Active duty military exemption benefits for first-time Watercraft registration

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For members of the military who are active duty and claim their home of record in a state other than South Carolina, personal property exemption benefits are available for watercrafts. If your watercraft has never been titled or registered in South Carolina, please see the bottom section. Otherwise, refer to one of the following:

Purchased or Were Gifted a Watercraft

If you are active duty and recently purchased or were gifted a watercraft, our office will need the following:

  • The active duty member’s military ID
  • The front and back of the signed-over watercraft title, or the bill of sale
  • If the active duty member recently checked in to South Carolina, their signed and stamped Original Orders (printouts of the online Web Orders are not accepted) or Reporting Endorsement Orders
  • The active duty member’s Leave and Earning Statement (LES) for the same month and year the watercraft was purchased/gifted
  • If a co-buyer is listed, the front and back of their dependent military ID if they are a dependent, or their military ID and respective LES’s if they are also active duty – if not a dependent, their photo ID such as a driver’s license
Reregistering Watercraft from Another State

If you are active duty and are looking to reregister a watercraft you own from another state, the following will be needed:

  • The active duty member’s military ID
  • The most current watercraft registration, or the watercraft title
  • The active duty member’s latest LES
  • If the active duty member recently checked in to South Carolina, their signed and stamped Original Orders (printouts of the online Web Orders are not accepted) or Reporting Endorsement Orders
  • If a co-owner is listed, the front and back of their dependent military ID if they are a dependent, or their military ID and latest LES if active duty – if not a dependent, their photo ID such as a driver’s license
  • Your physical Beaufort County address

The requested documentation can be submitted to our office by completing the request ticket form linked at the bottom of this article. Copies can be scans or images taken from a smartphone, as long as the information is legible and preferably in PDF or a common image file format (PNG, JPEG). Once processed, you will be given a zeroed-out tax bill to provide to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

However, if a non-dependent or non-active duty member is listed as a co-owner on the watercraft documentation, you may be entitled to a half military exemption instead of the full exemption, and a partial amount of the watercraft bill would need to be paid with the Beaufort County Treasurer’s office (843-341-8404). You will also receive a paid tax receipt from the Treasurer in place of a zeroed-out bill to provide to DNR.

Please be aware that if the watercraft is flagged through DNR as having outstanding or unpaid taxes within South Carolina, our office will not be able to have a bill created until the delinquent flag has been lifted by the county Treasurer in question. To determine whether your watercraft is up to date with taxes, you will either need to contact DNR at 803-734-3857 (Columbia) or 843-953-9301 (Charleston), or you can look up the status of the watercraft through their website here: Boat/Motor Status Search

 

Watercraft has never been titled in South Carolina at any time

If the watercraft has never been titled or registered in South Carolina previously, then you can submit your information directly to DNR for processing. A personal property tax bill will automatically be mailed to you, and the bill you receive can then be forwarded to our office to be addressed at that time. Our office is unable to create or exempt personal property tax bills for watercrafts unless they have an associated South Carolina title number, which is assigned by DNR.

If you are unsure, it is recommended to contact DNR at 803-734-3857 (Columbia) or 843-953-9301 (Charleston) to determine whether a personal property account needs to be created beforehand.

Submit your information

To begin the process of having your watercraft registered, please provide our office the above applicable documentation by filling out and attaching documents to the request ticket form linked here:
Watercraft Request Ticket

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