SC Dept. of Revenue to tax Masters week renters

South Carolina homeowners will be taxed if they rent their homes during Masters week. (WRDW-TV)
South Carolina homeowners will be taxed if they rent their homes during Masters week. (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Two weeks before the Masters, Chuck Campbell's house will transform.

"Major, major housekeeping. Separate linens and bed sheets. The yard cleaned and looking decent," Campbell said. "We go beyond just renting a hotel room to them."

For the past several years, he's rented this four-bedroom/four-and-ahalf-bathroom home in North Augusta to Masters guests. But now, people like Chuck, who rents in South Carolina during Masters week, could be hit with a new tax.

"It's just another invasion by the big arm into individual's right and personal lives, and I don't like that part at all," he said.

Documents show the South Carolina Department of Revenue plans to tax people like Chuck, not just for renting his home this year, but for 2011 and 2010, too.

"You have no way of recovering that tax cost from the past," he said. "I mean, what are you going to do? Call up your renters and say, 'Oh, by the way, you know, you were here, you know, two years ago, and I forgot to charge you this new state tax?'"

It's something Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, is looking into. He got a call from the Masters Housing Bureau of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. The Department of Revenue is summoning the info from them.

"Our Department of Revenue found it on the Internet and saw that they had a chance of recovering or getting some dollars there," Hixon said.

Hixon says there's talk that the South Carolina Department of Revenue could hire agents to scout Aiken County, finding and collecting taxes from Masters week renters who don't use the Masters Housing Bureau.

"It's really anybody that they catch," Hixon said.

Hixon says even the federal government doesn't collect taxes on renters who rent for less than 15 days a year. However, the State of South Carolina is even going beyond that. That's why Hixon's working on a bill to fix this problem.

Sue Parr, president/CEO of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, says the move by the SCDOR was an "unfortunate turn of events" that left the chamber surprised.

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