Transportation penny tax takes effect today in Richland County

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Today marks the first day your shopping receipt will look a little different in Richland County.

The county's new Transportation Penny tax takes effect, and county officials estimate the one percent tax increase will make the county about 50 million dollars a year to put toward improving roadways, the bus system, bike paths and greenways.

The county's one percent transportation tax increase brings the total average sales tax for retail in Richland County to eight percent. That's because the state sales tax is six percent, and Richland County already has a local option tax of one percent that was passed back in 2005.

Taxes for hotel stays in Unincorporated Richland County are now 12% because of existing state and local accommodation taxes. The transportation tax will apply to groceries changing that tax in Richland County from one to two percent. There is no state sales tax on grocery items. Taxes on other food and beverages are 10% because of the existing hospitality tax. (Taxes may be slightly different in City Limits of Irmo and Eastover.)

Lee and Bamberg counties have a new one percent Capital Project Tax in effect today bringing their sales taxes to eight percent, as well.  Sumter and Clarendon counties are the only other Midlands counties with an eight percent sales tax.

All other Midlands counties: Lexington, Newberry, Kershaw, Fairfield, Calhoun, Orangeburg, Saluda and Aiken currently have a seven percent sales tax. (See above video for map)

Richland County has listed more than 40 road projects as part of their roadway improvement plans, and those projects make up more than sixty percent of the money that will be collected from the tax.

A little less than 30 percent of the funds are planned to improve the CMRTA bus system, with the remaining money going to bike paths and greenways.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue says stores collect the tax and give the money to the Dept. of Revenue at the end of each month. The state treasurer then gives the money back to the county.

If you think you've been wrongly charged an eight percent sales tax before today, you can contact the Dept. of Revenue at the Columbia Taxpayer Service Center at (803) 898-5000. The   Department of Revenue says if you have been wrongly charged, the retail store is responsible for reimbursing you.