14 1st Ave. SE
Watertown, SD 57201-3611
The Treasurer is a collector of taxes and has the duty to receive all money belonging to the county from whatever source (taxes, lien payments, etc.). The Treasurer maintains accounting records and is responsible for county fund investment. The Treasurer and Auditor work in conjunction to pay county bills. The County Treasurer is responsible for issuing motor vehicle registrations and licenses along with reporting them to the SD Division of Motor Vehicles. The Treasurer is also responsible for recording all liens, canceling liens, and duplicate titles.
Real Estate Tax Program
Real estate tax notices are mailed to property owners in January. Taxes in South Dakota are due and payable the first of January, however the first half of property tax payments are accepted until April 30th without penalty. The second half of property tax payments will be accepted until October 31. All special assessments are due in full on or before April 30. In addition, all taxes under $50 are due and payable in full on or before April 30.
Please keep in mind that taxes that are not postmarked by April 30th and October 31st, respectively, are considered delinquent. If you mail your payment on time and the post office fails to postmark it by those dates, it will be considered a late payment. If April 30th or October 31st fall on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, according to state law it is up to you to make arrangements to get your payment to the Treasurer’s office by 5pm of the last working day of the month.
The Treasurer’s office titles and licenses all new and used motor vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, snowmobiles, and boats. Our office also records and releases liens placed on vehicles.
Titling Your Vehicle in South Dakota
South Dakota residents have 45 days from the date of purchase of a new or used motor vehicle to transfer the title into their name. A penalty of $1.00 per week up to 26 weeks will be assessed for late transfers. The penalty for a transfer after 26 weeks is $50.00. Interest on the 4% excise tax will also be assessed on any title transfers done after 45 days. For each month or part thereof for which the tax payment is late, interest at the rate of 1.25% or $5.00, whichever is greater, for the first month, and 1.25% per month thereafter on any application made after 45 days from the date the vehicle is purchased will be added. A one-time penalty equal to 10% of the tax or $10.00, whichever is greater, is automatically applied against any application made after 60 days from the purchase date.
A 4% excise tax is imposed on most motor vehicle transactions unless they qualify for an exemption. The tax is based on the purchase price of the motor vehicle listed on the bill of sale, purchase order, or sales contract. All vehicles 10 model years or newer are taxed, regardless of the purchase price. Vehicles which are 11 or more model years old, may be exempt from the 4% excise tax if the bill of sale indicates a price of $2,200 or less. Credit is given for trade-ins.
Additional information regarding the titling process and the forms necessary to title your vehicle can be found at http://www.state.sd.us/drr2/motorvehicle/title/titling_motor_vehicles.htm.
Vehicle Registration Renewals
Registration on commercial, non-commercial vehicles and trailers, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and boats are done on a staggered licensing system based on the first letter of the owner’s last name, or in the case of a business, on the beginning letter of the business name.
Renewal months are as follows:
- A, B – January
- C, D, E – February
- F, G, J – March
- H, I, O – May
- K, L – June
- M, N – July
- P, Q, R – August
- S – September
- T thru Z – November
Another alternative for license renewals is the SD Division of Motor Vehicles’ Self-Service Terminals (SST): They are available 24/7. Regardless of county of residence you can renew 90 days before the expiration and up to 30 days after. The SST terminal in Watertown is located in the Hy-Vee Foods Customer Service area. License renewals can be done in the Treasurer’s Office Monday thru Friday, except for Holidays, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The on-line renewal system can be accessed at www.SDcars.org and is available from 90 days up to 10 days prior to the vehicle’s registration expiration date.