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%, well under the national average of 1.08%.
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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 or another North Carolina city? 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.
North Carolina’s property tax rates are nonetheless relatively low in comparison to what exists in other states. The average effective property tax rate in North Carolina is 0.86%, which compares rather favorably to the 1.08% national average.
Check out our North Carolina mortgage rates guide for information about purchasing or refinancing properties in the Tar Heel State.
A financial advisor in North Carolina can help you understand how homeownership fits into your overall financial goals. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial plans, including taxes, homeownership, retirement and more, to make sure you are preparing for the future.
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 their home's assessed value by the greater of 50% or $25,000. In 2019, seniors with a total income of $30,200 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, median home value and median annual tax payment for every county in North Carolina.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
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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 1.11%, which ranks as the seventh highest rate in the state.
In Charlotte, the total city and county rate is 0.965% in 2019. A fire service rate of 0.067% and a police district rate of 0.178% applies to unincorporated areas in Charlotte. All of those rates apply to assessed value, which was last calculated in 2019 in Mecklenburg County.
If you have questions about how property taxes can affect your overall financial plans, a financial advisor in Charlotte can help you out.
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 0.88%. In the city of Raleigh, the total rate for 2019 was 0.4382%, which is on top of the county rate of 0.7207%.
Property taxes in Guilford County rank near the top of all counties in North Carolina. The county’s median annual property tax payment is $1,750. Considering the median home value in the county is $160,200, that leads to an effective property tax rate of 1.09% in Guilford.
The fourth most populous county in 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 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, which is eight years. So in this case, 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 fifth highest rate in the state. Based on this, property taxes on a home worth $150,000 would be $1,680 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 1.21%, which comes in as the second highest rate of any North Carolina county.
This western North Carolina County has property tax rates well below the state average. The county’s average effective property tax rate is just 0.70%. 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 15th highest average effective property tax rate in the state at 1.04%. However, that's lower than in nearby Mecklenburg County, where the rate is 1.11%.
New Hanover County
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home value in New Hanover County is $225,600, among the highest in North Carolina. It's no surprise, then, that the county’s median annual property tax payment is $1,609, higher than all but nine counties in the state.
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 0.83%, meaning a homeowner whose home is worth $200,000 would pay about $1,660 annually in property taxes at that rate.
Places Receiving the Most Value for Their Property Taxes
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 value for their property tax dollars. To do this, we looked at property taxes paid, school rankings and the change in property values over a five-year period.
First, 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.
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.
Then, we calculated the change in property tax value in each county over a five-year period. Places where property values rose by the greatest amount indicated where consumers were motivated to buy homes, and a positive return on investment for homeowners in the community.
Finally, we calculated a property tax index, based on the criteria above. Counties with the highest scores were those where property tax dollars are going the furthest.