Cayce seeks $5M in back taxes from insurer

tflach@thestate.comJuly 4, 2013 

— Cayce is seeking $5.3 million in what it says are overdue taxes from a major insurer.

South Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance and two affiliates underpaid that amount in business license taxes since 2010, city officials say in seeking a court ruling for payment.

The insurers are supposed to pay an annual tax equaling 2 percent of premiums received from customers to the Lexington County community, the request pending in Richland County Court of Common Pleas says.

Farm Bureau Insurance and its affiliates pays taxes on business done in Cayce, but there is disagreement on whether the city tax should be applied on its business statewide, company lawyer Burnet Maybank said.

Company headquarters are in Cayce.

The insurers provide coverage for vehicles, homes, businesses, health care and more, with about 300,000 policies statewide.

“Our organization takes pride in being a good corporate citizen in all of the communities we do business throughout South Carolina,” Farm Bureau spokeswoman Susan Merrill said.

“We have paid our business license fees as we have been directed by the city of Cayce and until the lawsuit was filed, we were not aware of any issues with the city of Cayce.”

City spokeswoman Ashley Hunter declined comment on the dispute except to say “we hope that there will be swift resolution for all parties in the coming weeks.”

City officials turned the recovery effort to the Municipal Association of South Carolina, which oversees collection of such taxes for most of the 270 city and towns in the state.

The payment sought is about half of the amount spent annually on city services.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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