Requesting a refund on paid Motor Vehicle taxes

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If a vehicle you owned was recently sold, junked, totaled, ownership transferred to a different party, or reregistered another state, you may be entitled for a prorated refund once the South Carolina license plate has been turned in to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Plate returns can be done either in person with their office, the plate can be mailed in, or it can be reported “turned in” through their online website. Plate return information can be found here: License Plate Return

If the plate is mailed in or turned in in person, you should receive a Form 5051. If the plate is reported “turned in” online, you should reach a confirmation page. Once the license plate has been successfully inactivated, please forward our office documents reflecting either the change of ownership (such as a bill of sale, dealership trade-in paperwork, the front and back of the signed-over title, a total loss statement from the insurance company, etc.) or your out of state registration or title, and we can look into having a prorated refund processed.

Documents can be submitted to us by filling out the request ticket form linked at the bottom of this article. Please be aware that the refund amount is determined by the SC license plate turn-in or inactivation date listed in DMV's records. 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 contact our office, please provide a good mailing address for the refund check to go to so that it can be noted on your account. Please be aware that we are not able to refund renewal fees charged by DMV.  To check on the status of an approved refund, you will need to contact the Treasurer’s office at 843-341-8404.

For any questions or issues regarding license plate returns, DMV can be reached at either 803-896-5000 (Columbia), 843-379-8822 (Beaufort) or 843-815-6981 (Bluffton).

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