Posts Tagged ‘property tax’

How to Deal with Heir Property

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Few things cause more headaches for property tax offices than heir property.  When a taxpayer dies owning real property, listing, exemption eligibility, billing, and enforced collection questions suddenly become very difficult to resolve. The traditional approach to resolving these questions is for the tax office to wait until a court administers the dead taxpayer’s estate […]

New Rules for Small Overpayments of Property Taxes

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

After posts on the new builders’ inventory exclusion (here and here) and on new rules for the waiver of interest on old motor vehicle taxes, one final new property tax law deserves its own blog post.  S.L. 2015-266 creates new procedures for resolving small overpayments. In a nutshell, the new law permits a local government […]

“Good Cause” and Late Property Tax Exemption Applications

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The Machinery Act rarely gives local governments much discretion. Most often our property tax statutes proscribe exactly what should happen in a given situation. There are a few tax collection situations in which local governments have flexibility, however.  Consider the unfettered authority of tax collectors to waive the 10% penalty for bad checks (G.S. 105-358) or the […]

New Exclusions for Residential and Commercial Real Property Improvements

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

In my last post I discussed S.L. 2015-204, which creates new authority for counties to waive interest on old registered motor vehicle taxes.  Today I analyze the second major property tax law passed this session, S.L. 2015-223, which is much more likely than S.L. 2015-204 to have a substantial impact on local government finances. S.L. […]

The Tax Foreclosure Decision

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Tax collectors are obligated to “use all lawful means” to collect their local governments’ property taxes. G.S. 105-350(1).  This provision implicitly obligates local governments to use the foreclosure remedy when available and necessary. Despite this legal obligation some local governments remain hesitant to use foreclosure. They might be worried about the administrative and financial aspects of […]

Property Tax Foreclosures: Attorneys’ Fees and Interest

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Foreclosure is a powerful collection remedy of last resort for property taxes that are a lien on real property.  Because property tax liens generally have super-priority, local governments almost always get paid first from the proceeds of a foreclosure sale. That preferred priority for tax liens also means the mere threat of a foreclosure action […]

Boards of Equalization and Review, Part II

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

I hope you were able to join us for our recent board of equalization and review webinar that featured input from experts at the Department of Revenue and local tax offices across the state.  Counties that did not have the chance to convene their boards for the live webinar are strongly encouraged to watch the on-demand version […]

Tribal Casinos and Property Taxes

Friday, January 30th, 2015

UPDATE:  S.L. 2015-262 now excludes  from local property taxes all property sited on land held in trust for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, effective for the 2016 tax year and beyond. Gambling is a big business in North Carolina, and it’s about to get bigger.   With more than 1,100 hotel rooms, 3,800 slot machines, […]

January 6, Record Ownership, and Delinquent Property Taxes

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Many children and more than a few adults are counting the days and hours until Santa arrives next week.  But taxpayers who’ve yet to pay their 2014 property tax bills should be counting the days and hours until January 6, 2015, the date on which those taxes become delinquent. In a previous post I described the basic issues […]

Property Taxes and New Year’s Day

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

New Year’s Day is best known for hangovers and college football bowl games. But among North Carolina property tax professionals, January 1 means even more than the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (yes, that’s an actual game.) January 1 is listing day, the date on which we take a virtual snapshot of a property’s ownership, value, […]

Property Tax Exemptions and Economic Development

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

North Carolina property tax law, nicknamed the Machinery Act, contains over 60 full or partial exemptions for property as diverse as free drug samples, uranium 233, and Loyal Order of the Moose clubhouses. A number of these exemptions are aimed at property that might be part of a local government’s community economic development plans. This […]

Grading North Carolina’s Property Tax System

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Grade inflation may be rampant in higher education (everybody gets an A at Harvard?) but not at the Council on State Taxation.  Known as “COST,” this trade organization/lobbying group represents businesses concerned about state tax issues.  It recently issued a report card on property tax systems across the US, and its grades are pretty harsh. […]

Property Taxes and Non-Profits

Friday, September 19th, 2014

The tax status of real and personal property owned or used by charitable non-profit organizations can get complicated when there are multiple private and public entities involved with the property.  Is property exempt if it is owned by a non-profit organization and leased to other non-profits? What if it is leased to a mixture of non- […]

