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South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles


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  Title and Registration
General Vehicle Information

If you purchase a new or used vehicle or move to South Carolina from another state, you must apply for a new vehicle title and registration. You may apply for the title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department. Please use your legal name from your Driver's License or if you are a business use your legal name from your business license.

Please note that South Carolina will only issue a certificate of title for a vehicle that is physically located in South Carolina.

Effective January 1, 2012, you must provide acceptable identification when you apply for a title and/or vehicle registration. If you are registering a vehicle and present identification other than a South Carolina credential, you must also verify that the vehicle is operated or principally garaged in South Carolina for six or more months of the year. If you are a business customer, you must provide a federal identification number (social security number for sole proprietorships). 

Vehicles must be registered every two years. Passenger vehicle registrations are renewed every other year in the month you first registered your vehicle in South Carolina. A renewal sticker will be issued each year after you pay your vehicle property taxes. You may renew your vehicle registration through the mail when you pay your vehicle property taxes.

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Expedited Vehicle Services by Mail

If you wish to expedite your vehicle transaction mailed in to headquarters for processing, please complete Form MV-82 and attach it to the front of your application packet. This will insure your package is delivered to our expedited service areas for processing. Remember to include the additional expedite fee of $20 for each transaction. The Department of Motor Vehicles has three business days from the date your package is received to complete expedited transactions for services. All requests received after 2:00 p.m. will be counted as received on the following business day.

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Moving to South Carolina

If you move to South Carolina from another state, you have 45 days to transfer your vehicle title and registration. You may apply for the title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

SCDMV verifies all out-of-state titles with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. Your out-of-state title must be cleared through NMVTIS before you can be issued a SC title. Although you may be able to obtain a new SC vehicle registration, your S.C. title will not be issued until the title verification process is complete.

You must have the following to transfer your out-of-state vehicle title and registration:

  • Your out-of-state vehicle title and registration 
    If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must bring the name and address of the company that holds the lien.
  • Acceptable Identification 
  • Liability Insurance information
    You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration
    To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Original Paid Vehicle Property Tax Receipt
    Before you can register your vehicle in
    South Carolina, you must first pay the vehicle property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.

§         Title and Registration Fees

Title - $15.00 fee

Passenger cars - $24.00 fee
RV's - $24.00 fee

Persons 64 years of age $22.00 fee

65 or older $20.00 fee

Motorcycles - $10.00 fee

Utility or Camper Trailers - $10.00 fee

Trailers with empty weight in excess of 2500 lbs. - $20.00 fee

Trucks, Truck-Trailers and Road Tractors (All Property Carrying Vehicles)*

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT            FEE

0001-4000                         $30.00

4001-5000                                                  $40.00

5001-6000                                                  $60.00

6001-7000                                                  $70.00

7001-8000                                                  $80.00

8001-9000                                                  $90.00

9001-10000                      $100.00

(Over 9000 GVW upon request)

* Trucks over 26,000 GVW and buses 16 passengers or more for hire must show SSN or FEIN, but tax receipt is not required.

 

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Requests for Vehicle Information

If you are a prospective buyer of a vehicle currently titled in South Carolina, you may request a South Carolina title history by submitting a completed Request for Vehicle Information form (Form 5027-A) to SCDMV, Post Office Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29216-0024. The title history for the vehicle will include odometer information. However, the name and address of the registered owner(s) is not available. The cost for the Title History is $6.00. For expedited processing, include an additional $20.00 fee for each record. If you mail your request to headquarters for processing, attach the completed Form MV-82 to the front of your Form 5027-A. Make checks payable to SCDMV.

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Purchasing a New or Used Vehicle

When you purchase a new or used vehicle in South Carolina, you may either purchase a new plate for your vehicle or transfer a plate from a vehicle you already own. You have 45 days to title and register your vehicle from the date of purchase.

Beginning January 1, 2003, all vehicles operating on the streets or highways of South Carolina must display a regular license plate or a temporary license plate. The temporary plate is only valid for 45 days from the date of purchase of the vehicle and will be available at your local DMV office or county auditor's office beginning December 16, 2002. While operating a vehicle with a temporary plate, you must keep the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. You may also transfer a license plate from another vehicle, but you must properly register the vehicle within 45 days from the date of purchase. During the 45-day period, you must keep a copy of the registration for the old vehicle and the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. Temporary license plates cannot be used to test drive a vehicle or to operate a vehicle until it is sold.  

