Overview of North Carolina Taxes
North Carolina’s property tax rates are relatively low in comparison to those of other states. The average effective property tax rate in North Carolina is 0.86%, 21st lowest in the U.S.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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North Carolina Property Taxes
Buying a home in Raleigh? Burlington? Charlotte? If so, you’ll want to know what to expect on your annual property tax bill. Property taxes in North Carolina are a key source of revenue for local governments, providing funding for services such as public education and law enforcement. You’ll also want to know what to expect when it comes time to get a mortgage. Check out our North Carolina mortgage rates guide for information about purchasing or refinancing properties in the Tar Heel State.
North Carolina’s property tax rates are nonetheless relatively low in comparison to those of other states. The average effective property tax rate in North Carolina is 0.86%, 21st lowest in the U.S. Below, we will review rates in North Carolina’s counties and go over some key property tax rules that homeowners in North Carolina should know.
Looking to calculate your potential monthly mortgage payment? Check out our mortgage calculator.
How North Carolina Property Taxes Work
North Carolina’s property tax is “ad valorem,” which means that it is based on the value of property. A county assessor determines the value of a property and is required to revalue a property at least once every eight years. The goal of the reappraisal is to determine the current market value of the property.
Since that reappraised value will affect a homeowner’s taxes for as many as eight years, it is important for homeowners to ensure that the value is accurate. An appraisal that is too high can mean nearly a decade of over-taxation.
If you disagree with your revaluation in North Carolina, you can appeal to the local Board of Equalization. It is also common to contact local officials before filing an official appeal to see if the issue can be settled informally.
Barring an appeal, the local tax rate applies to the assessed value determined by the county assessor. Seniors may be eligible for the homestead property tax exemption, which reduces the assessed value by the greater of 50% or $25,000. In 2018, seniors with a total income of $29,600 or less were eligible for this exemption.
North Carolina Property Tax Rates
There is no state property tax in North Carolina, which means tax rates are determined entirely by local governments. Cities and counties can levy their own taxes, and special tax districts in some areas also collect property taxes for services like fire protection.
Since properties are reassessed so rarely in North Carolina, assessed values can differ greatly from actual home values, and it can be difficult to compare rates from one area to the next. For that reason, it is useful to look at effective tax rates.
An effective tax rate is the annual property tax paid as a percentage of total home value. The table below shows the average effective tax rate for every county in North Carolina.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
The most populous county in North Carolina, Mecklenburg County encompasses the city of Charlotte as well as several of its suburbs. The average effective property tax rate in Mecklenburg County is 1.14%, which ranks as the fifth highest rate in the state.
In Charlotte, the total city and county rate is 1.2944% in 2018, plus a fire service rate of 0.08% and municipal service district rates ranging from 0.0168% to 0.0668%. All of those rates apply to assessed value, which was last calculated in 2011 in Mecklenburg County. The next scheduled revaluation is in 2019.
Wake County is located in central North Carolina and encompasses the state capital of Raleigh. In comparison to other major North Carolina counties, the average property tax rates in Wake County are relatively low. The county’s average effective rate is just 0.87%.
In the city of Raleigh, the total rate for 2014 was 1.0403%. That rate applies to assessed value, which was last determined in 2016. The next revaluation in Wake County will be in 2024.
Property taxes in Guilford County rank near the top of all counties in North Carolina. The county’s median annual property tax payment is $1,714. While that is about $400 more than the state median, it is still well below the national median property tax of $2,197.
The fourth most populous North Carolina, Forsyth County has property tax rates somewhat higher than the state average. The average effective property tax rate in Forsyth County is 0.98%, which ranks 21st highest out the state’s 100 counties.
The most recent revaluation in Forsyth County took place in 2017. The county has opted to revalue properties more frequently than the state-minimum eight years. Revaluations typically occur every four years.
Cumberland County is located in eastern North Carolina and contains the city of Fayetteville. The average effective property tax rate of 1.12% in Cumberland County ranks as the seventh highest rate in the state. At that rate, the taxes on a home worth $150,000 would be $1,800 per year.
Homeowners in Durham County pay some of the highest property taxes in the state. The county’s average effective property tax rate is 1.22%, the highest average out of North Carolina’s 100 counties. The total rate in the city of Durham was 1.3465% in 2017, which applies to assessed values last calculated in 2016. The county’s next scheduled revaluation is in 2019, even though the county has previously gone eight years between revaluation.
This western North Carolina County has property tax rates well below the state average. The county’s average effective property tax rate is just 0.71%. The county’s last revaluation was in 2017, but it chooses to hold assessments every four years instead of the state minimum of eight. Thus, the next revaluation will be in 2021.
Gaston County is situated west of Charlotte, along the border with South Carolina. It has the 12th highest average effective property tax rate in the state, at 1.06%. That is lower, however, than in nearby Mecklenburg County, where the rate is 1.14%.
New Hanover County
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home value in New Hanover County is $215,800, among the highest in North Carolina. Even so, the county’s median annual property tax payment is just $246 higher than the state median, at $1,591.
Located to the southeast of Charlotte, Union County has among the lowest property tax rates of any county in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area. The county’s average effective property tax rate is 0.84%. A homeowner whose home is worth $200,000 would pay about $1,680 annually in property taxes at that rate.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
We used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites