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Financial - North Carolina Taxes

Brunswick Forest
Grab your paddle and enjoy an afternoon excursion where the sky and water meld together. When you retire to Brunswick Forest, near Wilmington, times like these happen as often as you like.
Photo Credit: Brunswick Forest

North Carolina, with miles of beaches and beautiful mountains, is one of the best and most attractive states in which to work, live and play. CNBC, Forbes, CEO Magazine and Site Selection Magazine consistently rank the Tar Heel state as one of the best business climates in the nation. Governor Pat McCrory is pushing to make state government work better and more efficiently for businesses and families. One of the ways to do that is by making information about state government user friendly and easily accessible.

So here is some important information to help any new residents or business owners learn about filing and paying taxes in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) provides a wide range of services that helps taxpayers find accurate and timely information about filing their taxes. The department’s convenient electronic services include filing taxes online, registering a new business and even the ability to check on your refund status on a mobile cellular device. All are flexible, safe and secure ways for the citizens of North Carolina to interact with the Department of Revenue.

Each year, electronic filing of taxes becomes increasingly popular. Electronic filing automatically computes figures and calculations, significantly reducing the chance of simple errors that can cause delays in processing. By filing electronically and choosing to have a direct deposit, taxpayers typically receive individual income tax refunds sooner than those who file traditional paper returns.

Checking the status of your North Carolina refund is easy and fast using the “Where’s My Refund” link at Individuals can also pay their taxes, file for extensions and make estimated tax payments online. Many business transactions can also be made through the department’s website.

For those looking for one-on-one assistance, NCDOR operates fully staffed service centers in Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Hickory, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

Taxes that affect most North Carolina residents – and that you want to be aware of – are income, sales and use, and highway use taxes. Here is some helpful information about each one:

Income taxes are due on your taxable earnings each year. The requirements for filing income tax returns in North Carolina are different from filing your federal taxes and are based on your North Carolina standard deduction. For taxable year 2016, every NC resident whose income for the taxable year equals or exceeds the following amounts must file a state return: $7,750 for single taxpayers, $15,500 for those who are married and filing jointly, $7,750 for married taxpayers who file separately, $12,400 for those who file as a head of household and $15,500 for qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child.

Sales taxes are due on purchases of most goods and certain services in North Carolina. The total general state and applicable local and transit rates of sales and use tax is 6.75 percent in most counties. A few counties have a rate of 7, 7.25, or 7.5 percent. To find the rate in your county, visit this site:

Examples of items subject to sales tax are: tangible personal property, certain digital property, rental accommodations, charges for dry cleaning, pressing and laundering linens or apparel, and certain other services. Residents may owe use tax, if they purchase any taxable tangible personal property, services or digital property outside of North Carolina but intend to use the products inside the state, or if they did not pay sales tax on a taxable product at the time of the purchase. Individuals should report use taxes on their income tax returns each year.

For more information:

North Carolina also collects a 3 percent Highway Use Tax on vehicles in lieu of a state sales tax on vehicles. The tax is assessed each time a title is issued unless exempt by statute. Out-of-state residents who move to North Carolina pay the tax according to a value determined by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles and may be subject to a maximum tax of $150.00. If a sales tax or use tax was paid to a taxing jurisdiction outside North Carolina within 90 days of applying for a title here, credit may be allowed. The state’s motor fuels tax is 36.5 cents per gallon.

For more information, visit the Newcomer’s Guide on the Department of Motor Vehicles website at: For more information about the North Carolina Department of Revenue, visit the website at or 877.252.3052.

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