Business Personal Property Taxation

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What is Personal Property?

According to the North Carolina General Statutes, all property that is not defined or taxed as "real estate" or "real property" is considered to be "personal property." Business personal property is taxable whether it is owned, leased, rented, loaned, or otherwise made available to the business. (See Types of Business Personal Property below).

Who Must File A Business Personal Property Listing?

The completion of a listing is required of all individuals, partnerships, corporations and associations who on January 1 own, control or possess any amount of leasehold improvements or personal property (tangible) used or held for a business purpose. The question of exempt status does not excuse any of the foregoing from this requirement.

Farmers, carpenters and mechanics who own tools and equipment used in a trade or business should list.

Apartment complexes should list furnishings (furniture, blinds, drapes, etc.) and/or major appliances (ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc.). Rented furnishings (landlord only) owners of furnished rental units (house, apartment, condo, mobile home, etc.), should list.

When and Where Does a Business Owner List?

The business personal property listing must be filed on or before January 31 with the Durham County Tax Administration Business Department. Listings can be submitted online or by mail. Listings submitted by mail shall be deemed to be filed as of the date shown on the postmark affixed by the U.S. Postal Service. If no date is shown on the postmark, or if the postmark is not affixed by the U.S. Postal Service (for instance, your own postage meter) the listing shall be deemed to be filed when received in the Durham County Tax Administration Business Department. All late filed listings will be subject to a ten percent (10%) penalty. 

Can A Business Request an Extension?

An extension of time to list may be obtained by sending a written request showing "good cause" to the County Assessor by January 31, or by requesting an extension online.

How Do I Obtain a Business Personal Property Listing Form?

From our Forms and Publications page.



Supplies and Materials

List all supplies and materials which are not consumed in manufacturing or processing or that become a part of the sale of the property being sold. Include spare parts held for equipment maintenance and repair even though they may be carried in an inventory account. Hotels and hospitals should list the supplies that are provided in their room charge.

Inventories, for example, goods held for sale in the regular course of business by manufacturers, retail merchants and contractors are exempt from personal tax. This includes raw materials, goods in process of manufacturing, and finished goods.

Tangible Personal Property

All tangible personal property must be listed as of January 1. Taxpayers with a business year-end other than December 31 must update their records to the January 1 reporting date. Tangible personal property includes, but is not limited to, machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures, drawings, signs, purchased software which is treated as a capital asset, reference libraries, etc. All items must be listed at 100% cost including installation, sales tax, freight and any associated costs.

List unlicensed vehicles and special truck mounted equipment (cranes, wrecker equipment, etc.) attaching a schedule showing the year acquired, cost, description of equipment and license number of vehicle on which installed.

Personal property which you rent or lease to others is not exempt from property taxes. If you own such property, attach a schedule showing lessee’s name and address, a description of the property, the year acquired and the cost. If you manufactured this equipment, you must furnish selling price new, not manufactured cost.

Intangible Personal Property

Intangible Personal Property has been exempted as of January 1, 1997.

Construction In Progress

Report 100% cost of all personal property carried in the CIP account as of January 1. Provide information as to the categories of property carried in this account and a detail of the expenditures for each during the preceding calendar year.

Leasehold Improvements

Report total investment during preceding calendar year in leasehold improvements. Certain improvements are not assessed as real estate but are considered to be personal property. Examples would be security systems, telephone systems, alarm systems, kitchen equipment, millwork, shelving, furnishings attached to real estate, heating and/or air conditioning systems for special purpose areas, coolers, piping (other than normal plumbing), and any other similar items. The real estate valuation includes such items as floor covering, wall covering, ceilings, normal lighting, heating, air conditioning, sprinkler systems, paving, fencing and area lighting.

Vehicles, Boats and Motors, Aircraft, and Mobile Homes

Motor Vehicles registered with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles as of January 1 do not have to be listed, with the exception of Multi-Year or Permanently Registered Trailers, Special Bodies on Vehicles, and International Registration Plan (IRP) Plated Vehicles. You are also required to list boats and motors, aircraft, mobile homes, and vehicles which are not licensed by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Property Owned By Others In Possession of Taxpayer

If on January 1 you have in your possession any business machines, machinery, equipment, furniture, vending equipment, game machines, postage meters or any other equipment which is loaned, leased or otherwise held and not owned by you, a complete description, ownership, year acquired and cost of the property should be reported. This information is for office use only. Assessments will be made to the owner/lessor.

What is the Application for Exemption Process?

Organizations claiming exemption from N.C. personal property tax must file an application for exemption by January 31. Applications for exemption (form AV-12)

What Types of Business Personal Property Are Exempt from Taxation?

N.C.G.S. 105-278.3 Real and personal property used for religious purposes. 
N.C.G.S. 105-278.4 Real and personal property used for educational purposes. 
N.C.G.S. 105-278.5 Real and personal property of religious educational assemblies used for religious and educational purposes. 
N.C.G.S. 105-278.6 Real and personal property used for charitable purposes. 
N.C.G.S. 105-278.7 Real and personal property used for educational, scientific, literary or charitable purposes. 
N.C.G.S. 105-278.8 Real and personal property used for charitable hospital purposes.



Does My Business Need a License to Operate in the County?

Almost all businesses located within the municipal limits of Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Town of Morrisville are required to have a privilege license. In Durham, you may contact the City Revenue Collections Office. In the Town of Chapel Hill, you may contact the Town Revenue Department. Businesses that hold a North Carolina Beer/ Wine License will be required to make application for a license in Durham County. To apply for a Durham County Beer/Wine License.

Where Can I Get Assistance In Completing The Listing Form?

Most questions pertaining to the Business Personal Listing Form can be answered by using the listing form instructions or by calling the Business Personal Property Section at 1-919-560-0300.  Any of the Business Personal Property Appraisers will be glad to answer any questions you have regarding the Business Personal Property Listing Form or will schedule a convenient time for you to meet with them in the office.