North Carolina: Sales Tax Handbook
North Carolina Sales Tax Rate
|State Sales Tax||Local Sales Tax Range||Average Local Tax||Average Combined Tax||Max Combined Tax|
|4.75%||2% - 2.75%||2.188%||6.938%||7.5%|
2021 North Carolina Sales Tax Handbook
North Carolina Table of Contents
- List of Local Sales Tax Rates
- Sales Tax Calculator
- Sales Tax Exemption Certificates
- Sales Tax Info For Businessowners
- Taxable vs. Non-Taxable Purchases
- Sales Tax on Cars & Vehicles
- More Information
North Carolina's Sales Tax By The Numbers:
North Carolina has a lower-than-average sales tax, including when local sales taxes from North Carolina's 324 local tax jurisdictions are taken into account.
Rankings by Average State + Local Sales Tax:
Ranked 25th highest by combined state + local sales tax
Ranked 33rd highest by per capita revenue from state + local sales taxes ($806 per capita)
Rankings by State Sales Tax Only:
Ranked 15th highest by state sales tax rate
Ranked 39th highest by per capita revenue from the statewide sales tax ($571 per capita)
Printable PDF North Carolina Sales Tax Datasheet
North Carolina has a statewide sales tax rate of 4.75%, which has been in place since 1933.
Municipal governments in North Carolina are also allowed to collect a local-option sales tax that ranges from 2% to 2.75% across the state, with an average local tax of 2.188% (for a total of 6.938% when combined with the state sales tax). The maximum local tax rate allowed by North Carolina law is 2.75%. You can lookup North Carolina city and county sales tax rates here.
This page provides an overview of the sales tax rates and laws in North Carolina. If you are a business owner and need to learn more about things like getting a sales tax permit, filing a sales tax return, or making tax-exempt purchases for resale see the North Carolina Sales Tax Handbook's Table of Contents above.
What is exempt from sales taxes in North Carolina?
Many states have special sales tax rates that apply to the purchase of certain types of goods, or fully exempt them from the sales tax altogether. Here's how North Carolina taxes five types of commonly-exempted goods:
For more details on what types of goods are specifically exempt from the North Carolina sales tax see North Carolina sales tax exemptions. To learn more about what types of transactions are subject to the sales tax to begin with, see what purchases are taxable in North Carolina? Taxation of vehicle purchases in particular are discussed in the page about North Carolina's sales tax on cars.
Are services subject to sales tax in North Carolina?
"Goods" refers to the sale of tangible personal property, which are generally taxable. "Services" refers to the sale of labor or a non-tangible benefit. In North Carolina, specified services are taxable.
About the North Carolina Sales Tax
The state of North Carolina has relatively simple sales tax rate, and utilizes a flat state tax rate. However, in addition to the flat state tax rate, there are county taxes which may be added on. These local tax rates would be in addition to the state tax rate. Some counties apply additional taxes even beyond this, usually to direct funding towards something, such as the public transportation system.
Is the North Carolina Sales Tax Destination-Based or Origin-Based?
North Carolina is a destination-based sales tax state, which means that sales tax rates are determined by the location of the buyer when the transaction is completed. This means that, for orders placed via the internet/mail by a customer within North Carolina from a North Carolina vendor, the vendor must collect a sales tax rate applicable at the buyer's address (including any applicable local sales taxes). This can significantly increase the complication of filing your sales tax return, because different sales tax rates must be charged to different buyers based on their location.
Is North Carolina a Streamlined Sales Tax State?
North Carolina is a member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which means that the North Carolina Department of Revenue has taken significant steps to simplify North Carolina's sales tax rules and administration process.
Contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue
The North Carolina Sales Tax is administered by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. You can learn more by visiting the sales tax information website at www.dornc.com.
Phone numbers for the Sales Tax division of the Department of Revenue are as follows:
- Toll-Free Phone: (877) 252-3052
Learn More: Our Book Recommendations
If you would like to learn more about how to manage your North Carolina sales taxes, we recommend the following books:
Simplify North Carolina sales tax compliance! We provide sales tax rate databases for businesses who manage their own sales taxes, and can also connect you with firms that can completely automate the sales tax calculation and filing process. Click here to get more information.
North Carolina Sales Tax Rates by Zip Code:
Need an updated list of North Carolina sales tax rates for your business? Download our North Carolina sales tax database!