Freedom of Information Act


South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Section 30-4-10

The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is part of the South Carolina Code of Laws allowing any citizen to have access to public records and to meetings of public bodies with some exceptions as defined in the Act.

This policy is applicable to all departments under the supervision of the Beaufort County Administrator and to any board or commission whose members are appointed by the County Council of Beaufort County, South Carolina, the governing body of Beaufort County Government.

In accordance with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, Beaufort County has 10 working days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) to determine if the information requested is publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act and whether or not a fee is required. Upon receipt of payment, Beaufort County has up to 30 calendar days to complete the request.

Exemptions from the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act Section 30-4-40/30-4-50 and Section 3-2-50

According to the SC Code of Laws, Beaufort County may choose to deny a FOIA request based on exemptions noted in the law. Commonly denied requests include:

  • Obtaining or using any personal information acquired from a state agency for commercial solicitation.
  • Requesting the identity or information tending to reveal the identity of any individual who in good faith makes a complaint or otherwise discloses information which alleges a violation or potential violation of law or regulation to a state regulatory agency.
  • Requesting documents or reports in a special format or one that must be created by Beaufort County that is not already in existence.

Cost Associated with Freedom of Information Act Requests Section 30-4-30 (B)

The Beaufort County Treasurer requires all payments for FOIA requests be made via check or money order.  If a fee is required, the requester will be notified with amounts and payment instructions.

Research Time: Based on department; no less than an hourly rate of $14.00*
USB 2.0 Flash drive: $7.00 (if the information requested is over 10 MB; files under 10 MB will be emailed)
Paper Copy: $0.20 per page (up to 11x17 only)
Video Duplication: $15.00
GIS Maps: $10.00 (up to 11x17 in.) or $20.00 (larger than 11x17 in.)
Certified Copies from Clerk of Court $3.00 per copy
Certified Copies from Family Court $5.00 per copy (All documents will be certified)
Certified Copies from Magistrate $0.50 per page
Postage: Determined by weight and ZIP Code

*Requests for documents requiring relatively short research time, such as Elevation Certificates or Building Permits for single properties, will generally incur no research charge.
Bulk requests for Elevation Certificates from three or more properties submitted in one FOIA request will incur a fee for research time.

Beaufort County Freedom of Information Act Request Form

You may access the following information: Deeds, Easements, Mortgages, Plats, Surveys and Liens (Tax, Federal, Mechanic) by visiting the Register of Deeds Website.

If requesting an Elevation Certificate or Building Permits for properties within the Town of Hilton Head or the City of Beaufort, please first check the following webpages before submitting a FOIA request through Beaufort County:

Any request received after 4:30 pm Monday through Friday will be considered as having been received on the following work day. For further assistance, please contact the FOIA Specialist at 843-255-7200.

To submit a Freedom of Information Act Request, certify that you have read and acknowledge the information above by selecting "ACCEPT".

To submit your request via mail, click “Accept,” fill out the form, print and mail to:           

Beaufort County FOIA Services
c/o Records Management Department
Post Office Drawer 1228
Beaufort, SC 29901-1228