Tax Department FAQ
What Is Taxable Property?
Personal property includes motor vehicles, boats, campers, trailers, single wide mobile homes and airplanes. Anyone who owns any of these items on January 1, (excluding licensed motor vehicles) must list them with the Tax Department during the month of January each year. A 10% late listing penalty will be charged for anyone not listing their required property with the Tax Department before the January 31st deadline. If January 31st falls on a weekend the next business day will be the deadline.
Licensed Motor Vehicles
Licensed motor vehicles and trailers are listed automatically when you first register or renew your motor vehicle or trailer registration through the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Each month the DMV sends to each county tax office a list of every person in their county who has registered a motor vehicle or a trailer. A licensed trailer includes any trailer that requires a registration, such as boat trailers, animal trailers, utility trailers, camping trailers and motor homes. Taxpayers receive a separate tax bill for each licensed motor vehicle or trailer which is due the 4th month following registration.
Business Personal Property
Business personal property includes machinery, computer/office equipment, airplanes, unlicensed vehicles, leasehold improvements, leased equipment, supplies, furniture, fixtures, farm equipment, etc. which are used for a business. Listings must be submitted during the month of January to avoid a 10% late listing penalty. However, an extension can be granted until March 15, if the request is made in writing and is postmarked or hand delivered to the Tax Department by January 31st or if January 31st falls on a weekend the first business day following the 31st. Business property statements are mailed to all business' who listed the previous year or for anyone who has requested a listing form. If you have business personal property, and do not receive a listing form, please call the Tax Department at (910) 296-2110 and request a form be mailed to you.
Real property includes any structures or improvements on the land including doublewide mobile homes. You do not have to list the real property each year only improvements made to the property. Real Property is permanently listed in Duplin County. Any improvements must be listed during the regular listing period also, which is the month of January. If you have made improvements to your property and did not receive an abstract, a form can be requested by calling (910) 296-2110 or you can write to the Tax Administrator's office and ask us to list for you. This letter must include your name and mailing address, the address of the property, the type of improvement made and the percentage of work completed as of January 1. Someone from the tax office will visit your property and identify improvements which have been made. That information will be entered into the tax data base to calculate a value using the adopted schedule of values in effect for the most recent revaluation. Our last revaluation was effective January 1, 2009. Anytime there is a change in your value, you will be notified in writing. If you do not agree with this value, you should contact the Tax Department at (910) 296-2110 and they will arrange for you to discuss your value with an appraiser.
How is Property Valued?
Personal property and real property are valued by using different methods. Personal property such as single wide mobile homes, campers, boats and trailers are valued according to size, model and year. We use pricing guides to give us a fair market value of this property as of January 1st each year. These properties must be listed each January by the owner.
Motor vehicles are valued by year, make and model in accordance with the "NC Vehicle Valuation Manual" used by all 100 Counties in North Carolina. Vehicle value is assigned as of January 1st preceding the month in which the tax bill is due. For example, if you receive a vehicle tax bill due in October, 2004, the value placed on the vehicle is the market value as of January 1st, 2005.
Business Personal Property
Business personal property such as computer/office equipment, machinery, farm equipment etc. is valued on a cost basis using "Trending Schedules" developed by the NC Department of Revenue. Trending schedules depict replacement cost new less depreciation.
Every 8 years, the Duplin County Tax Department completes a reappraisal of all real property in the county. This process is called "Revaluation" or the short term is "Reval". The purpose of a reval is to comply with North Carolina General Statutes which require property to be valued, or appraised, at its current market value at least every eight years and to insure all taxpayers are taxed fairly and equitably. Values are placed on real property using either one or a combination of the following appraisal approaches:
The sales comparison or market approach. This approach compares the selling prices of similar properties and places a value on those properties based on actual selling prices close to the date of the last revaluation. This approach is the most accurate when there are a number of sales occurring and must have occurred at the time of or before revaluation.
Cost approach. Values are determined on what it would cost to replace a similar property at current building costs minus depreciation based on a variety of factors and the age of the property. This approach is best used for unique properties or newer construction.
Income approach. This approach is used primarily on income producing properties such as apartment buildings or business offices. Revenues are analyzed to determine a net operating income. This income is then capitalized to determine a value for the property.
Revaluation - What Is It And Why Have It?
Revaluation is a systematic, in depth process using a Computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system to reappraise or reassess all real property in the county to the current market value. (Appraised value and assessed value can be used interchangeably in North Carolina because property is required to be assessed at 100% of its appraised value.) The real estate market is one of constant change caused by the freedom we have to buy and sell property. This change can vary greatly depending on a property's size, type and location. This can create an inequitable situation in the level of assessment among owners of property and inequity among differing types of property.
The longer this situation exists, the more unjust it becomes. The end result is an unfair tax burden on those properties which have an assessed value close to the actual market value compared to those properties whose assessed value is well below market value. The relationship between assessed, or tax value, and market value is called the sales/assessment ratio.
What if I Disagree with my value?
