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NEWS | Feb. 17, 2009

Non-residents can say no to vehicle sales tax

By Legal Office 437th Airlift Wing

Thinking about buying a car while stationed in South Carolina? If so, there are a few things Airmen should know.

Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 12-36-2120 (25), if Airmen are not a resident of South Carolina and are stationed on orders in the state, they are exempt from paying sales tax on all purchases of motor vehicles, except trucks, but including motorcycles.

What is the catch? Airmen must submit their leave and earnings statement, which designates the state of residence of the buyer, to the dealer within 10 days of the sale. They can also submit a letter from a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces of a higher rank than the purchaser, certifying that the buyer is a member of the Armed Forces on active duty, and a resident of another state.

If Airmen are interested in taking advantage of this benefit, stop by the legal office and pick up a South Carolina Form ST-178 before purchasing a vehicle.

However, military members of other countries on temporary duty assignments in the U.S. do not qualify for these exemptions.

If Airmen decide to purchase a truck or another vehicle not covered under this exemption, stop by the legal office Tuesdays between noon and 3 p.m. for active-duty members, or 1 to 3 p.m. for all others to meet with an attorney. Additional benefits available under South Carolina law may be of benefit. For more information, contact the 437th Airlift Wing Legal Office at 963-5502.