your 8% home rate.

You can look up your local sales tax rate with TaxJar’s Sales Tax Calculator or by going to TaxJar.com/mobile on your mobile device.

What are the Amazon sales tax settings for South Carolina?

If you are an Amazon pro seller and use Amazon to collect sales tax, be sure you have your South Carolina sales tax settings entered correctly. Find step-by-step instructions for setting up your Amazon sales tax settings here.

If you are a… State tax County tax City tax District tax Custom rate Is shipping taxable? Is gift wrapping taxable?
Seller living in South Carolina X X X X N/A Yes No
Seller living outside of South Carolina X X X X N/A Yes No

Should you collect sales tax on shipping charges in South Carolina?

If you charge for shipping as part of an order then shipping charges to South Carolina buyers are taxable. Read here for more about sales tax on shipping in South Carolina.

Rank City Population County Total Sales Tax
1 Columbia 129,272 Richland 8.00%
2 Charleston 120,083 Charleston 8.50%
3 North Charleston 97,471 Charleston 8.50%
4 Mount Pleasant 67,843 Charleston 8.50%
5 Rock Hill 66,154 York 7.00%
6 Greenville 58,409 Greenville 6.00%
7 Summerville 43,392 Charleston 8.50%
8 Sumter 40,524 Sumter 8.00%
9 Hilton Head Island 37,099 Beaufort 6.00%
10 Florence 37,056 Florence 8.00%
11 Spartanburg 37,013 Spartanburg 6.00%
12 Goose Creek 35,938 Charleston 8.50%
13 Aiken 29,524 Aiken 8.00%
14 Myrtle Beach 27,109 Horry 8.00%
15 Anderson 26,686 Anderson 7.00%
16 Greer 25,515 Spartanburg 6.00%
17 Greenwood 23,222 Abbeville 6.00%
18 Mauldin 22,889 Greenville 6.00%
19 North Augusta 21,348 Aiken 8.00%
20 Easley 19,993 Pickens 7.00%

Caption: The top 20 cities in South Carolina by population, and their sales tax rates

When are South Carolina sales tax returns due?

When you sign up for your South Carolina sales tax permit the state will assign you a filing frequency and due dates. Sales tax filings are always due the 20th of the month following the taxable period.

Here are South Carolina’s sales tax filing due dates:

2016 South Carolina Monthly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
January February 22, 2016*
February March 21, 2016*
March April 20, 2016
April May 20, 2016
May June 20, 2016
June July 20, 2016
July August 22, 2016*
August September 20, 2016
September October 20, 2016
October November 21, 2016*
November December 20, 2016
December January 20, 2017

2016 South Carolina Quarterly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Q1 (Jan - Mar) April 20, 2016
Q2 (Apr - Jun) July 20, 2016
Q3 (Jul - Sep) October 20, 2016
Q4 (Oct - Dec) January 20, 2017

2016 South Carolina Annual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Year 2016 January 20, 2017

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

How to File Sales Tax in South Carolina

When it comes time to file sales tax in South Carolina you must do three things:

  1. Calculate how much sales tax you owe
  2. File a sales tax return
  3. Make a payment

We’ll walk you through these steps.

How to Calculate How Much Sales Tax You Owe in South Carolina

Calculating how much sales tax you should remit to the state of South Carolina is easy with TaxJar’s South Carolina sales tax report.

All you do is connect the channels through which you sell – including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Square and more – and we’ll calculate exactly how much sales tax you collected. All the information you need to file your South Carolina sales tax return will be waiting for you in TaxJar. All you have to do is login!

How to File and Pay Sales Tax in South Carolina

You have two options for filing and paying your South Carolina sales tax:

Other Facts You Should Know about South Carolina Sales Tax Filing

There are a few more things you should know about sales tax in South Carolina:

Penalties:

  • Failure to File Penalty 5% of tax due if the failure is for not more than one month, with an additional 5% for each additional month or fraction of the month(maximum 25%).

  • Last Payment Penalty 0.5% of tax due for first month, additional 0.5% per each additional month or fraction of month (maximum 25%).

Other penalties for fraud or serial offenses include higher penalties and even criminal charges.

“Zero returns”:

South Carolina requires that any seller with a sales tax permit file a sales tax return on your due date even if you don’t have any sales tax to report or pay. You can quickly file a “0” or “no sales” return by calling the South Carolina DOR at 803-898-5918.

Discounts:

Taxpayers are allowed a discount for filing returns and paying taxes timely.

  • For taxes less than $100, you may take a 3% discount.

  • For taxes of $100 or more, your discount is 2%.

The maximum discount allowed per taxpayer (all locations included) during the fiscal year is $3,000. Nonresident retailers not required by law to collect South Carolina sales tax, but who voluntarily register to do so, are allowed a maximum discount of $10,000 each fiscal year. But before you take this discount you must have preapproval from the SCDOR. This request must be submitted in written form.

South Carolina Sales Tax Holidays

South Carolina has a sales tax holiday in 2016:

August 5-7, 2016: Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

Check here for more information about South Carolina’s sales tax holidays including how to handle sales tax holidays as an online seller.

And that’s it. You’ve mastered South Carolina sales tax filing! Now that sales tax is out of the way, you can get back to what you do best – running your business.

South Carolina Sales Tax Resources

For more about South Carolina sales tax, check out the South Carolina section of the TaxJar blog.

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