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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102143
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I am a South Carolina resident but I spend almost 6 months

Customer Question

I am a South Carolina resident but I spend almost 6 months in Connecticut.
Question - must I continue to spend 6 mos each year in South Carolina to maintain my SC citizenship.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

My name is***** have over 16 years experience in the law. Should you like to chat on the phone I am happy to for a nominal cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested I am happy to give you more details.

Can you tell me the reason behind this...that is, are you looking for residency rules in order to establish in state tuition for your children?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I want to know if I have to spend 6 mos in SC to maintain my residency
Frankly I don't see what is taking you so long to answer this simple question.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't see what should take 24 hours.
I feel that I am being defrauded.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Your previous expert has opted out and I have opted in. Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Your previous expert asked why you wanted to maintain SC residency because this is very important to the answer. You see, SC residency is subjective, and much matters on the reason (such as, taxes, in-state school tuition rate, driver license, etc). As such, we have to know a little more about the situation in order to answer the question.

So indeed, can you please tell me the reason you want to maintain the residency in SC? And anything else that you feel may be turpentine to the situation.

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Real estate taxes on my SC property. As A
Resident I only pay 4%. Now how about an answer.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

For owner-occupied homes the assessed value is 4% of fair market value. For residential property thatis not the owner's primary residence, the assessed value is 6% of fair market value.

To qualify for the special property tax assessment ratio allowed by this item, the owner-occupant must have actually owned and occupied the residence as his legal residence and been domiciled at that address for some period during the applicable tax year and remain in that status at the time of filing the application required by this item.

The owner must have title (deed or will) or have an equity interest (Contract to Purchase)and the property must be occupied by the owner as his legal residence.

So at first it seems that one simply need to own and have occupied the residence for "some period," without a minimum amount of days. However, once we delve into case law, this is not the case.

The South Carolina Supreme Court has also held, in a case dealing with the assessment of income taxes, that the term "legal residence" is equivalent to "domicile." Phillips v. S.C. Tax Comm'n, 195 S.C. 472, 12 S.E.2d 13 (1940).

"The word "domicile" shall mean a person's true, fixed, principal residence and place of habitation; it shall indicate the place where such person intends to remain, and to which such person expects to return upon leaving without establishing a new domicile in another state. For purposes of this section one may have only one legal domicile; one is presumed to abandon automatically an old domicile upon establishing a new one. Housing provided on an academic session basis for students at State Institutions shall be presumed not to be a place of principal residence, as residency in such housing is by nature temporary." This definition is borrowed from Titlr 59 of Education, but the Court would likely apply this definition similarly for tax purposes. This means that if the court believes that you are actually LIVING outside SC, then the property inside SC is not your domicile, and then 6% applies.

However, there are no hard and fast rules. It is on a "case by case basis," and many people like yourself then operate on a "what the county does not know won't hurt them" basis and continue to follow the county's presumption that their actual, fixed residence is in SC.

So to answer your question - THERE IS NO MINIMAL AMOUNT OF TIME. However to avoid having to argue that the SC property is one's domicile, it is best to spent MAJORITY of time there (meaning more than 6 months), and also not to provide information about the other property unless directly asked to avoid breaching the presumption that one lives in SC majority/all of the taxable year.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.