New Laws in South Carolina for 2018

December 31, 2017, 9:36 am EST | Share:

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Tax issues dominate South Carolina’s new laws in 2018, but the state is also banning people from buying large cats and requiring local elections even when only one name is on the ballot.

When the calendar turns Monday, state law will allow state residents to get a tax credit equal to the two-cent increase in the gas tax that went into effect in July if they save their gas receipts.

They can also choose to get the tax credit instead for the maintenance — such as new tires and oil changes — as long as they can prove they paid for it.

The State newspaper reports other tax changes include allowing any resident paying for a student to go to a South Carolina college to claim a deduction for 50 percent of tuition, up from 25 percent, for a maximum deduction of $1,500 a year.

2018 will also start the slow introduction of a new earned-income tax credit. About 150,000 taxpayers will get a tax credit worth $286, on average, in 2023.

The state’s property tax on manufacturers drops from 10.5 percent to 9 percent.

And tied to the gas tax increase is an increase in the registration fees for vehicles, People under age 65 will nay $40 — $16 more than before. The fee for drivers over 65 increases to $36. Electric car owners will have to pay a $120 one-time fee when they register ad hybrid owners must pay $60. All the revenue from the new registration fees will go to pay for roads and bridges.

A few other laws also go into effect Monday, including a ban on residents buying or owning large cats, apes or non-native bears. Before the law was passed, South Carolina was one of only five states without restrictions on the animals.

Anyone currently owning those animals can keep them as long as they pay a $500 fee and register the animal along a plan on how it can quickly and safely be recaptured if it escapes.

Also in 2018, lawmakers will repeal a 2003 law that allowed local elections to be called off if only one name was on the ballot. Local governments said it saved money on unchallenged races, but the state Attorney General’s Office suggested it was unconstitutional.

Information from: The State,