Of course, no matter how thorough and fair a revaluation may be, there are still instances when only the property owner has all the information necessary for an accurate appraisal. That is why there is a relatively easy appeal process. First, complete the appeal form received with the revaluation notice and return it to the Appraisal Office. The appraiser responsible for your area will discuss your concerns after reviewing the back-up used during the revaluation of your property. The appraiser will make any corrections that are appropriate based on the review or make no changes. You have the right to appeal that decision, in writing, to the Appraisal Supervisor, who will review the file and respond to you with the results of that review.
If you are still dissatisfied with your property values, the next step is to appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission in Raleigh. Very rarely is this step required. From the Property Tax Commission, you may appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and finally to the North Carolina supreme Court. Again, these appeals are very rare since every effort is made by the Tax department to resolve our issue locally among people who are most familiar with property values in Duplin County.
Are There Any Exemptions or Special Programs?
Yes, under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for reduced taxes if you meet the requirements specified in the North Carolina General Statutes. A brief description and the basic requirements are described under this section.
INFORMATION CONCERNING PROPERTY TAX HOMESTEAD EXCLUSION FOR ELDERLY OR DISABLED AND HONORABLY DISCHAGRED DISABLED VETERAN; AND CIRCUIT BREAKER DEFERMENT
General Statute 105-277.1 Property Tax Homestead Exclusion For Elderly Or Disabled Persons:
North Carolina excludes from property taxes a portion of the appraised value of a permanent residence owned and occupied by North Carolina residents who are at least 65 years of age or are totally and permanently disabled, and whose income does not exceed $28,100. The amount of the appraised value of the residence that may be excluded from taxation is the greater of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or fifty percent (50%) of the appraised value of the residence. Income means all monies received from every source other than gifts or inheritances received from a spouse, lineal ancestor, or lineal descendant.
If you received this exclusion last year, you do not need to apply again unless you have changed your permanent residence. You must, however, sign the front of your listing form each January verifying that your total income does not exceed the amount set by the state. If you received the exclusion last year but the property no longer qualifies for any reason, please notify the assessor. Failure to notify the assessor that the property no longer qualifies for the exclusion may cause the property to be subject to discovery with penalties and interest pursuant to G.S. 105-312.
General Statute 105-277.1B Property Tax Homestead Circuit Breaker Deferment:
North Carolina defers a portion of the property taxes on the appraised value of a permanent residence owned and occupied by a North Carolina resident who has owned and occupied the property for at least five years, is at least 65 years of age or is totally and permanently disabled, and whose income does not exceed $42,150. If the owner’s income is $28,100 or less, then the portion of property taxes imposed on the residence that exceeds 4% of the owner’s income may be deferred. If the owner’s income is more than $28,100 but less than or equal to $42,150, then the portion of the property taxes on the residence that exceeds 5% of the owner’s income may be deferred.
The deferred taxes become a lien on the residence and the most recent three years of deferred taxes preceding a disqualifying event become due with interest upon one of the following disqualifying events: 1) the owner transfers the residence; 2) the owner dies; or 3) the owner ceases to use the property as a permanent residence. Multiple owners of a permanent residence must all qualify for the circuit breaker before a deferment of taxes will be allowed.
You must apply for the opportunity to defer property taxes each and every year that you wish to defer taxes. The application may be obtained from the county tax department and it must be filed with the county assessor by June 1.
General Statute 105-277.1C Disabled Veteran Property Tax Homestead Exclusion:
North Carolina defers a portion of the appraised value of a permanent residence owned and occupied by North Carolina resident who is an honorably discharged disabled veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse of an honorably discharged disabled veteran. The first $45,000 of appraised value of the residence is excluded from taxation. Please contact your local Veterans Service Office (Laura Drakeford) at 910-296-2114 to obtain the proper information to apply.
Note: An owner who qualifies for both the property tax homestead exclusion and the property tax homestead circuit breaker may elect to take only one of these forms of property tax relief.
Please contact the tax office if you have any questions concerning the Homestead Exclusion or Deferment. Please contact your local Veterans Services Office for questions concerning the Disabled Veterans Exclusion.
Anyone who meets these requirements can request an exclusion form by calling 296-2110. Applications should be filed prior to June 1 to insure the exclusion is granted for the current tax year.
North Carolina General Statutes allow for certain types of property to be exempt from property taxes if they meet the requirements specified by the statutes. Some types of exempt property may include but are not limited to the following:
To apply for an exemption, an application must be filed with the Tax Administrator during the regular listing period, which is the month of January. To receive an application or learn more about exempt property, please call 296-2110.
Land Use Programs
The North Carolina General Assembly enacted the "Land Use Program," which allows reduced tax values for individually owned property used for agriculture, horticulture or forestry. Basic eligibility requirements follow:
Agriculture: Agricultural land consisting of one or more tracts, one of which consists of at least 10 acres that is in actual agricultural production and that, for the 3 years preceding January 1 of the year for which the benefit is claimed, has produced an average gross income of at least $1000. Horticulture: Land consisting of one or more tracts, one of which consists of at least five acres that is in actual production and that, for the three years preceding January of the year the benefit is claimed, has either produced an average gross income of $1,000 or been used to produce evergreens intended for use as Christmas trees and meet gross income requirements. Forestry: Forestland consisting of one or more tracts, one of which consists of at least 20 acres that is in actual production and are not included in a farm unit. A forestry management plan is required. To apply for the Land Use Program, or learn more about eligibility requirements, contact our office at (910) 296-2110.