New Property Tax Deferral Aimed at Economic Development Properties

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

[UPDATE:  S.L. 2014-39 amended the site infrastructure deferral by eliminating the requriement that the property have previously been participating in the present use value deferral program for farmland and by changing the deferral calculation.  The updated post below reflects these changes.] This past year witnessed several milestones for deferred property taxes.  We celebrated the 40th birthday of […]

Court of Appeals Attempts to Clarify “Immaterial Irregularity” Provision

Friday, March 28th, 2014

I often describe GS 105-394 as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card for local tax officials because the provision excuses mistakes in the administration of property taxes. In other words, taxes are not waived just because the tax office messed up.  I wrote about this statute extensively here. While the provision can be extremely useful, its scope is murky […]

Budgeting Under “Tag & Tax Together”

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

It’s almost budget time again for local governments across North Carolina, and tax collectors need to be involved.  Collectors have the responsibility of estimating the property tax collection rate for the current fiscal year (2013-2014), which is the maximum collection rate a local government may use when budgeting property tax revenues for the coming fiscal year […]

May Counties Charge Cities for Distributing RMV Taxes?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Have you paid your “Tag and Tax Together” yet? If you haven’t, you soon will. As of September 1, 2013, everyone who registers a motor vehicle in North Carolina will be required to pay at the time of registration not only the registration fees but also the property taxes owed on that vehicle for the […]

Tax Foreclosure and Redevelopment

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Carolina County has been working with its largest municipality, Tar Heel Town, to  redevelop one of Tar Heel Town’s more dilapidated neighborhoods.  Many of the properties in this neighborhood are owned by absentee landlords who fail to maintain them properly.  Not surprisingly, many of these properties are also subject to liens for thousands of dollars […]

Assessors’ Right of Entry on Private Property

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Do county property tax officials have the right to enter private property for appraisal purposes? This question keeps popping up in my in-box and on the Ptax listserv.  With good reason, too, because state law doesn’t offer a quick answer.  There isn’t one particular statute, constitutional provision, or court opinion that neatly resolves the issue.  […]

County Tax Collection Obligations for Motor Vehicles Under the “Tag & Tax Together” Program

Monday, August 19th, 2013

On September 1, the state’s Tag & Tax Together program formally launches statewide.  All N.C. vehicle owners will be required to pay property taxes owed on their vehicles at the same time they register those vehicles each year with the Division of Motor Vehicles. The joint payment system actually went live in July, meaning vehicle […]

Grandfather Mountain: Educational or Recreational?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

[UPDATE: In August 2014 the N.C. Court of Appeals reversed the PTC decision and found in favor of the county. For many of the reasons I discuss below, the Court of Appeals held that the Grandfather Mountain property does not qualify for a property tax exemption.  The Court of Appeals decision is available here.] Grandfather Mountain […]

Bankruptcy, Registration Blocks, and The New Property Tax System for RMVs

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

[UPDATED 8/24/16] Big changes are on the horizon for all North Carolina drivers.  Under the state’s new “Tax and Tag Together” program (aka “H.B. 1779” among property tax geeks) that will launch in September, anyone who wishes to renew a vehicle registration or obtain a new registration will be required to pay local property taxes […]

Feds Reverse Course and Extend New Garnishment Procedures to Local Tax Collections

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

It was big news for tax geeks like me back in early 2011 when the federal government released new regulations controlling garnishments of bank accounts that contain certain federal benefit payments.  The regulations made banks responsible for determining if a garnished account contained Social Security payments or other protected federal benefits and, if so, to make sure […]

N.C. Housing Market Improves But Local Tax Bases Continue to Suffer

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Contradictions abound in recent news about the North Carolina real estate market. First, the good news: home sales, home prices, and home construction starts are up.  The North Carolina Association of Realtors reports that home sales through the end of March rose 22% compared to a year ago.  Prices also increased, up 7% from 2012. Inventory […]

The Final Four of Tax Questions

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

With this week’s men’s and women’s championship games (neither of which featured my beloved Blue Devils, alas), the college basketball season came to a close.  But don’t despair—you won’t need to wait a full year for another Final Four.  After much number crunching and bracketology, I’ve identified the four most popular tax questions I get […]

