Motor Vehicles

Read more about the combined Tag & Tax Together program for your registered motor vehicle property tax and registration.

The information on this page pertains to registered motor vehicles. If you received a property tax bill for a gap in registration and have questions, please view the Vehicle Registration Gap Tax Notice section of this site. For information on all other unregistered vehicles, please see our Personal Property page.

Tag & Tax Together Program

In 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law to create a combined motor vehicle registration renewal and property tax collection system. The law transfers responsibility of motor vehicle tax collection to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV). This new Tag & Tax Together program was designed as a convenient way to pay annual vehicle tag renewals and property taxes in one transaction.

Beginning with renewal notices mailed in July 2013 and due in September 2013, your registration renewal and property tax will be due the same month each year. The NC DMV will send a new combined notice that includes both the vehicle registration fee and property taxes. You will not be permitted to renew your tag without paying all taxes owed on the vehicle.

Please see the Tag & Tax Together
Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of this page for additional information.

If you received a Combined Vehicle Registration Renewal and Property Tax Notice and have questionsplease visit this page.

How to Pay the Combined Tag & Tax Notice

Payment for the Tag & Tax Together notice cannot be made at the county tax office. You will pay both the registration fee and property taxes to the NCDMV using one of these three payment options:

Vehicle Values

Licensed motor vehicles include any motor vehicle that maintains an active North Carolina tag or registration. The term "Motor Vehicle" includes automobiles trucks, buses, campers, trailers and motorcycles.

Motor Vehicles are valued by year, make and model in accordance with the North Carolina Vehicle Valuation Manual. Values are based on the retail level of trade for property tax purposes. A motor vehicle offered for sale by a dealer to the end consumer represents the best example of the retail level of trade.

The retail value of the motor vehicle is determined based on the registration renewal month. January through August renewal months use the January 1 value from that period. September through December renewal months use the January 1 value immediately after that period.

Licensed motor vehicles are not valued at wholesale, blue book or private party asking price for property tax purposes. Sales transactions between private buyers and sellers and Internet valuation lookup websites typically reflect these levels of trade. 

For information on vehicles not licensed with NC DMV, please view the Personal Property section of this website.

Tag & Tax Together Frequently Asked Questions

How will my registration renewal form change?

The registration form combines information about your vehicle registration renewal fee and your vehicle property taxes. The Tag & Tax System allows you to make one payment for both registration renewal and vehicle property tax.

Will my vehicle registration renewal fee remain the same?

Yes. The cost of your annual vehicle registration renewal will remain the same. The notice will increase to reflect your vehicle property tax amount.

When is my vehicle tax due?

Your vehicle tax will be due at the same time you renew your registration. North Carolina law now requires that your vehicle property tax be paid in order to renew the vehicle registration. The due date will be printed on the new combined notice that you receive in the mail.

Can I renew my vehicle registration if I do not pay my property tax?

No. You cannot renew your vehicle’s registration, whether it is leased or owned, unless the total taxes and registration fees on the vehicle are paid in full.

Am I paying vehicle property taxes for the coming year or for the preceding year?

Taxes due on the notice are for the coming year and cover the same period as the vehicle registration.

What if I lease my vehicle? Do I need to pay my property taxes to the leasing company?

No. Vehicle property taxes on leased motor vehicles must be paid in full at the time of renewal. A copy of the combined tag and tax notice will now be sent to the vehicle lessee rather than the leasing company.

Is interest charged on late payments?

Yes. In accordance with NC General Statute 105-330.4, interest is charged on late property tax beginning the 16th day of the month following the due date.

How will I know the amount of vehicle property tax that I owe?

Your property tax amount will be included on the combined notice along with your county and municipality tax rates.

How can I get a statement of the property taxes I paid?

Statements for vehicle property taxes paid to the NC DMV at the time of registration are not available on the County's web site. To obtain a statement of the property taxes paid for your vehicle, visit NC DMV online

Will I receive a tax refund if I transfer my license plate to another vehicle during the year?

No. If you have paid your vehicle property tax for the year and then transfer the license plate to another vehicle, you will not be eligible for a refund of the taxes paid. The registered motor vehicle to which the plates are transferred will not be taxed until its current registration is renewed.

When can I apply for a refund of vehicle property taxes paid?

An owner can apply for a refund of taxes paid when a motor vehicle is sold or registered out of state. The refund will be calculated on any full calendar months remaining in the registration period after the license plate is surrendered to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. Any municipal vehicle tax assessed in accordance with NC General Statute 20-97 is not subject to proration or refund. 

Within one year of surrendering the license plates, the owner must present the following to the county tax office:

  • Proof of plate surrender to NCDMV (DMV Form FS20)
  • Copy of the Bill of Sale or the new state’s registration.

Will I have to pay vehicle property tax if I am active duty military?

Active duty non-resident military personnel may be exempt from North Carolina motor vehicle property tax. To qualify for an exemption, you must present a copy of your Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) to the county tax office. The statement should be for the month and year in which you register the vehicle and must include your Estimated Time of Separation (ETS) date and a home of record other than North Carolina.

Military spouses may also qualify for exemption if their home of record is the same as the service member’s. In addition to providing a copy of the LES as described above, spouses must provide:

  • a copy of their military I.D. card
  • a copy of their out of state driver’s license, voter registration card or most current state tax return.

If the vehicle is owned by a leasing company and leased to military personnel, the exemption cannot be applied and the taxes must be paid.