Property taxes in North Carolina are assessed locally by the counties. According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue, all counties are required to do a reappraisal of property values at least every eight years, but a growing number of counties do reappraisals every four years. The property tax rate for each county is set by the county commissioners. You can find a list of property tax rates by county and municipality on the North Carolina Department of Revenue website. There is property tax relief available in North Carolina through the homestead exclusion and circuit breaker program for elderly or disabled homeowners, and the exclusion for disabled veterans and surviving spouses.
North Carolina residents who are age 65 or older, or permanently disabled can claim a homestead exclusion of $25,000 or 50% of the assessed value of their home, whichever is greater. This exclusion is for the home you own and occupy as your permanent legal residence.
To qualify for the homestead exclusion, your total household income cannot be more than a certain amount ($27,100 for 2009). Income for purposes of qualifying for the homestead exclusion includes all taxable and tax exempt income, including social security and other types of retirement income and includes the income of both spouses if you are married.
The property tax homestead circuit breaker limits property taxes to a percentage of your income and defers the taxes in excess of that limit. To qualify for the circuit breaker deferment, you must be age 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled, and must have owned and occupied the home as your permanent residence for the past five years.
The circuit breaker deferment is available to homeowners with gross household income up to a certain limit ($40,650 for 2009). Property taxes are limited to 4% or 5% of income, depending on the level of income. The deferred portion of the taxes plus interest must be paid when the homeowner dies, the property is sold or title is transferred, or the owner no longer occupies the property as his or her permanent residence.
Disabled veterans’ exclusion
Veterans who have a total and permanent service-connected disability can claim a $45,000 property tax exclusion in North Carolina. Surviving spouses who have not remarried also qualify for this exclusion. There are no age or income requirements for this exclusion.
How to claim property tax relief
To claim the homestead elderly or disabled exclusion, the disabled veteran’s exclusion, or the circuit breaker deferment, you should apply at your local county tax assessor’s office by June 1st. You can find the county tax assessors’ addresses, phone numbers, emails, and websites, if applicable, under Property Tax: Counties on the North Carolina Department of Revenue website.
You will need to complete Form AV-9 – Application for Property Tax Relief and provide a copy of your federal income tax return and other documentation as required. If you qualify as disabled, you need to complete Form AV-9A – Certification of Disability. If you qualify for the disabled veteran’s exclusion, you should file Form NCDVA-9 – Certification for Disabled Veteran’s Property Tax Exclusion. Once you qualify for the homestead exclusion for the elderly or disabled or the disabled veteran’s exclusion, you do not need to reapply each year, unless you change your permanent residence or no longer meet the requirements for the exclusion. But you have to reapply for the circuit breaker deferment each year.
A Brief Summary of 2010 Tax Relief Legislation – Cumberland County, North Carolina
Form AV-9 – Application for Property Tax Relief – North Carolina Department of Revenue
Form AV-9A – Certification of Disability – North Carolina Department of Revenue
Form NCDVA-9 – Certification for Disabled Veteran’s Property Tax Exclusion – North Carolina Department of Revenue
North Carolina’s Property Tax System – North Carolina Department of Revenue
Property Tax: Counties – North Carolina Department of Revenue
Property Tax Rates – North Carolina Department of Revenue