North Carolina General Statutes allow for certain types of property to be exempt from taxation if they meet the requirements specified by the statutes. Any owner claiming this relief, with the exception of the U.S. Government, the State of North Carolina, and the counties and municipalities of the State, must file an application for exemption.

To request an application for exemption, please call our office at 919-856-5400. The completed application must be filed with the Revenue Department during the regular listing period, which is from January 1 through January 31 each year. Late applications may be considered for good cause through the last day of the calendar year in which the tax is levied. A late application for exemption received after the calendar year ends will not be accepted and cannot be considered for approval or denial for any reason or circumstance.

Determination of good cause is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all pertinent facts and circumstances. Upon a showing of verifiable good cause by the applicant, an application for exemption or exclusion filed after the due date may be considered by the board of county commissioners.

Examples of good cause may include:
    • Physical or mental illness, infirmity or disability that would reasonably affect the taxpayer’s ability to apply timely
    • Death of the taxpayer or an immediate family member
    • Active duty military deployment
Taxpayer neglect, oversight or lack of awareness regarding due dates will not constitute good cause for a late exemption or exclusion application. The burden of proving both verifiable good cause for the late application and eligibility for the requested exemption or exclusion lies with the taxpayer.

Examples of property exempt from taxation are:

  • Real and personal property used for religious purposes (NCGS 105-278.3)
  • Real and personal property used for educational purposes (NCGS 105-278.4)
  • Real and personal property of religious educational assemblies used for religious and educational purposes (NCGS 105-278.4)
  • Real and personal property used for charitable purposes (NCGS 105-278.6)
  • Real and personal property used for educational, scientific, literary or charitable purposes (NCGS 105-278.7)
  • Real and personal property used for charitable hospital purposes (NCGS 105-278.8)
  • Certain real property held for sale by a builder (NCGS 105-277.02)

Military Exemption
Military service members, who are currently on active duty in North Carolina with a home of record in another state, may not be subject to personal property and registered motor vehicle taxes in North Carolina.

For an exemption of taxes on personal property such as mobile homes, boats, and unlicensed vehicles, return the tax bill to the county tax office along with a copy of the Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) that was issued closest to the January 1 prior to the date of the tax bill.
To qualify for an exemption of motor vehicle taxes, remit a copy of your Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) to the county tax office. The statement should be for the month and year in which you register the vehicle and must include your Estimated Time of Separation (ETS) date and a home of record other than North Carolina. Please note that the active duty service member's name must appear on the title of the vehicle. The military exemption cannot be applied to leased vehicles.

Military spouses may also qualify for exemption if their home of record is the same as the service member’s. In addition to providing a copy of the LES as described above, spouses must provide a copy of their military I.D. card and a copy of their out of state driver’s license, voter registration card or most current state tax return. 

Disabled Veteran Exemption
A motor vehicle owned by a disabled veteran may be exempt from taxation if the following criteria are met:

  • The vehicle is altered with special equipment to accommodate a service-connected disability
  • The alteration was completed at the expense of the U.S. Government through a grant under Title 38

A disabled veteran may also qualify for a tax relief exclusion on their primary residence. Please view the Tax Relief Programs portion of this website for additional information.