The 10 Basics Every North Carolina Business Should Know About Sales Tax

What is the Sales Tax Rate in North Carolina?

North Carolina Sales Tax is a blended rate of 4.75% State rate plus applicable sales and use tax rates in effect.

What is Sales Tax in North Carolina?

The general State and applicable local and transit rates of sales and use tax apply to the sales price of each item or article of tangible personal property that is not subject to tax under another subdivision in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.4, certain digital property, and certain services sold at retail and sourced to this State.

Are All Goods and Services Taxable?


How Do I Know What’s Taxable and What’s Not?

This link can help you determine what is taxable and what isn’t in North Carolina by industry.

Who Pays Sales Tax?

Consumers pay sales tax.  Merchants do not pay sales tax out of their own pockets.  It’s commonly referred to as a  pass through tax.

What Am I Responsible For?

You are required to collect sales tax, hold it secure and send it to the State on-time and in-full.

When Is My Sales Tax Payment Due in North Carolina?

In North Carolina your tax filing frequency is determined by the state.  You may be a quarterly or monthly filer. Contact the state to determine your sales tax due date. Click here for a list of due dates.

How Do I Know How Much Sales Tax to Charge? 

Sales tax rates in NORTH CAROLINA  are a combination of the state, county and city taxes. Click here to find your sales tax rate. The final and definitive answer is always the sales tax rate posted on State Department of Revenue website. Rates posted on the web are often not up-to-date and incorrect. It’s always the merchant’s responsibility to charge the correct sales tax rate.

Who Gets the Sales Tax Money?

In North Carolina all sales tax, State, County & City, gets paid directly to the State.

How Do I Manage Tax Exempt Sales?

Tax exempt organizations such as schools and religious organizations are often exempt from sales tax. They are required to give you copy of their “TAX EXEMPT CERTIFICATE” at the time of the sale and you are required to keep this certificate on file. Failing to do so may result in you paying the sales tax out of your own pocket if you have a sales tax audit.

What if I Forget to Pay or Spend the Money and Can’t Pay?

North Carolina  has severe penalties for missing tax payments. You can find the penalties for late payments here. If you received a letter from the state for a late sales tax payment, you can call 1-877-252-3052 for assistance. If sales tax goes unpaid, states will seize the assets of the business or owner and auction them off to pay the debt. In extreme cases owners will be prosecuted and sent to jail. Even if the business closes, sales tax is a personal liability that will follow the owner until paid.

North Carolina Sales and Use TAX HELP:

North Carolina Department Of Revenue

(877) 252-3052