The 45-Day temporary license plates are now available at your local DMV branch office. You can download Form 45-A, Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates and submit this form to your nearest DMV office.

You may apply for your vehicle title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

You must have the following to purchase a new plate and title for a newly purchased vehicle:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.  If you have purchased a used vehicle, you must have the title of the vehicle and the previous owner of the vehicle must have signed the title over to you. If the title was issued prior to June 19, 1989, you must also submit a Bill of Sale. If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Lien Information.  If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the name and address of the lienholder and the date of the lien.
  • Liability Insurance information.  You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Acceptable Identification 
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration.  To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Original Paid Vehicle Property Tax Receipt.  Before you can register your vehicle in South Carolina, you must first pay the vehicle property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.
  • Casual Sales Tax.  Sales tax totaling 5% of the vehicle purchase price ($300.00 maximum) must be paid when you register a newly purchased vehicle in South Carolina. Truck fees may vary according to the gross vehicle weight of the truck.
  • Title and Registration Fees. There is a $15.00 fee for the title plus registration fees, depending on the type of vehicle and license plate you purchase. If you would like to expedite the title process and receive your title within three business days, you must pay an additional expedited title fee of $20.00. If you mail your request to headquarters for processing, attach the completed Form MV-82 to the front of your Form 400. Make checks payable to SCDMV.

Flood-damaged vehicles from areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may be in South Carolina and some dishonest businesses and individuals may try to sell them without revealing the true history of the vehicle. To learn more about how you can avoid purchasing one of these damaged vehicle, visit the SC Department of Consumer Affairs website and get tips from the experts.

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Transferring a Plate and Registration

When you purchase a vehicle in South Carolina, you may wish to transfer the plate from trade-in vehicle to your newly purchased vehicle. You have 45 days to title and register your vehicle from the date of purchase.

Beginning January 1, 2003, all vehicles operating on the streets or highways of South Carolina must display a regular license plate or a temporary license plate. The temporary plate is only valid for 45 days from the date of purchase of the vehicle and will be available at your local DMV office or county auditor's office beginning December 16, 2002. While operating a vehicle with a temporary plate, you must keep the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement. You may also transfer a license plate from another vehicle, but you must properly register the vehicle within 45 days from the date of purchase. During the 45-day period, you must keep a copy of the registration for the old vehicle and the bill of sale, title, rental contract or a copy of either document in your vehicle all times to verify the dates of purchase to law enforcement.

The 45-Day temporary license plates are now available at your local DMV branch office. You can download Form 45-A, Application for 45-Day Temporary Plates and submit this form to the DMV.

You may apply for your vehicle title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

You must have the following to transfer your vehicle registration to your newly purchased vehicle:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.  If you have purchased a used vehicle, you must have the title of the vehicle and the previous owner of the vehicle must have signed the title over to you. If this title does not have the Bill of Sale and odometer information on the back of the document, you must also submit a Bill of Sale. If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Lien Information.  If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the name and address of the lienholder and the date of the lien.
  • Liability Insurance information.  You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.
  • Acceptable Identification
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Casual Sales Tax.  Sales tax totaling 5% of the vehicle purchase price ($300.00 maximum) must be paid when you register a newly purchased vehicle in South Carolina. Truck fees may vary according to the gross vehicle weight of the truck.
  • Title and Registration Fees.  There is a $10.00 fee to transfer a plate from one vehicle to another. The title fee is $15.00.  If you would like to expedite your transaction and receive your title within three business days, you must pay an additional expedited title fee of $20.00. If you mail your request to headquarters for processing, attach the completed Form MV-82 to the front of your Form 400. Make checks payable to SCDMV.

Please note:  You can only transfer a vehicle license plate to the same vehicle once without providing a paid tax receipt.

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Leased Vehicles

When you lease a vehicle in South Carolina, you may either purchase a new plate for the vehicle or transfer a plate from a vehicle you already own. You have 45 days to title and register the  vehicle from the date of lease.

You may apply for the title and registration by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, Section 4 (Leasing Information) must be completed by the lessor (leasing company). Use your legal name from your driver's license or, if you are a business, use the legal name on your business license.  If this form is being signed on behalf of another individual, a Power of Attorney must be included.

You must have the following to register and title the vehicle:

·         The previous title or Manufactured Certificate of Origin properly assigned to the new owner.

·         Liability Insurance Information
You must provide the name of your automobile liability insurance company, not the name of the agent.