NC Appellate Court Defines “Ownership” For Property Tax Exemptions

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Property tax exemptions all begin with the question of ownership.  Only certain types of property owners may qualify for a property tax exemption—governments, educational institutions, and religious congregations, to name a few.  If the property is not owned by a qualifying owner, the property cannot qualify for an exemption even if it is used for […]

Denying Government Services Due to Delinquent Property Taxes

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Earlier this week a city official asked this interesting question, “Can we refuse to allow residents who have not paid their property taxes to use city recreational facilities?”  The city that raised the question operates a recreation center with a swimming pool and exercise equipment for which it charges residents a small membership fee.  The city wanted to […]

When Does An Appraisal Error Justify a Refund?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Which of these appraisal errors justifies a property tax refund? 1.  Taxpayer is taxed for property that did not have a taxable situs in the jurisdiction. 2.  Taxpayer is taxed for a house that burned the prior December. 3.  Taxpayer has vacant land but is taxed for the land plus a house. 4.  Taxpayer has […]

Palm Trees and Property Tax Appraisals

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

 What justifies a change to a real property tax appraisal in between county-wide reappraisals? The short answer is “not much.”  For a longer answer, take a look at last week’s opinion from the N.C. Supreme Court in Appeal of Ocean Isle Palms, LLC,  a case involving undeveloped residential lots in Brunswick County.   The opinion offers […]

Tax Foreclosures and Competing Liens

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

When property owners stop paying their property taxes, it’s a good bet that they’ve been ignoring other obligations concerning those properties as well.  Weeds grow chest-high, houses slowly crumble, and neighbors begin to use the lots as informal trash dumps. The properties become dangerous eyesores, forcing local governments to mow the weeds, demolish substandard housing, […]

Early Enforced Collections

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Property tax bills for the 2012-2013 fiscal year are arriving in mail boxes across North Carolina. Thankfully most taxpayers will pay up without further encouragement. But plenty will not, and it’s a long four months until these bills become delinquent in January 2013. The general rule, of course, is that enforced collection measures such as […]

What Didn’t Happen

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

For those of us who work with local taxes, the most important news out of the General Assembly this summer was what didn’t happen. The legislature did not create any major new property tax exemptions.  The long-awaited overhaul of the registered motor vehicle property tax system was not postponed (again) beyond July 2013.  The seemingly annual […]

Sales Assessment Ratios Continue to Climb

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The housing market in some areas of the state may be improving, but a new study by the N.C. Department of Revenue suggests that real estate values remain generally sluggish across the state. The Department of Revenue’s annual sales assessment ratio study compares property tax assessments with actual sales prices for real property throughout a given […]

Collecting Property Taxes from Corporations

Monday, June 11th, 2012

[Today’s guest blogger is Adam Parker, UNC School of Government summer law clerk.] Let’s begin with an all-too-familiar hypothetical. In 2006, Carl Corporation incorporated a small business, Tar Heel Roofing Inc. Business went well for a few years. But when the Great Recession hit, Carl’s customers basically disappeared. After six months with no revenue Carl decided […]

Time for PUV Reform in NC?

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

$200 million. That’s the estimated property tax revenue North Carolina’s 100 counties defer each year under the state’s present-use value (“PUV”) property tax exclusion program for farms and other favored properties. And by “defer,” I really mean “lose,” because most of those deferred PUV taxes will never be collected. The impact of PUV property on […]

Tax Day at the N.C. Court of Appeals (Part 2)

Friday, May 4th, 2012

The Court of Appeals issued two opinions dealing with local taxes this week. In yesterday’s post I analyzed the opinion concerning Fayetteville’s privilege license taxes on internet sweepstakes.  Today I analyze the opinion dealing with the denial of a property tax exemption application by Cabarrus County. Late Property Tax Exemption Applications The Machinery Act requires that […]

Property Taxes and Registers of Deeds

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

It’s pop quiz time!  Is the following statement true or false? No one can buy real property in North Carolina without first paying all of the property taxes owed on the property. Answer: False. Well, not entirely false.  But not entirely true, either. Here’s why: G.S. 161-31 permits a county to prohibit its register of deeds […]

Budgets and the Tax Collection Percentage

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

It’s budget time for local governments, and the fun should not be reserved just for finance and budget staffers.  Tax officials need to play an important role in the process, too.   The Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act prohibits a local government from assuming a higher property tax collection percentage for next year […]

Advertising Tax Liens: The Sequel

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Having received lots of emails and phone calls after my earlier post on this topic, it seems worthy of a sequel.  Here’s a few of the more interesting questions from across the state this past week. How creative can a tax collector be with the advertisement? Many thanks to Anson County Tax Collector Joe Dutton […]

Advertising Tax Liens

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

It’s February, which means that tax lien advertising season is right around the corner.  Early this month tax collectors must report to their governing boards the delinquent taxes that are liens on real property.  Governing boards then issue orders to advertise those liens.  With this in mind, consider the following statements and determine which, if any, […]

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s . . .

