ORDER AND DECISION
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
This matter was heard before me on the request filed on April 24, 1995 by Eleanor F. Gorman
pursuant to 27 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 117.4 appealing the decision of the Georgetown County Board
of Assessment Appeals dated October 26, 1994 for TMS # 04-0186-040.00.00 in which the Board
valued the property and improvements at $189,411 for tax year 1994. After notice to the parties, a
hearing was conducted on August 8, 1995. The parties stipulated that the Transcript of Records of
the proceeding before the Georgetown County Board of Assessment Appeals and the documents
submitted constitute the testimony and evidence for review of this matter. I conclude that the
Assessor did not have the authority to change the valuation of the property after negotiating a
valuation in 1992 and therefore, reverse the decision of the Georgetown County Board of Assessment
Appeals. The value of the property must be valued at $186,492.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Based upon the transcript of testimony before the Georgetown County Board of Assessment
Appeals and taking into account the burden on the parties to establish their cases by a preponderance
of the evidence, I make the following findings of fact:
1. On March 4, 1987, Eleanor F. Gorman purchased the subject property located in
Litchfield Country Club, formerly addressed as 2405 Cedar Lane, Pawleys Island in Georgetown
2. In 1992, a county-wide reassessment occurred and the assessor valued the property
at $207,566. Petitioner timely appealed the assessed value.
3. A conference was held between the assessor and the taxpayer which resulted in an
agreed reduction of the assessed value to $186,792. After the conference, the assessor apportioned
$24,000 for the land and the remainder to the improvements.
4. In 1994, Petitioner received a notice of assessed value of $190,184. Again the
taxpayer timely appealed the value.
5. Once again, the assessor's office reviewed the appraisal for the property, reinspected
and reduced the assessed value to $189,719.
6. The assessor's position is that the portion attributed to the land should be increased
to $27,500 for an interior lot in Litchfield Country Club based upon the market appraisal conducted
during 1992, the reassessment year. The value of $24,000 placed in 1992 after the conference is not
the correct fair market value of the land and the increase is simply a correction of the value.
7. The taxpayer argues that the conference in 1992 negotiated a total value on the
property, land and improvements, of $186,792. No distinction was made between the lot value and
the value of the improvements. For the assessor to change the value on the lot constitutes a spot
assessment prohibited by law. If the value of the land needs to be corrected for the assessor's office
then the proper method is to subtract it from the value of the improvements since the parties arrived
at one value for entire property.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The Administrative Law Judge Division has jurisdiction over contested tax matters
pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 12-4-10 (Supp. 1994).
2. For taxation purposes, all property shall be valued at its true money which in all cases
shall be held to be the price which the property would bring following reasonable exposure to the
market, where both the seller and the buyer are willing, are not acting under compulsion, and are
reasonably well informed as to the uses and purpose for which it is adapted and for which it is capable
of being used. S.C. Code Ann. § 12-37-930 (Supp. 1994).
3. Property is to be valued at its highest and best use. S.C. Code Ann. § 12-37-930
(Supp. 1994). The highest and best use of the property under review is that of a residence consisting
of both the house and the lot as a whole and not as individual parts.
4. The value of the taxpayer's property consists of the whole property, and not of
separate items of land and improvements. 84 C.J.S. Taxation § 404 (1954).
5. Spot reassessments are prohibited. S.C. Code Ann. § 12-43-210(B) (Supp. 1994)
provides that reassessments may not be done unless all property in the county is reassessed in the
6. The assessor and the taxpayer arrived at an agreed value that reflects the fair market
value of the property. That value was $186,492. The evidence and documents reveal that there was
no negotiation based upon the lot value and the building value, rather, one value was negotiated
encompassing the component parts of the real property. The assessor later allocated the values for
the components. Apparently, he recorded a value that was not equitable based upon the surrounding
properties and the market value. The assessor should have corrected the error in the land value by
recalculating from the total value agreed upon with the taxpayer, not by raising the value of the land
7. Once the value of the real property was determined and agreed upon, the assessor was
without authority to subsequently adjust the value unless there was some change in the property or
unless there was a clerical error. See S.C. Code Ann. §§ 12-39-220 and 12-39-250 (1976 and Supp.
1994). The assessor has not established any grounds for the adjustment.
Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is
ORDERED, that the Georgetown County Assessor value the taxpayer's property identified
as Georgetown County Tax Map # 04-0186-040.00.00 at a value of $186,492 for assessment year
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
ALISON RENEE LEE
Administrative Law Judge
December _____, 1995
Columbia, South Carolina.