·         Acceptable Identification

·        Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration
To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and Section 4 completed.

·         Power of Attorney
If this form is being signed on behalf of another individual, a Power of Attorney must be included.   

·          Original Paid Vehicle Property Tax Receipt
Before you can register your vehicle in
South Carolina, you must first pay the vehicle property taxes that are required in the county in which you reside.

·         Title and Registration Fees.

 

Titles for leased vehicles will be issued only in the name of the lessor (leasing company); registrations for leased vehicles will include both the lessor (leasing company) and the lessee (individual leasing the vehicle).  A title for a leased vehicle will list the leasing company as the primary owner; the lessee (individual leasing the vehicle) will not appear on the title.  The leasing company’s name will appear on the registration card and the lessee (individual leasing the vehicle) will appear on the registration card as “in care of.”

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Obtaining a Title Only

If you do not plan to drive your vehicle, you may wish to obtain a title only for your newly purchased vehicle. You have 45 days to title your vehicle from the date of purchase. It is important to note that South Carolina will only issue a certificate of title for a vehicle that is physically located in South Carolina. If the seller’s title to the vehicle is from another state or the vehicle will not be registered in South Carolina, a DMV staff member must verify the vehicle identification number (VIN) before a title can be processed.

You may apply for the title by mail. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

To obtain a title only, you must have the following:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
    If you have purchased a used vehicle, you must have the title of the vehicle and the previous owner of the vehicle must have signed the title over to you. If this title does not have the Bill of Sale and odometer information on the back of the document, you must also submit a Bill of Sale. If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Acceptable Identification
  • Lien Information.
    If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the name and address of the lien holder and the date of the lien.
  • Completed Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration.
    To complete the form, you must have your vehicle odometer mileage reading and any current lien information.
  • Casual Sales Tax.
    Sales tax totaling 5% of the vehicle purchase price ($300.00 maximum) must be paid when you register a newly purchased vehicle in South Carolina. Truck fees may vary according to the gross vehicle weight of the truck.
  • Title Fee.
    The title fee is $15.00.
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Recording Liens

To record a lien on a South Carolina title, Section F of the Form 400 must be completed indicating the lien holder’s name, date of the lien, contact person and number, and the mailing address of the lien holder. If the lien holder is an ELT lender, the ELT lender’s customer number must be indicated in the section provided. The lien holder’s information listed here, must match the lien holder information listed on any of the supporting documents (MCO, title or buyer’s order, e.g.)

 

When a lien is being recorded on an existing South Carolina title and the ownership of the vehicle is not changing, the odometer reading is not required on the title application. If the odometer is not updated, or if the odometer listed is list than on the current title, the current odometer reading will be used on the new title. Lien holders has the discretion to update the odometer reading when recording their lien.

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Releasing a Lien

To remove a lien from the title record, lien holders may release the lien electronically on electronic titles, complete the lien release on the front of the title document or submit a letter on company letterhead. Lien holders that choose to submit a letter should include the following information:

  1. Owner’s Name
  2. Vehicle Identification Number
  3. Title Number
  4. Lien Release Date
  5. Signature of Authorized Company Representative.

 

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Obtaining a Duplicate Title

If you have lost your title, you may obtain a duplicate title from the Department of Motor Vehicles. You may apply for the duplicate title by mail or by visiting your local SCDMV field office. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration, which must be completed, contains the proper mailing address for the department.

To obtain a duplicate title, you must have the following:

Important note: If there is a lien on your vehicle, the duplicate title will be sent to the lien holder.

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Inheriting a Vehicle

If you are the surviving owner of a vehicle or mobile home and you share ownership with the deceased party, you may transfer the vehicle or mobile home with your signature as long as your name and the deceased owner’s name are separated by “or” on the title. The Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration must also be completed to transfer title.

If the owner’s names are separated by “and” on the title, the probate court must be consulted to determine how the property must be distributed even if there is a will. This requirement also applies to vehicles and mobile homes left by a sole owner.

The probate court will provide you with one of the following documents which may be used along with the title, Form 400 and applicable fees to transfer title:

·         An Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property Pursuant to Small Estate Proceedings

·         Personal Representative with an original Certificate of Appointment – the personal representative may reassign the vehicle as required

·         Probate Court Order authorizing the transfer of ownership

If the vehicle is being registered, a paid property tax receipt and liability insurance information will also be required.