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Harry Potter and those Twilight vampires need to move over and make room for a new literary superhero.  The mighty local government tax collector returns to the best seller lists this week after a fourteen-year absence with the release of my new book, Fundamentals of Property Tax Collection Law in North Carolina. That’s right, I […]

Happy Delinquent Tax Day!

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Don’t you just love the holiday season? We kick it off with a Thanksgiving feast, exchange presents on Hanukah and Christmas, and then celebrate a fresh start on New Year’s Day. But the fun doesn’t end just because we’ve all headed back to work and school.  Late last night, the Delinquent Tax Fairy visited local […]

Interest on Delinquent Taxes

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Just over a month remains before interest will begin accruing on unpaid property taxes levied for the 2011-12 fiscal year.  On January 6, 2012, these taxes will become delinquent and begin accruing interest at the rate of 2% for January and .75% per month thereafter until paid.  The basic rules concerning interest are simple and […]

Making Changes to Prior Years’ Tax Values

Friday, November 11th, 2011

“Don’t make retroactive changes to property tax values.”  As general rules go, that’s a pretty good one for county assessors to follow.   Absent unusual circumstances, any changes to property tax values should apply to the current tax year and not to prior tax years.  When a taxpayer appeals the value of his or her real […]

The Two Key Questions for Property Tax Exemptions

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Which of these properties is likely to be exempt from local property taxes? A.   Vacant, unused land owned by Dook University, a private educational institution.   Dook plans to build a new science lab on the land once it raises the necessary funds. B.   A bookstore owned by the Church of the Good Shepherd.  The bookstore […]

Weak Housing Market Hits Property Taxes

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

After showing signs of life in 2010, the North Carolina housing market has slumped again in 2011.  The N.C. Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales volume through July was down 7% from last year and down 22% from mid-2008 just before the national economy really hit the skids. The average sale price of […]

Local Taxation of Private Property on Federal Land

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

There’s no dispute that property owned by the federal government is exempt from local property taxes. Cumberland County cannot levy property taxes on the Army tanks, helicopters, and munitions at Fort Bragg.  Nor can Swain County tax the many acres of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that lie within the county borders. But what about […]

Public Records Law and the Tax Office

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The basic concept behind North Carolina public records law is simple:  all government records are “property of the people.”  As such, they must be made available upon request for free or minimal cost unless a statute specifically exempts a particular type of record from disclosure.  But many local tax offices are learning that putting this […]

Tax Foreclosure Tips

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

As the economy continues to drag, more and more local governments are relying on foreclosures to improve their tax collections.  I’ve blogged previously about the foreclosure process here and here.  Today’s post responds to a couple of interesting questions attorneys and tax officials have raised in recent weeks.   But first, a few general observations and reminders. […]

Property Tax Implications of the New Annexation Law

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Municipal annexations have been the subject of much debate recently.  My colleague Frayda Bluestein expertly analyzes S.L.  2011-396 (H.B.  845) the one bill that became law among dozens on the topic introduced during the current legislative session here.  My post today focuses on the two major property tax implications of this new law. First, the law eliminates a major source of tax confusion by requiring that involuntary annexations take […]

The Revenue-Neutral Tax Rate

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The revenue-neutral tax rate is a bundle of contradictions.  It is intended to make the property tax reappraisal and rate-setting process more transparent, but instead it often muddies the waters.  The rate is required to be calculated and published by local governments but need not actually be adopted for the coming fiscal year.  If adopted, […]

The N.C. Constitution’s Uniformity Clause

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Given the dire economic news of late, it’s no surprise that the General Assembly and local governments are trying to get creative with local property taxes.  Consider the suggestion from one county to levy a more progressive property tax, with one rate for real property valued less than $1,000,000 and a much higher rate for more […]

