New SC Tax Rules Among Laws Now in Effect Starting New Year’s Day

Of the nearly 300 laws introduced from South Carolina’s 2017-18 legislative session, some went into effect starting Jan. 1. These included Form I-385 tax credits for gas purchases and vehicle maintenance to balance the 2 cents per gallon hike on gas taxes slated until 2022, and the latest phase-ins of both a non-refundable earned-income credit as well as the second of a six-year dip in property taxes for manufacturers. The new year will also bring in stricter transparency rules for homeowners associations that says bylaws must be publicly filed by Jan. 10 and the implementation of the Insurance Data Security Act, that says the state’s insurance companies must data security standards for cyberattacks before July.

With Dominion Buyout Finalized, SCANA Renamed as Southeast Energy Group

SCANA Corp. will now be known as Southeast Energy Group as Virginia-based Dominion Energy completed its yearlong buyout pursuit of the Cayce-based energy company in the wake of abandoning construction on the Fairfield County nuclear site. Appeals by groups to the S.C. Public Service Commission concerning elements of its approval order are not expected to delay the Dominion the buyout, and the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce wrote that the commission should “correct numerous errors” in its order but without concern that the deal could be broken off. Dominion now adds almost 730,000 electric customers in South Carolina and around 5,200 full- and part-time SCANA workers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. SCANA chief executive Jimmy Addison, CPA, will retire and be replaced by Dominion senior vice president and chief information officer Rodney Blevins. The Dominion Energy news release can be read here.

Many of SC’s Federal Workers Continue to Work Through Government Shutdown

There are 30,000 Federal workers in South Carolina, but the majority will not see their pay affected by the government shutdown that began Dec. 22 if they work for an agency whose budget is funded for the year. However, there are workers in the Coast Guard, Housing and Urban Development and the Transportation Security Administration who will be working without pay. E-Verify, the online system where employees can check the eligibility of people to work in the United States, will not be in operation through the shutdown.

SCACPA Treasurer Newhouse Quoted in Update About Unclaimed $1.5B Lottery Ticket

The winning $1.5 billion lottery ticket bought outside Simpsonsville for the Oct. 23 Mega Millions drawing remains unclaimed as 2019 begins, and The State newspaper asked a mix of tax experts about options the winner should weigh before accepting the windfall. “This can be a life-changing amount of money. But a lot of people don’t know how to control it, and they lose it over time,” SCACPA Treasurer and Moore Beauston & Woodham partner Ken Newhouse said. Newhouse also spoke about the need to establish a charitable foundation or trust to protect the sum from taxes and support philanthropies. “We’ve had other winners who have done a lot of good.” The lottery winner (or group of winners) have until late April to claim the prize, otherwise it will be returned to the 44 states that participate in Mega Millions, and South Carolina’s share would be $11.2 million for the state’s education fund.

Airlines Help Clemson Fans with Nonstop Flights to California Championship Game

With fans of the Clemson football team having little more than over a week to arrange travel plans to Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., for Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game, three airlines have come off the bench to add nonstop flights from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. Delta and American set up routes to San Jose International Airport on Jan. 4 and 5, while United will go to San Francisco International on Jan. 6. All the return flights come back Tuesday, Jan. 8. While online reservations place the price tags of the flights at over $1,000, demand for tickets for Alabama-Clemson IV are not as brisk. While it was hard to find tickets to last year’s Alabama-Georgia title game in Atlanta for under $1,700, online ticket resale sites have the Bay Area championship game tickets as low as $245.