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Vehicles 25 Years Old or Older with No Title

If you need to title a vehicle, mobile home, or trailer that is 25 years old or older, and you are unable to obtain the previous title, you may apply for approval to title a vehicle. Requests for approval to title a motor vehicle, mobile home or trailer are only processed by mail in DMV headquarters and are done on a case by case basis.

The current owner of the vehicle must be a resident of South Carolina evidenced by a South Carolina credential, a mobile home housed in South Carolina or proof of legal presence in South Carolina (see Acceptable Forms of Identification for more information.) 

Apply for approval to title by submitting the following:

1.     Affidavit of Ownership, Form TI-021A, which must include the vehicle and current owner information, and a statement indicating how the vehicle was acquired to include in detail how, where and when the owner acquired the vehicle, who were the seller(s) and/or lien holder(s), the condition of the vehicle and any other information regarding the vehicle.

2.     Photographs of the vehicle, mobile home, or trailer from all angles (photos will not be returned).

3.     Vehicle Identification Verification for Title without Previous Title, Form TI-021B signed by a SCDMV official. The vehicle must be taken to a local DMV branch by the customer for an inspection if the customer wishes to obtain a South Carolina title. If a unique identifying number is not affixed to the vehicle, you will be required to apply for a special serial number from the Department – Application for a Special Serial Number, Form 401-A before proceeding with this request. If the vehicle is not operable at the time of inspection, you may be approved to obtain a title that is branded “not for road use” only. Once the vehicle is operable, it will need to be inspected before the “not for road use” brand can be removed and the vehicle can be registered.

4.     Additional Requirements for Mobile Homes

a.     A letter or receipt from the county treasurer’s office indicating property taxes are current for the mobile home.

b.    Seven (7) years of property tax statements in the current owner’s name; or,

c.     Insurance company records indicating the home has been insured in the owner’s name for the previous 7 years or more.

d.    The insurance documents or property tax statements must include the mobile home’s vehicle identification number.

 

These documents should be submitted to SCDMV by mail at Post Office Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29016-0024. Once the Department is certain that no previous title exists for the vehicle, or can be obtained, the Form TI-021A may be approved and you can apply for title using the approved Form TI-021A in lieu of the previous title in any SCDMV office. The approval to title is not proof of ownership and cannot be used to title in a jurisdiction other than South Carolina.  You must meet all other titling requirements as outlined in this section, including payment of use taxes based on the purchase price of the vehicle, and title and registration fees.
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Vehicle Property Taxes

In South Carolina, payment of personal vehicle property taxes is required before a license plate can be issued or renewed. The taxes are paid directly to the county treasurer of the county where you live in South Carolina. Tax rates vary and are determined by the county auditor in each county.

If you are a first-time registrant, you will need to take your title or current registration to the county auditor's office in order to receive a tax bill. The amount due is paid to the county treasurer who will issue a paid vehicle property tax receipt.

If you are renewing your South Carolina registration, you will receive a vehicle property tax bill/renewal reminder from the county treasurer's office. You may pay your vehicle property taxes directly to the county treasurer's office in the county where you reside. See Registration Renewals below for additional information.

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Registration Renewals

In South Carolina, payment of personal vehicle property taxes is required before a license plate can be renewed. Citizens can pay both the vehicle property taxes and renewal fees at the county treasurer's office. After this is done, the license plate or validation number is issued in an overnight program and mailed to the customer from the DMV the next working day.

If you do not receive your license plates and/or decal within ten working days, you may obtain one at a DMV branch office. If you have an adjusted tax bill, owe a penalty or must have your registration corrected to reflect a senior citizen discount, you may also visit a DMV branch office.  You may be issued a license plate or validation that shows a different expiration date than shown on your vehicle registration. This is necessary because personal vehicle property taxes must be paid on a yearly basis while registration fees are collected on a two-year basis. SCDMV accepts only original paid property tax receipts. Printed receipts for online county tax payments are not accepted.

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Insurance Requirements

When registering your vehicle, you must provide the name of your insurance company and policy number. If you are issued a driver's license for the first time in South Carolina, you will be required to provide vehicle insurance information.

If your liability insurance is cancelled or expired, you must return your vehicle's license plate and registration to DMV or reinstate your coverage. Otherwise, your driver license and vehicle plate will be suspended and you will be subject to a reinstatement fee of $200 and $5 penalty for each day the vehicle was uninsured or plate(s) was not turned in. The maximum penalty for the first offense is $400 per vehicle.

