Making Democracy Work


Where can I get information about paying taxes in North Carolina and in my county?

State Taxes

State income tax is due April 15. N.C. taxable income is taxable income as calculated for federal income tax purposes, with adjustments. Maximum rate is 7.75%. You are required to pay estimated income tax if the tax due (less N.C. tax withheld and allowable tax credits) is $1,000 or more.

Tax Rate Schedule

NC Department of Revenue

Retail sales of tangible personal property not subject to a reduced rate of tax are subject to the 5.75% general State rate of sales or use tax. The general rate of tax also applies to the rental of rooms, lodgings, or accommodations furnished to transients, and to charges for cleaning, pressing, hat blocking, and laundering of linens and apparels. Qualifying food is taxed at 2%, all of which goes to county and local governments. Additional state taxes are included in the purchase price of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and gasoline.

More Sales Tax Information

The Highway Use Tax is a one-time fee. When a vehicle is purchased, the tax is 3% of the retail value, with a maximum tax of $1,500. New residents moving into N.C. pay 3% of the wholesale value of the vehicle, with a maximum tax of $150.

County Taxes

Ad valorem tax is collected on real and personal property. Property taxes are due Sept. 1, with penalties for payment after Jan. 1. Property tax is assessed on the basis of 100% of the appraised valuation. State law requires revaluation of property every 8 years, although counties may choose to do revaluations more frequently.

During January each year, owners are required to list unlicensed vehicles, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, boats and motors, mobile homes, aircraft and personal property used in a trade or business. New construction to land and buildings within the preceding year must be reported. Penalties apply when such listings are not made. Taxes on listed personal property are billed and collected at the same time as real property.

Personal property tax on licensed vehicles and trailers is billed separately within 3 months of the date of registration.

Municipal Taxes

Town property taxes are in addition to county property taxes; they are billed and collected at the same time as county taxes. Some municipalities collect a motor vehicle tax annually.

School District Taxes

Only the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District in Orange County collects a special district tax which supplements funds appropriated by the county and state. It is billed and collected at the same time as other county and town property taxes.

Fire District Taxes

Special fire districts outside of the towns are supported by property taxes, which are set annually for each district by the County Commissioners. Fire district taxes are billed and collected at the same time as other property taxes.

County Tax Assessors and Free Tax Assistance


Orange County: 245-2100, Fax 644-3091

228 South Churton Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278


Durham County: 560-0300, Fax 560-0350

200 East Main Street, 1st. Floor, Old Courthouse, Durham, NC 27701


Chatham County: 542-8260 (collection), 542-8250 (listing/assessing), Fax 542-2963

12 East Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312 (Courthouse Annex)



The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program is a free tax service for individuals with low to middle-income ($42,000 or less) whose returns are not complex or long. No age restrictions. Non-English-speaking clients need to bring an interpreter. Hospital and home visits are arranged for the homebound or disabled. Service begins in late January and ends the week of April 15. Returns are prepared using computers and can be filed electronically.


  • Orange County

Call for appointments. In Chapel Hill or Carrboro: 968-2086. In Hillsborough: 245-2015. Call 245-2010 to be matched with a Spanish-speaking tax preparer.

  • Durham County

No appointments - first come, first served. Call Durham Main Library for information, 560-0100.

  • Chatham County

Trained volunteers provide assistance by appointment in Pittsboro and Siler City. Call 542-4512 for appointments and locations. Spanish-speaking clients needing assistance should call 742-1448.