Requesting a refund on paid Watercraft taxes

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If you recently sold, junked, transferred ownership of the watercraft to a different party, or reregistered the watercraft in another state, you may be entitled to a prorated refund. Prior to requesting a refund, you will first need to inactivate the status of the watercraft with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Until DNR’s records are updated, they will keep forwarding our office information annually to bill the watercraft in question. Instructions on how to update the status of your watercraft through their website can be found below, courtesy of DNR:

Update Watercraft Status with DNR
  1. Access the site at
  2. Select the "Vessel Registration" tile
  3. Login to your account using last name, date of birth and last four of SSN.  There is a drop down for more options that allows you to enter other information, like customer ID number or Driver's License Number, instead of the SSN.
  4. When you login, there is a list of all active boats and motors on your account. Click the Reg Application ID or Registration Number of the boat/motor you would like to update.
  5. At the top right corner of the page, there is a red button for "Notification of Change"
  6. Once selected, this allows you to enter a date of status change and choose the type of change (sold, junked, registered out of state, documented). Complete the requested information then submit.
  7. Once submitted, the status of the boat or motor has been updated.

If you run into issues with the above instructions, or if your watercraft was registered in a business or LLC name, please contact DNR at 803-734-3857 (Columbia) or 843-953-9301 (Charleston). Alternatively, a copy of their “Request for Boat and/or Motor Status Change” form can also be found on their website and mailed to them: Boating - Forms

Once DNR’s records are updated, our office will require documents reflecting either the change of ownership (such as a bill of sale, the front and back of the signed-over title, etc.) or your out of state registration or title, and we can look into having a prorated refund processed. Please submit these documents through the request ticket form linked below. Note that our office will not be able to initiate a refund on the watercraft account until DNR's records are first updated. Additionally, refunds can only be requested on paid property tax bills up to 2 years after you made your payment.

Once the refund is approved, it will take an additional 4-6 weeks to process, and it will be mailed as a check from the Beaufort County Treasurer’s office. When you email our office, please also include a good mailing address for the refund check to go to so that it can be noted on your account. To check on the status of an approved refund, you will need to contact the Treasurer’s office at 843-341-8404.

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