Tax Collection in Special Tax Districts

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

When local governments wish to fund additional services for portions of their jurisdictions beyond those provided elsewhere, they can turn to special tax districts to raise the needed revenue.  My finance expert colleague Kara Millonzi recently offered two excellent posts describing the purposes and mechanics of county fire districts and local government special service districts.  Today’s post focuses of […]

Revisiting the New Regulations for Bank Attachments

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

[Update: In 2013 the federal government issued new regulations concerning this issue.  See this blog post for more details.] Remember those new federal regulations concerning the attachment and garnishment of bank accounts that contain exempt federal benefits? As I blogged earlier, the regulations took effect on May 1. But based on new guidance issued by the feds, it appears these regulations will not […]

Property Tax Collection Remedies Beyond the Machinery Act

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Local governments are always looking for creative ways to collect their taxes.  While the pillory pictured here would be pretty darn effective, I can’t recommend it on legal or moral grounds.  But plenty of more acceptable options exist beyond those that are explicitly referenced in the Machinery Act. Durham County, for example, uses a super-cool […]

Local Tax Legislation Round-Up

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get from the General Assembly.  The current legislative session is only a couple of months old and already we’ve gotten booze-filled chocolates, an official herring festival, and maybe even our very own North Carolina currency. (In the spirit of bi-partisanship, I’m pulling for […]

New Federal Rules for Bank Account Attachments

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

[Update: In 2013 the federal government issued new regulations concerning this issue. See this blog post for more details.]  Bank accounts are prime targets for tax collectors thanks to the quick and easy attachment procedures in the Machinery Act that are available for the collection of any local tax.  But what happens when a bank account […]

When is a Deadline Not Really a Deadline? When the PTC Gets Involved.

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

One of the legal world’s most well known principles is, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”  In light of two recent decisions by the state Property Tax Commission, this centuries-old maxim may need to be amended to read, “unless property taxes are involved.” The Property Tax Commission (“PTC”) is the state board that hears […]

Bankruptcy and Tax Collection

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

    I love a good flowchart.  To me, nothing can simplify a complex process better than a well designed flowchart.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had flowcharts to help us navigate some of life’s more difficult decisions? Flowcharts would certainly be helpful when asking, “Which house should we buy?”  Or, “Is that new job opportunity […]

Using Social Security Numbers for Local Tax Administration

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Continuing with the theme of Kara Millonzi’s post last week on the use of Social Security numbers by local governments for utility services, this post focuses on how Social Security numbers can be used by local governments for the administration of taxes. Social Security numbers are immensely helpful with all types of local taxes, be […]

Government Property, Private Leases, and Property Taxes

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

[UPDATE: S.L. 2018-98  exempts leasehold interests in exempt government property beginning with the 2019 tax year.  As of 2019, leases in government property will no longer be taxable to the lessee.] Which of the following real property is exempt from local property taxes? A building owned by Blue Devil City and used as city police headquarters. […]

Open Meetings and Confidential Taxpayer Information

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

What happens when the open meetings requirement clashes with the obligation to keep taxpayer income information confidential? This conflict most commonly involves county boards of equalization and review, but the issue could easily arise at the city level as well with privilege license taxes or occupancy taxes. 

More Tax Foreclosure Myths

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Building on this earlier post, here are a few more myths about tax foreclosures that deserve debunking.  (This time I promise to avoid bragging on Duke basketball.)  But first allow me to plug two resources that might be of interest to attorneys and tax officials.  The Nuts and Bolts of N.C. Tax Foreclosures, last week’s well received […]

Appellate Court Upholds In Rem Foreclosures (Again)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The Machinery Act describes the in rem tax foreclosure procedure in NCGS 105-375 as a “simple and inexpensive” alternative to the full-blown civil action required by the “mortgage-style” foreclosure procedure in NCGS 105-374.  That description might be overly optimistic in light of the diligent title search most tax offices undertake before starting the process.  But […]

Suped-Up Set-Off Debt Collection

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The Set-off Debt Collection Act is one of the General Statute’s hidden gems for local governments.   For decades the process commonly called “debt set-off” has allowed local governments, water and sewer authorities, and similar public agencies to attach state income tax returns to satisfy debts of $50 or more owed by individuals.  Lottery winnings were made subject to […]

Tax bills? We don’t need no stinkin’ tax bills.

