COLUMBIA, S.C.—Part of the new law to fix South Carolina roads is a tax credit or rebate that will allow sate taxpayers to get back the additional gas tax they’ll pay.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, will raise the gas tax by two cents a gallon per year for six years. The tax credits will also be good for six years.
“Part of the concern about a gasoline tax was the burden it had on the taxpayer,” says Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, who put the rebate provision into the bill. “So this rebate that will now be available to all South Carolina taxpayers, it matches the relief with the burden. So what a taxpayer would do would be able to prove the number of gallons of gas that were purchased then be able to take a credit for the amount of new gas taxes that they paid.”
The House didn’t include the rebate or tax credit in its version of the bill, but went along with it in the final version as a way to get the bill passed in the Senate with enough votes to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto. House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville, says, “If a driver feels like they’re aggrieved by paying the tax then, if they follow the bill, they can get that money back in the first six years.”
South Carolina Department of Revenue Director Hartley Powell says taxpayers will have to keep their gas receipts so they can figure out how much additional gas tax they paid, but they won’t have to give those receipts to the DOR. They should keep them in case of an audit, though. You’ll also have to keep your receipts for all vehicle maintenance, including oil changes and new tires.
“We’re going to actually have a worksheet. It’ll be a schedule. There’ll be a part of the income tax return. It’ll walk the taxpayer through it, so basically you’re going to determine your gas usage and then you’re going to determine your maintenance, take the lesser of, and we’ll have a way to compute the actual credit amount,” Powell says.
While the law takes effect July 1st, he says you won’t need to start keeping your gas and maintenance receipts until January 1st, 2018. You’ll use those when you file for the tax credit starting with the tax returns that will be due in April 2019.