Tax Rates - How Are Taxes Determined?
The responsibility of the Tax Department is to value all taxable property in the county. The total value of all the property in the county is called the tax base. Each county agency and/or department submits an annual operating budget to the county budget committee . This information is forwarded to the County Manager who submits a recommended total budget to the County Commissioners for their consideration. The Board of Commissioners along with the budget committee and the County Manager review the budget and the tax base to determine a recommended tax rate. This is also done to establish a fire district tax. Of course, this process is not as simple as it sounds, many hours are spent analyzing the departmental budgets, county programs, and outside agencies to arrive at a budget that will provide services to the citizens of Duplin County.
Each municipality completes a similar process. The whole process is usually completed by the end of June and the county commissioners and town boards establish new tax rates by July 1. Once the tax rates are established, taxpayers receive a consolidated tax bill, usually in August, which includes their county and fire district tax if their taxable property is only within the county boundaries, or their county and municipality taxes.
When is the Annual Required Listing Period?
The month of January is the annual required listing period. Anyone who does not list their taxable personal property (see section "What is Taxable Property") by January 31st will be charged a 10% late list fee. January 1 is the established date for determining property value and ownership. Everyone pays property taxes for the whole year based on what they own on January 1, with the exception of motor vehicles and trailers registered with the NC Department of Motor Vehicles which are prorated when sold, taxes are not prorated or exempt because you relocate within North Carolina or dispose of the property anytime after January 1. The full amount of tax is due for the entire year based on ownership and property value as of January 1 of the current year. But, you only list in one county each year. If you move to another county in North Carolina after January 1, you will not file a "Property Tax Listing" form in that county until the following year.
When will I receive a bill?
Motor vehicle bills are mailed approximately three months after the license plate has been issued or renewed.
My value is too high, how do I appeal?
All vehicle values must be appealed informally in writing within 30 days of the date of the notice. Grounds for appeal would be, but are not limited to, excessive damage or poor condition or excessive mileage. Proof must be submitted to prove the condition of the vehicle as of January 1.
I dont own this vehicle any longer. Why did I get a bill?
You are billed for the vehicle you owned on the date of registration. If you have purchased a new vehicle and transferred your tags from the old vehicle to the new one, then the tax on the old vehicle would be due in full. You would not receive a tax bill on the new vehicle until you renew your registration on the old tag which is now registered to the new vehicle. However, if you sold your vehicle AND turned in the tag to the NC DMV, you should send a copy of the receipt from DMV and proof that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle to the Tax Department within the calendar year in order to qualify for a release or refund. This release or refund would be based on the number of full months remaining valid on the license plate.
DMV has blocked my registration renewal. What should I do?
If your vehicle taxes become delinquent our office will notify the DMV and a block on your registration will be issued. You will not be able to renew your registration until the bill is paid in full. Once the bill is satisfied, our office will issue you a receipt which must be taken to the DMV office when your registration is renewed. DMV will then release the block and you will then be allowed to renew your registration.
When will I receive a bill?
Tax notices (bills) are mailed in July each year and are due on September 1st but payable until January 5th (the next business day if the 5th falls on a weekend) to avoid legal action. Partial payments are accepted prior to the delinquent date. Interest begins January 6th at a rate of 2% and increases by 3/4% each month thereafter. Delinquent taxes are subject to immediate garnishment, foreclosure, or seizure of property. Unpaid taxes are advertised during the month of March.
What if I buy/sell property during the year?
The owner of personal property (see explanation above) as of January 1st of the current tax year is responsible for taxes for the entire year. Real estate taxes are not pro rated either but are usually handled between the buyer and seller at the time of closing. You should refer to your closing statement to see if provisions for property taxes were made at that time. Most attorneys pro rate the taxes on real estate on a calendar year basis and depending on the time of year the closing is processed determines whether the taxes are paid to the tax department directly or if the seller pays the buyer their portion of the taxes and then the buyer is responsible for payment of the entire tax bill to the tax office. The tax bill is sent to the owner of record when the bills are processed. The January 1st owner's name will appear on the tax bill but it will be sent to the new owner if there is a change in ownership. The reason for sending the new owner the bill is if these taxes are not paid, a lien is placed on the property and any action as described above will be taken against the current owner.
PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS
Where can I pay my taxes?
The most convenient way to pay your taxes is by mail. However, you may also pay your bills in person in our Collections Office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, over the phone by calling (910) 296-2112 or online by visiting our payments website.
Do you accept debit or credit card payments?
We do accept payments in the tax collection office or by phone with a credit or debit card (VISA or Master Card). You can pay property or motor vehicle taxes in the office or by phone.
We also accept payments by credit card using our online tax payment system. You can only pay for property taxes online and there is a convenience fee for this service.