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Oh, those silly lawmakers in South Carolina. They’ve come up with a new way to gouge the citizenry out of more money. Actually, it is not for current residents, but rather, those moving to the Palmetto State. It’s called the “Yankee Tax.” So if you’re thinking about it, and want to be able to drive there, then listen up. 

Are that many people coming to South Carolina?

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No car taxes in South Carolina | Getty

Some of the largest states in America are seeing an exodus to less dense/expensive/complicated environs like South Carolina. The census shows it is one of the fastest-growing states. Residents say it is truly unique, and not at all similar to neighbors North Carolina and Georgia. 

In fact, most of the incoming new residents come from North Carolina and Georgia. According to AP, almost 500,000 people have flooded into the state in the last decade. 

What is the rationalization for the Yankee Tax?

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Greetings from South Carolina | Getty

But one thing that will make South Carolina especially different is the latest tax proposal the legislature there is slobbering over. The bill, penned by Republican State Senator Stephen Goldfinch would force incoming residents to pay a $500 tax. It already passed the Senate Finance Committee. The one-time fee allows new residents to receive driver’s licenses and register their cars. Welcome to South Carolina!

Goldfinch rationalizes that those new residents need to pay for infrastructure current residents have already paid for. “We’re not trying to build a wall across the North Carolina border,” says the misguided Goldfinch. “But, at the same time, we think that people should have to pay their fair share when they show up.”

How would the Yankee Tax work?

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Taxation protests | Getty

Never mind that an increase in population raises home values throughout the state, and increases wages through more competition. Not to mention gasoline taxes are paid the instant new residents need a tank of gas. But we digress.

When you pay the property tax for your new abode, you would find an extra $500 Yankee Tax tagged onto it. Then, by presenting the receipt to the DMV you would be allowed to get a driver’s license and register your cars. Some have suggested that with all of the military facilities in South Carolina, it has always been where many servicemen make it a permanent residence. 

What keeps politicians from making similar Yankee Tax laws?

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Vehicle taxes mailed out | Getty

The benevolent Goldfinch suggests he would consider some kind of exemption for them. He also says that the Yankee Tax still makes the state a great place to live due to its lower property taxes. The concern by many is not that this will slow down migration into the state, but that it could be the beginning of similar fees. 

School enrolment and additional fees added to airline flights, public stadiums and auditoriums, and infrastructure costs, seem ripe for similar Yankee Tax schemes. Justifying the driver’s license/car registration works just as well for these other services. 

“Growth is not easy to manage, particularly in your community, certainly in my communities,” said Republican Senator Sean Bennett. “But where does it stop, I guess, is my question.” Indeed.


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