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Q: What is "personal property"?
A. In North Carolina, personal property encompasses motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, aircraft and watercraft (including boats, motors, and personal recreational vehicles like wave runners and jet skis, etc.). Personal property tax also applies to equipment, furniture, fixtures and machinery used by businesses.

Q: When are personal property taxes due?
A. Personal property taxes (not including licensed motor vehicles) become due on September 1st of each year. The taxes may be paid until January 5th of the following year without interest or penalty. Personal property taxes are billed and paid annually. (For example: 2008 taxes become due on September 1, 2008 but can be paid without interest on or before January 5, 2009)

Q: What is the assessment ratio for personal property in North Carolina?
A. Except for certain special antique automobiles and airplanes, all personal property is assessed at 100% of its actual value.

Q: What types of antique automobiles and airplanes are not assessed at actual value?
A. Automobiles that are individually owned, have antique license plates, are maintained primarily for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades, and other public interest functions, are assessed their actual value or $500 which ever is less. Antique automobiles that are used for the production of income or are used in conjunction with a business do not qualify for the special assessment.

Airplanes built in 1954 or earlier that are maintained primarily for use in exhibitions, club activities, air shows, and other public interest functions, are assessed their actual value or $5,000 which ever is less. Antique airplanes that are used for the production of income or used in conjunction with a business do not qualify for the special assessment.

Q: I sold the personal property you have billed me for. What do I do with this bill?
A. If you owned the personal property on January 1st of the tax year, you are responsible for the taxes for that entire year. For example, if you owned a boat on January 1, 2008, you are responsible for paying the taxes which become due on September 1, 2008. Personal property is taxed in arrears (except for motor vehicles). If you purchase personal property on or after January 1st, you will not have to pay county taxes on it until the following year. This information does not apply to motor vehicles (see Motor Vehicle Tax FAQ).

Q: Can I appeal the value on my boat or airplane or other personal property?
A. Yes, you have 30 days from the date on your tax notice to file a written appeal with the Tax Department. Appeals must be supported by evidence and mailed, faxed, or taken to the Tax Department.

Q: If I own a business, how are taxes determined on personal property owned by me and/or the business?
A. Owners of businesses using equipment, furniture, fixtures or machinery are required to file an annual personal property tax listing with the Tax Department. (Business Personal Property Listing Form)

Q: When are business-related personal and other property tax listings due?
A. Returns are due by February 15th of each year. However, extensions of time for the listing of personal property can be granted until April 15th if a written request for extension is submitted to the Tax Department on or before February 15th.

Q: What happens if I don't file my personal property tax return on time?
A. A penalty of 10% of the amount of tax due is assessed for each listing period that expires before the property is listed by the owner or is discovered by the Tax Department.

Q: Are all boats & motors taxable?
A. Yes.

Q: Are boat trailers taxable?
A. Yes. Licensed boat trailers are taxed the same as motor vehicles. Unlicensed boat trailers should be listed with the Tax Department by February 15th of each year.

Q: Is property owned by members in active duty military exempt from taxes?
A. If your home of record is not North Carolina, you do not have to pay taxes on most personal property. This exemption does not include personal property used to create income. The exemption covers motor vehicles (including trucks), campers, motor homes, boats and outboard motors, personal recreational watercraft (like wave-runners and jet-skis), aircraft and manufactured homes (occupied by the owner). The property must be titled in the name of the military service member in order to be exempted. If there is a non military co-owner (other than spouse) then the property is taxable. In order for a manufactured home to qualify, it must be the service member's primary residence. To obtain the exemption, the service member can submit their latest Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) or other proof showing their home state of record to the Tax Department. The documents can be submitted by mail, fax, or in person. The exemption is valid until the expiration date on the LES or the service member becomes a legal resident of North Carolina.