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

With apologies to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the title of this post accurately summarizes my usual response when asked about the consequences facing a local government that fails to deliver property tax bills in a timely fashion.   N.C. property tax law does not require tax bills, meaning that the absence of a bill generally has no effect on the taxing unit’s authority […]

Repairing unfit houses—and then recouping the costs

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

[2011 UPDATE: For more detail on this topic, see the following 2011 book: Housing Codes for Repair and Maintenance: Using the General Police Power and Minimum Housing Statutes to Prevent Dwelling Deterioration] An earlier post on minimum housing ordinances (MHOs) explained how MHOs can be employed by a local government for the purpose of ordering […]

Property Tax Refunds

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Which of these taxpayers is entitled to a property tax refund? Jane forgets that she is escrowing her property taxes with her mortgage company and pays the taxes herself in September.   Two weeks later she demands a refund because her mortgage company will pay the taxes with her escrow funds in December. Sam moves to […]

Jet Planes and Carnival Games: Who Gets to Tax Them?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

In the last few months of 2009, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued two interesting opinions on property tax situs.  A fancy word for “location,” situs controls whether or not property is subject to tax in a particular jurisdiction.  The two appellate decisions are worth noting both for the law and for the property involved: one case concerned a […]

Durham County v. IBM Credit Corp: The Saga Continues

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Local tax officials should add to their reading lists the latest chapter in what may be the state’s longest-running property tax saga.  Last month the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of IBM Credit Corporation in its dispute with Durham County over the 2001 tax value of 40,000+ computers and related items that IBM […]

Taxation of Affordable Housing in Community Land Trusts

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Imagine that you own a home, but not the land on which it sits. You’re a tenant on the land, subject to a 99-year ground lease. As a condition of the ground lease, you are permitted to sell your home only to a household earning less than the community’s median wage, and the ground lease […]

New Property Tax Rules for Military Spouses

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Changes in federal law rarely affect local property taxes.  An exception occurred on Veteran’s Day when President Obama signed Public Law 111-97, the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act.   This law allows spouses of active-duty military members to retain residency in their home states for voting and tax purposes regardless of where the military sends them, […]

Priority of Local Government Liens

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Assume you are a county attorney who gets a call from the tax collector asking your advice on whether the tax office should start foreclosure proceedings on Parcel A.  The property is valued at $25,000 and the county holds a tax lien of $4,000, so at first glance a foreclosure action looks promising.  But then the tax collector lets you know that her staff did a […]

Valid Cash Incentive or Illegal Tax Rebate?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

One news outlet reported that in exchange for constructing a data center in North Carolina, Apple Inc. will be reimbursed by North Carolina local governments for “50 percent of tax revenue on real estate property — buildings and land — and 85 percent of tax revenue on business property — computers and other equipment — […]

A New Tax Benefit for New Homes

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

North Carolina auto dealers don’t pay property taxes on the thousands of new and used cars sitting in their lots awaiting buyers.  Walmart doesn’t pay property taxes on the massive amount of stuff for sale at its nearly 100 big-box stores sprinkled across the state.  Should North Carolina’s home builders get the same tax benefit for their growing inventories of unsold new homes? […]

Taxes, Telephones and Traffic Cones: Do Tax Foreclosures Extinguish Easements?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

An interesting discussion from the Local Government Law listserv last week: Do tax foreclosures extinguish easements?  The answer must be no, don’t you think? If public utility and transportation easements could be extinguished by tax foreclosures, then the authority of the phone company to run telecommunication lines and the Department of Transportation to maintain highways would be dependent on the […]

Local Tax Collectors Sing the Bankruptcy Blues

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Consumer bankruptcy filings rose nearly 37% nationwide in the first half of 2009 as compared with the same time period one year ago.  Second quarter bankruptcy statistics for North Carolina are not yet available, but first quarter 2009 filings across the state were up 24% from first quarter 2008. None of this is good news for […]

The Revaluation Revolts of 2009

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Property tax revaluations conducted in the midst of the national economic crisis ignited an explosion of taxpayer outrage across the state in early 2009.  Assuming the local housing market woes continue, counties implementing revaluations in the next few years would be wise to learn from this year’s experience and prepare for similar taxpayer unrest.  The […]