Durham County Tax Administration wants to help ensure that all property owners are aware of property tax relief programs that may benefit them.
For homeowners, there are three major “homestead” programs, and the details on each program are provided below. The application deadline for the homestead tax relief programs is June 1. Please contact our office at 919-560-0300 for assistance in completing the application, or for questions or further information about these programs.
Elderly/Disabled Homestead Exemption
This program is for North Carolina residents who meet the income qualification described below and, on January 1, 2020, were either 65 years of age or older, or totally and permanently disabled, regardless of age. Property owners filing as disabled must provide a certification of total & permanent disability from a physician licensed to practice in North Carolina. There is a one-time application required to enroll in this program.
In addition to the age/disability requirement, the 2019 income of the homeowner (including both incomes if married and living together) must not exceed $31,000.
“Income” is defined by statute as “all moneys received from every source” other than gifts or inheritances from certain family members. Income includes money received from social security, disability, retirement, interest, dividends, rental or business income, wages, etc.
For those who qualify, this program excludes from taxes the greater of $25,000 or 50% of the assessed value of the owner’s permanent residence, including up to 1 acre of land. Manufactured homes may qualify regardless of whether the structure is listed as personal property or real property.
Circuit Breaker -- Elderly/Disabled Deferment Program
This program limits the amount of annual property taxes the owner pays on their permanent residence. The tax bill is limited to a fixed percentage of income, and any taxes owed above that limit will be deferred until a “disqualifying event.” This program requires a new application to be filed every year.
Examples of a “disqualifying event” include the death of the property owner; the transfer of the property; or the owner moving to a different permanent residence. Deferred taxes that become due must be repaid with interest, but only the most current 3 years of deferred taxes must be paid at the time of a disqualifying event.
The Circuit Breaker program has the same age/disability requirements as the Homestead Exemption, and “income” is defined the same way. For this program, there is an additional requirement—the owner must have both owned the property, and lived in it as their permanent residence, for at least five years.
Qualifying owners whose 2019 income was $31,000 or less will pay no more than 4% of their income in property taxes. If the 2019 income was more than $31,000 but not more than $46,500, the owner will pay no more than 5% of their income in property taxes.
Disabled Veteran Exclusion
This program excludes up to the first $45,000 of the appraised value of the permanent residence of a disabled veteran. A disabled veteran is defined as a veteran whose character of service at separation was honorable or under honorable conditions, and who has a total and permanent service-connected disability or who received benefits for specially adapted housing under 38 U.S.C. 2101. There is no age or income limitation for this program, but part of the application must be completed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This benefit is also available to a surviving spouse (who has not remarried) of either (1) a disabled veteran as defined above, (2) a veteran who died as a result of a service-connected condition whose character of service at separation was honorable or under honorable conditions, or (3) a service member who died from a service-connected condition in the line of duty.
Property Tax Relief Applications