1. What is SCATE?
Under the South Carolina Agricultural Tax Exemption (SCATE) program, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture issues cards to individuals eligible to receive agriculture sales tax exemptions under South Carolina state law.
2. When was the SCATE card implemented?
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture began issuing SCATE cards in January 2022. The phase-in period ended July 1, 2022. However, eligible individuals can apply for a SCATE card anytime.
APPLYING AND RENEWING
1. What information do I need to apply for a SCATE card?
In addition to basic personal and business information (name, address, etc.), you will need an email address and your credit/debit card or checking account information.
2. How much does a SCATE card cost?
A SCATE card costs $24 and is good for three years.
3. Why is there a fee for the SCATE card?
The fee covers the costs of administering the program, including printing, mailing, communications, personnel, and transaction fees.
4. Can I apply in person or by mail?
You can only apply for a SCATE card through our online portal at scatecard.com. Payments must be made by credit/debit card or ACH/e-check. There is no paper application. We cannot fill out your application for you. We cannot accept paper checks or cash.
SCDA’s three state farmers markets in West Columbia, Florence, and Greenville may assist you in completing a SCATE card application online. Click here for the markets’ contact information.
5. What if I don’t have an email address?
Many services offer free email service, including Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo. Sign up for an email address before applying for your SCATE card. Public libraries across the state can help you establish an email account, and many have computers available for use.
6. What if I move to a new address or change my name or my business name? Do I need to notify you?
We encourage you to keep your information up to date in the SCATE system. Use the password emailed to you when you completed your SCATE application to log in and update your information.
7. I applied but haven’t received my card. What should I do?
If it’s been at least 30 days but no more than 45 days since you applied, please call 803-734-2210 or email email@example.com. After 45 days, there will be a $5 fee for a replacement set of cards.
8. How do I replace a lost or stolen card?
Go to scatecard.com and click “Update your information or request a replacement/additional card,” then enter your SCATE card number and password. A replacement card costs $5.
9. Some of the information on my card is wrong. How do I get a new one?
Go to scatecard.com and click “Update your information or request a replacement/additional card,” then enter your SCATE card number and password. You can then edit the information on file, such as name, address, farm name. Next, click to verify the updated information is correct. If you want a new card, a replacement card costs $5.
10. I want to update my information or request a new card, but I don’t have my SCATE ID or password. What should I do?
Your SCATE card number can be found on the SCATE card itself or the application confirmation email. Go to scatecard.com and click “Forgot my password” to retrieve your password by email. If you do not have your SCATE Card ID and password, please call 803-734-2210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. My agricultural business closed. Can I get a refund?
Refunds will only be given for multiple payments on accounts or if a duplicate account has been created. No refunds will be given because a farm is sold or is no longer operating.
12. Can I just keep using the old paper form?
After July 1, 2022, the SCATE card is the only way to obtain agricultural sales tax exemptions. Retailers no longer accept the ST-8F form.
13. How long is the SCATE card good for?
SCATE cards expire three years from the date of issue. Make sure to renew your card before the expiration date printed on the front. The system will send an email to the email address on file letting you know it’s time to renew.
Receiving a replacement card does not change the expiration date associated with your original SCATE card. Your replacement card will expire three years from the date that your original card was issued.
14. Will my financial information be protected?
Yes. We don’t keep your bank account or credit/debit card number on file; it’s simply used to pay the card fee via an encrypted transaction, and never associated with your SCATE information in our files. If you’re still uncomfortable entering financial information online, one solution is to purchase a prepaid debit card in the amount of $24 and use that to pay the SCATE card fee.
ELIGIBILITY AND EXEMPTIONS
1. Is the tax law changing? Can I still get the same exemptions as before?
South Carolina’s sales tax laws have not changed. The only thing that has changed is the way buyers demonstrate they are eligible for certain agriculture tax exemptions.
2. What ag products are exempt from sales tax?
These are exempt items, per the SC Department of Revenue:
- Feed used for the production and maintenance of poultry and livestock;
- Insecticides, chemicals, fertilizers, soil conditioners, seeds or seedlings, or nursery stock, used solely in the production for sale of farm, dairy, grove, vineyard or garden products or in the cultivation of poultry or livestock feed;
- Containers* and labels used in:
- preparing agricultural, dairy, grove or garden products for sale; or
- preparing turpentine gum, gum spirits of turpentine and gum resin for sale.
- Fuel used in farm machinery and farm tractors;
- Farm machinery and their replacement parts and attachments, used in planting, cultivating or harvesting farm crops, including bulk coolers (farm dairy tanks) used in the production and preservation of milk on dairy farms, and machines used in the production of poultry and poultry products on poultry farms, when such products are sold in the original state of production or preparation for sale. This exemption does not include automobiles or trucks;
- Fuel used exclusively to cure agricultural products;
- Natural and liquefied petroleum gas and electricity used exclusively in the production of poultry, livestock, swine and milk;
- Electricity used to irrigate crops;
- Building materials, supplies, fixtures and equipment for the construction, repair or improvement of or that become part of a self-contained enclosure or structure specifically designed, constructed, and used for the commercial housing of poultry or livestock.
* For purposes of this exemption, containers mean boxes, crates, bags, bagging, ties, barrels, and other containers.
SCDOR provides a detailed explanation of these exemptions here.
If you have questions about agriculture exemptions and taxes not addressed here, you can contact SCDOR at FarmExemption@dor.sc.gov. The relevant section of the South Carolina Code of Laws can be viewed here.
3. How do I know if I’m eligible for a SCATE card?
If you purchase eligible products (see previous answer) in South Carolina, you are eligible for a SCATE card.
4. Do I have to meet a certain agriculture income threshold to qualify for exemptions?
South Carolina law does not require producers to generate a certain level of income from agriculture to qualify for sales tax exemptions.
5. I don’t file a Schedule F. Can I still get a SCATE card?
The IRS Schedule F (Form 1040) details profits and losses from farming, and is a simple way for the state to determine that you are eligible for agriculture sales tax exemptions. If you don’t file a Schedule F and report farm income on your tax return, you may still be eligible for agriculture sales tax exemptions. The application contains a field for non-Schedule F filers to explain their farming activities.
6. Is the new SCATE card accepted by online retailers?
If exempt items are purchased online for delivery in South Carolina, then the online retailer should honor the South Carolina agriculture exemption.
7. Is the new SCATE card accepted by out-of-state retailers?
If the farmer receives the purchased items outside of South Carolina, then the items are subject to tax and/or exemptions allowed by the other state. In this case, the SCATE card would not be applicable.
If the farmer receives the delivery of purchased items when in South Carolina, then South Carolina tax and exemptions are applicable. In this case, the SCATE card could be used.
8. Can out of state residents apply for a SCATE card?
Yes, out of state residents who qualify can apply for a SCATE card to use for agricultural tax exempt purchases made in South Carolina.
1. Can retailers check someone’s SCATE status?
Yes. Click “Check SCATE status” on the SCATE webpage, then put in the card number to check whether they are an active SCATE participant.
2. What records do retailers need to keep?
The SC Department of Revenue requires retailers to maintain evidence of exempt sales, including the SCATE card number; and to report exempt sales on their Sales & Use Tax Return.
For audit purposes, a retailer is required to keep any and all records for three years. After three years, it is up to the retailer how long they keep the records (this includes the old paper ST-8F forms). However, we recommend keeping them for seven years. Retailers can contact SCDOR at FarmExemption@dor.sc.gov with further questions.