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Registering as an Uninsured Motorist

As of February 1, 1999 vehicle owners can pay a $550.00 Uninsured Motorist Fee. The $550.00 fee is not an insurance premium and the owner is not purchasing any insurance by paying this fee. The $550.00 Uninsured Motorist Fee is for the privilege to drive and operate an uninsured motor vehicle on the South Carolina roads. Owners that pay the $550.00 Uninsured Motorist Fee are liable for damages if they are at fault in an accident.

If you and every driver in your household has held a driver's license for three or more years, you may qualify to register as an uninsured motorist. However, you are not qualified to participate if you (the owner) are presently required to file SR-22 insurance or have been convicted of any of the following violations within the past three years:

  • Disobeying any official traffic device or officer directing traffic
  • Failing to stop for a law enforcement officer when signaled
  • Failing to stop for a school bus
  • Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or property damage
  • Theft or unlawful taking of a vehicle
  • Racing on public highways
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Reckless homicide, homicide or assault involving the operation of a motor vehicle
  • Felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
  • Transporting illegal whiskey, unlawful drugs, or other controlled or narcotic substances
  • Willfully making false statements when applying for a license or registration
  • Impersonating an applicant or obtaining a license or registration by impersonating himself or another
  • Three or more moving traffic violations
  • Two or more accidents that resulted in injury exceeding $600 or property damage exceeding $1,000.

You may obtain the application to register as an uninsured motorist by clicking here.

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Correcting Odometer Errors

If you discover that you reported the odometer mileage on your vehicle incorrectly when you registered it, there are steps you can take to correct the title. To request a correction, you must provide a copy of the incorrect title, complete the required forms, provide documentation proving an error was made, and pay the required title fee.

The following documents are required to request an odometer mileage correction:

  1. Form 400, Application for Certificate of Title/Registration,
  2. Form TI-008, Odometer Correction Request, and
  3. The incorrect title

When you submit your paperwork to correct the title, you must also provide documentation proving that an error was made. If you do not provide supporting documentation, DMV may be unable to change the title. Acceptable forms of proof are as follows:

 

  1. A series of repair records that show the vehicle mileage.
  2. A series of oil change records that show the mileage history.
  3. Statements from previous owners certifying mileage of the vehicle at the time of transfer. These statements cannot be used to certify the actual mileage of the vehicle and will require an indication of “Warning – not actual mileage” be added to the title.

 

All requests for odometer corrections will be processed at the Headquarters’ Title Section and may take ten to fifteen business days to process.

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Returned Checks

DMV will no longer provide services to customers who write bad checks. Many services will remain unavailable until the customers pay all dishonored checks and fees. 

 

If DMV receives a returned check notification from your bank, you will be notified by mail that you need to pay the outstanding fees. You must pay the amount of the check, plus a $30.00 returned check fee. After the fees are paid, DMV will not accept a personal check from you and a “cash only” alert will be placed on your record for three years from the date all check fees are paid. You may remit payment at any DMV office or by mail to the Headquarters Finance Department at the following address:

 

SC Department of Motor Vehicles

Attention: DCU

Post Office Box 1029

Blythewood, South Carolina 29016-1029

 

DMV does not accept cash by mail. Until all fees are paid, you will no longer be able to renew your driver license or vehicle registration. You will not be able to replace a lost or stolen driver license or license plate, apply for a Disabled Placard, or purchase a copy of your driving record.

  

DMV will notify the South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR) regarding customers that have not remitted payment for a returned check. DOR may collect money for a customer’s unpaid check through his or her state tax refund. 

 

If you have questions regarding returned checks, please contact the DMV Contact Center at (803) 896-5000 or email help@scdmvonline.com.

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On This Page
General Vehicle Information
Expedited Vehicle Services by Mail
Moving to South Carolina
Requests for Vehicle Information
Purchasing a New or Used Vehicle
Transferring a Plate and Registration
Leased Vehicles
Obtaining a Title Only
Recording Liens
Releasing a Lien
Obtaining a Duplicate Title
Inheriting a Vehicle
Vehicles 25 Years Old or Older with No Title
Vehicle Property Taxes
Registration Renewals
Insurance Requirements
Registering as an Uninsured Motorist
Correcting Odometer Errors
Returned Checks

Related Sites
Donate Life South Carolina
US DOT Auto Safety Hotline
SC Department of Insurance
SC Watercraft Titles and Registration