Boating - Tax Information on Boats & Watercraft

You are required by Article 17, Section 12-36-1710, code of Laws of South Carolina to pay Casual Excise or Use tax. You must have a notarized bill of sale with the purchase price shown to pay the Casual Excise or Use Tax.

Casual Excise Tax - The fee for casual excise tax is 5% of the purchase price and has a maximum of $500 if the boat and motor are purchased from same owner. When an outboard motor is purchased as one unit, the casual excise tax is 6% of the purchase price and has no maximum fee.

For example:

Boats and motors cap at $500 i.e. Boat purchase price $10,000 and motor purchase price $500, then $10,500 x 5%=$525, you pay $500
Boats cap at $500 i.e. Boat purchase price $12,000, then $12,000 x 5%=$600, you pay $500
Motors do not cap i.e. Motor purchase price $9,000, then $9,000 x 6%=$540, you pay $540

When you submit your paper work you can include the casual excise tax along with your fees to the following address:

SC Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202

If you did not pay taxes out-of-state, then you submit 5% tax with the registration fee. See example above.

Tax Exempt if Purchased from Immediate Family
If you acquire the watercraft or outboard motor from immediate family, you are exempt from the excise tax. Immediate family includes:

You must complete the exempt form on the back of the application to be exempt.

Military persons are not EXEMPT from Casual Excise or Use Tax on boats and Outboard Motors.

Casual Excise tax can also be paid to the S.C. Department of Revenue Tax Service Centers.