What is a Tax Map Number? | How to Read Tax Maps
Parcels of Real Estate in SC are divided into tax maps in each county. This is a drawing that the county keeps on record for real estate tax purposes. Every property is identified by a TMS# or Tax Map Number. Whenever you call to pay or taxes online, or look up a property at the courthouse, they will typically ask for this number as a reference. Although this number is shown on the deed it does NOT mean that the dimensions of your property are as stated. So when you buy land in South Carolina, don't depend on this number for accuracy and always refer to the Legal Description for the most accurate description of your property boundaries. If you are looking for your property online you may try the GIS section of your county website.
The Map (or Sheet)
Tax maps are usually broken down into 3 numbers such as "XXXXX-YY-ZZ". The "X" represents the "Sheet" or "Map" number. This is the number that shows several properties on one map. As an example, think about how you'd look up a city in an atlas. If I were to tell you to look up Blythewood SC in an atlas, your first step would be to turn to the page that shows the State of South Carolina. The "XXXXX" in a tax map number serves a similar function. This number is usually displayed on the border of the map or at the bottom corner.
The "Y" represents the "Block" number. This is a portion of the Map that is usually broken into 2-3 sections, unless you are searching on a high-density map. In reference to the "Blythewood SC" city search example in the last paragraph, the "Block" would represent the county. So, If I were to look up the town of Blythewood, I would tell someone to go to their atlas and find the map of South Carolina, then find Richland County. South Carolina represents "XXXXX" and Richland County represents "YY". These numbers are usually shown with a number in a polygon somewhere on the map.
Sticking with this same example, the last digit "ZZ" is called the parcel number. This is the most specific number on that tax map and should identify your property. These are the last digits in a tax map number and should have a close relation to the recorded survey of the property. In the atlas example, this would represent the town of Blythewood. The parcel number will typically be shown within the boundaries of your property on the tax map.
Troubleshoot: If you find the number that is stated on your tax bill but it doesn't look like your property you are most likely in the wrong "Block" or "Map".
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