Erin Ramey will soon receive a check from York County. But one York County Council member argues the amount of the check is not nearly enough.
The council voted Monday night to refund Ramey, a longtime Rock Hill resident, just two years worth of overpaid county taxes, rather than the 10 years’ she was seeking.
Under the council decision, Ramey will receive $520. She could have received up to $5,846, had the school district, city and county all refunded her for the 10 years of overpayment, said council member William “Bump” Roddey.
Ramey discovered earlier this year that she had paid a 6 percent tax rate on her home, instead of the regular 4 percent on owner-occupied homes which she should have paid.
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South Carolina law allows anyone who finds such a mistake to recoup the past two years of overpaid taxes.
Ramey collected the overpayment for 2015 and 2016. But she had to petition the council for the amount she overpaid since she moved into the home in 2005. Instead of refunding the full amount of overpaid taxes, the council voted to match the state law, adding two extra years’ worth of refunded money.
Roddey, who has fought for Ramey’s case since late March, said he was disappointed that the council didn’t give Ramey the full amount.
“It’s hardly a drop in the bucket,” Roddey said. “It’s not the right thing to do. It’s a very small compromise to York County. This is money that doesn’t belong to York County. I was proud to go to bat for her, and present her case, though.”
Ramey told the county council Monday that Roddey worked hard to promote her case.
“He continued to work on this case,” she said. “I really appreciate him for that. He’s for the citizens of York County.”
Both the county manager and county tax assessor had recommended refunding the entire county’s portion of the overpayment. But the council voted in March to reject her initial plea.
Roddey persisted, and succeeded in bringing both Ramey and the case back for more consideration.
Fellow council member Michael Johnson has previously said he was concerned that Ramey’s case would open up a flood of other county residents seeking “thousands of dollars” in related refunds.
Johnson, a Fort Mill-based real estate attorney, said he works 700-800 closings a year. He said his last instructions to buyers in a closing is to fill out a form and send it in to the county stating that the home will be owner-occupied.
The homeowner is responsible for getting the home taxed at the correct rate, Johnson said.
How can I tell whether I pay the right tax rate for my York County home?
There are several ways to check whether your home is taxed at the right rate. Calling the York County Assessor's Office at 684-8526 is one. Residents also can go online at https://maps2.yorkcountygov.com/ez/Search_Owner.aspx.
Find your property by typing your name in the box. Then click "view report" and under the "taxes" section, it will show how the property is taxed. If it says 4 percent, that's the owner-occupied home rate. If you own and live in the home and it isn't taxed at 4 percent, it can be corrected. A link just below that report connects to the assessor's office.