Sales and Use Tax

Retail sales of tangible personal property not subject to a reduced rate of tax are subject to the 4.75% general State rate of sales or use tax. The 4.75% general State rate of tax also applies to the rental of accommodations, service contracts to maintain or repair tangible personal property, admission charges to an entertainment activity, charges for cleaning, pressing, hat blocking, and laundering of linens and apparels and certain digital property. The lease or rental of tangible personal property is subject to the applicable percentage rate and the maximum tax, if any that applies to a sale of the property that is leased or rented. Items subject to the 4.75% general State rate are also subject to the 2% (2.25% in Alexander, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Hertford, Lee, Martin, Montgomery, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pitt, Randolph, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Surry, and Wilkes Counties) local sales and use tax rate. Mecklenburg County has an additional 0.50% Transit County tax for public transportation in addition to the 2% local sales and use tax rate. Durham and Orange Counties have an additional 0.50% Transit County tax for public transportation in addition to the 2.25% local sales and use tax rate.

A 3% State rate of sales or use tax applies to retail sales of aircraft and boats with a maximum tax of $1,500 per article. The 4.75% general State rate of sales or use tax applies to retail sales of manufactured homes. The 4.75% general State rate of sales or use tax applies to sales of modular homes. Aircraft, boats, manufactured homes and modular homes are not subject to the local and transit sales and use taxes.

A 2% local rate of sales or use tax applies to retail sales and purchases of qualifying food; the 0.50% Transit County sales and use tax for public transportation and the additional 0.25% local rate in the counties listed above does not apply. Purchases of nonqualifying food are subject to the general rate of State tax and the applicable local tax. For additional information on the taxation of food, refer to Section 19 of the Sales and Use Tax Technical Bulletins.

In those instances where a sales tax has not been paid on taxable items, a use tax at the applicable rate applies on property purchased or received from within or without this State for storage, use, or consumption in this State.

Every person engaged in business in North Carolina is required to register with the Department and collect and remit the tax due on all taxable tangible personal property, taxable services or certain digital property sold or delivered for storage, use, or consumption in North Carolina. Every person who purchases any taxable tangible personal property, taxable services or certain digital property for storage, use, or consumption in North Carolina for business use from out-of-state vendors upon which the tax has not been fully paid must register with the Department and remit the tax due on such purchases. To register for sales and use tax purposes, Registration Application, Form NC-BR, must be completed and mailed to the Department. All registrants will be furnished returns to be used in reporting and remitting all sales and use taxes due.

The tax is to be reported to the Department on the Sales and Use Tax Return, Form E-500. Information about the filing frequency and due date requirements can be found in Filing Frequency and Due Dates. For additional information on sales and use tax, refer to Sales and Use Tax Technical Bulletins.