Property Tax Questions and Answers

Property tax questions and answers. No matter where you live, if you own property then you are going to pay some type of property tax. Carteret County and the cities and municipalities of the Crystal Coast are no different than anywhere else. Depending on where you live you may have taxes that include not only county tax but city, fire, rescue, solid waste, water, beachfront and others.

Have you ever wondered how the value of your property is determined by Carteret County? Who does the assessment and how often is it down? Do you have to accept the assessment or can you appeal it? And since we’re talking about taxes, how are tax rates determined and what is the relationship between property values and the amount of monies the county can collect?

The Carteret County Tax office has put together a list of the most frequent questions their office receives about property tax and taxation. They’ve answered these questions in a clear and concise fashion. Also included here are the tax rates for various towns and cities for 2012-2013

property tax crystal coastProperty Tax: When are my taxes due and when does interest begin?

The property tax is due and payable September 1st of the current year. On January 6th, taxes are considered delinquent and accrue interest at a rate of 2% for the month of January, plus 3/4 % each month thereafter. For payments which are mailed, interest and penalties are determined by the date of the U.S. Postal postmark; postal meter dates are not accepted.

Property Tax: My mortgage company should pay this bill.

Why am I getting this bill and is there anything I am required to do?
Real Estate bills are not sent to mortgage companies. It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to notify the mortgage companies.

Property Tax Rates for Carteret County




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For a complete list of all property tax rates including solid waste, fire districts, rescue districts, water, ocean front and NON-OCEAN FRONT click PROPERTY TAX RATES. This will take you to a pdf file produced by the Carteret County Tax office.

Property Tax: Property Transfers
Real estate taxes are generally the legal obligation of the owner of record as of January 1st. However, in the case of a transfer of ownership, North Carolina Session Law now transfers the liability for unpaid taxes to the owner as of the date the taxes become past due.

This means if the taxes are unpaid as of January 6th, the owner as of that date is now liable and responsible for the payment of the taxes. Ordinarily, taxes are prorated at the time of the transfer of ownership. To determine if your taxes were prorated at the time of closing, please contact your realtor or closing attorney. The best way to make sure there are no surprises regarding unpaid taxes is to request that the taxes are paid upon the closing of the transaction. If current year taxes are not yet due, we will accept prepayments based on the previous year’s rate.

Property Tax: The value of my home appears to have declined over the past several months. Why does my assessed value remain unchanged?
Per North Carolina General Statutes, changes in the market due to general economic conditions (up or down) occurring since the last revaluation date (January 1, 2011) cannot be considered until the next revaluation which is scheduled in Carteret County for January 1, 2015.

Property Tax: When can I appeal my current assessment?
You may appeal your assessment prior to the adjournment of the Board of Equalization and Review. Please contact the Carteret County Tax Administrator’s Office at 252-728-8494 to schedule an informal appeal prior to March 1st. Appeals registered after March 1st may need to be heard formally by the Board of Equalization and Review.

Property Tax: My house or outbuilding has been damaged or removed since January 1st of the current year. Will I still owe property taxes on these improvements?
Yes. Per North Carolina General Statutes the value of a parcel is based on the state of the property as of January 1st of the current year. We strive to have current data for your property so please take the time to contact our office at 252-728-8494 to let us know if any buildings or improvements have been torn down, damaged, moved, or added since your last tax bill.


The County Assessor is the official responsible for listing and assessing all real estate and personal property for ad valorem taxation. In the words of the North Carolina Machinery Act, (property tax laws) this official’s duty is to “have general charge of the listing, appraisal, and assessment of all property in the county in accordance with the provisions of law.” To this end, the statute provides that the assessor “shall have and may exercise all powers reasonably necessary in the performance of his duties not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of this State.”


The Assessor evaluates all property subject to taxation. The Assessor is required by North Carolina law to list, appraise and assess all property within the county at 100%of market value. In addition to the over 55,000 parcels of real property (land, homes, commercial buildings), the Assessor must value business personal property of approximately 7,000 businesses, ranging from multi-million dollar enterprises to one person operations. There are over 4,000 manufactured homes, over 77 aircraft and over 6,000 watercraft s and any other personal property which is taxable. There are over 6,500 motor vehicles which are billed monthly. The Assessor’s Office creates over 150,000 tax notices annually.


The Assessor does not make the laws, which affect property owners. The North Carolina Legislature makes the tax laws. The Carteret County Board of Commissioners, and the governing bodies of the cities determine their budgetary needs and set their own tax rates to meet that budget obligation. The Assessor determines what the property is worth, based on market value. The Assessor does not determine taxes.


In North Carolina Taxable value is Market value. The Assessor must use the methods prescribed by North Carolina General Statute. 105.283 Uniform Appraisal Standards.

…..”All property, real and personal, shall as far as practicable be appraised or valued in money. When used in this Subchapter, the words “true value” shall be interpreted as meaning market value, that is, the price estimated in terms of money at which property would change hands between a willing and financially able buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used. For the purposes of this section, the acquisition of an interest in land by an entity having power of eminent domain with respect to the interest acquired shall not be considered competent evidence of the true value in money of comparable land.”…


Property value changes over time and must be adjusted periodically to maintain balance and equity. To ensure that balance and equity are maintained, North Carolina requires real property be reappraised on a cycle that maintains an acceptable Sales Ratio of 10% or less, ( the percentage of the difference between the average sales price and its assessed value) and that the cycle does not exceed eight years.

Real Estate values shall reflect the market value of properties at the time of the last reappraisal. Real property values usually increase over time: however, not all properties increase at the same rate and some property values may decrease. Due to these changes, a reappraisal process is necessary to reflect market value and maintain equity and balance. Because there is such a volatile real estate market, reappraisal for Carteret County is done every four years.


In Carteret County there are currently 31 tax districts, including General County. The tax rates for these districts are based on the amount of monies budgeted to them for the necessary maintenance and improvements of their facilities and services. The tax monies collected for the districts pay for schools, police and fire protection and other services that taxpayers demand require from local government. These tax rates vary depending on the type of services provided to any designated area.

You may reach the Carteret County Tax Office at the following:

Carteret County Assessor’s Office 302 Courthouse Square Beaufort, N.C. 28516 Telephone: 252-728-8485 Fax: 252-728-8588

Contact Margaret Hitchcock of Hitchcock Realty with any real estate related question you may have. Margaret is an experienced Realtor that understands the complexities of the area. Whether you are looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in a quiet subdivision close to good schools in Beaufort, a beachfront condo in Atlantic Beach, vacant land in Newport or a waterfront house with boat dock and marina in Morehead City, she knows what needs to be down for you to successfully close on that property. Call  Margaret Hitchcock at (252) 269-2893.

Carteret County News Times

Carteret County Tax Office

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