North Carolina Vehicle Property Tax Refund

If you move out of North Carolina or sell your car, you may be able to get a refund of your vehicle property tax.

This post is provided for general information only. Please confirm the details and circumstances of your unique situation with your tax accountant or other appropriate advisor before taking action.

When can you get a refund of North Carolina vehicle property taxes?

There are generally two situations where you can get a refund of your vehicle property tax.

  • You move out of state.

  • You sell your car.

In order to be eligible for the refund, you must surrender your North Carolina license plate.

You’ll need to show your Division of Motor Vehicles Form FS20 (confirmation of your plate surrender). You’ll also need to show either proof of sale or proof of vehicle registration in the new state.

What if I move counties?

If you move counties within North Carolina, there is no refund of taxes paid if you move to a county with a lower tax rate. There’s also no additional tax due if you move to a county with a higher tax rate.

Instead, you’ll begin paying the new vehicle property tax rate at your next registration renewal.

Don’t forget that you generally still need to notify the DMV vehicle registration office of your address change at the time you move.

How much is the vehicle property tax refund?

When you request a refund, you’re generally entitled to a prorated refund based on how it is until your next registration renewal.

The tax you paid is good for one year, so if you sell your car six months after your registration renewal, you’ll get about a 50% refund.

You generally won’t receive a refund if you surrender your tags in the last month before your vehicle registration is due.

Do I automatically get a tax refund when I sell my car?

The vehicle property tax refund is not automatic. The DMV doesn’t tell the county tax office to issue you a refund.

You must request the refund from your county’s tax office.

How do I claim my North Carolina vehicle tax refund?

You generally have one year from surrendering your tag to request a refund of property taxes paid. You’ll need to provide copies of your DMV Form FS20 and proof of sale or new state’s registration.

Contact your county tax office where you paid the tax for further instructions.

Is North Carolina highway use tax refundable?

Unlike the vehicle property tax, the highway use tax is a tax on the transfer of a vehicle’s title. It isn’t an annual or time-based fee.

You generally can’t receive a full or partial refund of highway use tax unless you overpaid due to an error.

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