County Budget, Tax, & Finance Information

Risk Management Servies

Survey of Anticipated Pay Changes

NEW! FY 2024-25 survey results are available. In April 2024, NCACC and the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) released the results of our annual joint survey of local governments about their planned salary changes for the upcoming fiscal year. The full survey results break the findings down by population size group and region. Statewide, of the local governments that responded: 

  • 87% plan to provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and/or a merit increase for the upcoming budget year.
  • 29% plan to provide a COLA in the FY 2024-25 budget, with the statewide average COLA being 3.6%.
  • 44% have either recently made market adjustments to their pay plans or will be conducting or implementing the results of pay and classification studies in the upcoming year.

NCACC thanks all local governments who responded to the survey. We appreciate your time in helping make this the most useful and timely report possible for you and your peers. We also thank NCLM for its extensive work in preparing the report.

  • NCACC thanks the 235 local governments that responded to the 2024-25 survey, including 39 counties.

Risk Management Servies

Budget and Tax Survey

NEW! FY 2023-24 survey results are available. In April 2024, NCACC released the results of our annual Budget and Tax Survey, which we conduct annually to gather financial information on county budgeted expenditures and tax resources, including in-depth information on school appropriations. Please note that these are self-reported data, and do not reflect audited expenditures, revenues, or other county information.

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Property Taxes

Coming soon.

Risk Management Servies

Sales Taxes

Sales taxes are the second largest revenue source for North Carolina counties, making up approximately 14% of county General Fund revenue. Counties set their own sales tax rates with voter approval, but the state collects and redistributes local sales tax dollars. NCACC staff are available to guide counties on sales tax referenda, revenue projections, and other sales tax issues.

  • Sales Tax Articles and Rates

    North Carolina has a 4.75% state sales tax rate. In addition, counties are authorized by North Carolina General Statute Chapter 105, Articles 39-46 to levy up to 5 sales taxes, with rates that range from 0.25% to 1%.

    ArticleRateDistributionRestrictionsShared with TownsCounties LevyingNotes
    Article 391% (1¢)Point of SaleN/AYes100 CountiesArticle 39, 40, and 42 together are commonly referred to as "The First 2¢"
    Article 400.5% (1/2¢)Per CapitaCounties must use 30% on school capita.Yes100 CountiesArticle 39, 40, and 42 together are commonly referred to as "The First 2¢"
    Article 420.5% (1/2¢)Point of SaleCounties must use 60% on school capita.Yes100 CountiesArticle 39, 40, and 42 together are commonly referred to as "The First 2¢"
    Article 430.25% (1/4¢) or 0.5% (1/2¢)Point of Sale100% to transit.Yes, if a city runs a transit system.4 CountiesRate is 0.5% for Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange, and Wake Counties (0.25% in all other counties).
    Article 460.25% (1/4¢)Point of SaleN/ANo46 Counties

    All 100 counties levy the first 3 sales taxes, usually called “the First 2¢.” In addition, nearly 50 counties levy at least one of the two additional taxes:

    Tax RateCounties (As of January 1, 2023)
    4.75% State; 2.00% First 2¢
    Alamance, Alleghany, Avery, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Burke, Caldwell, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chowan, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Davie, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Guilford, Henderson, Hoke, Hyde, Iredell, Johnston, Lenoir, Macon, McDowell, Mitchell, Nash, Northampton, Pamlico, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Polk, Richmond, Scotland, Stokes, Transylvania, Tyrrell, Union, Vance, Warren, Washington, Watauga, Wayne, Wilson, Yadkin, Yancey
    4.75% State; 2.00% First 2¢; 0.25% Article 46
    Alexander, Anson, Ashe, Bertie, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Clay, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Hertford, Jackson, Jones, Lee, Lincoln, Madison, Martin, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pasquotank, Pitt, Randolph, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Stanly, Surry, Swain, Wilkes
    4.75% State; 2.00% First 2¢; 0.50% Article 43
    Mecklenburg, Wake
    4.75% State; 2.00% First 2¢; 0.50% Article 43; 0.25% Article 46
    Durham, Orange

Risk Management Servies

Other Local Taxes

  • Occupancy Taxes

    Most counties levy an occupancy tax on rental accommodations, such as hotel rooms and vacation rentals. Although the General Statutes broadly outline occupancy tax guidelines (G.S. 153A-155), they do not authorize the tax. Instead, each county must first receive explicit taxing authority from the General Assembly. Occupancy tax collections are remitted to the local government; usually, the authorizing legislation requires the county to establish a Tourism Development Authority (TDA) to manage and allocate most or all of the tax proceeds.

    In counties that have received authority from the General Assembly to levy or modify an occupancy tax, the Board of Commissioners must first pass an authorizing resolution and hold a public hearing. NCACC has compiled these sample resolutions from three counties as examples.

  • Gross Receipts Taxes

    The North Carolina General Statutes authorize multiple gross receipts taxes for counties, including taxes on short-term vehicle rentals and on lodging accommodations. The following presentation summarizes the available taxes.

Contact Information

For more information about NCACC’s budget, tax, and finance information or for help, please contact Fiscal and Policy Research Director Denise Canada at (919) 715-0045.