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North Carolina Boat Property Tax


Content provided for general information. Talk to your advisor to learn about recent updates or other rules that may apply to your situation.

If you own a boat in North Carolina, you’re going to have to pay property taxes. Here’s how it works.

What is the North Carolina boat tax?

North Carolina doesn’t have a specific tax on boats, but boats fall under personal property. North Carolina does have a property tax on individual personal property.

When you buy a boat, you’ll also usually have to pay the NC boat sales tax. The statewide sales tax rate on boats is 3% with a maximum tax of $1,500. Additional local and transit sales taxes do not apply to boat purchases.

Individual personal property includes boats, jet skis, boat motors, aircraft, hot air balloons, mobile homes, other unlicensed vehicles, and more. Personal property generally doesn’t include property that isn’t vehicles such as your household belongings.

Registered motor vehicles are generally taxed separately when you obtain or renew their tag. Howwever, boats generally don’t count as registered motor vehicles because the North Carolina Wild Life Commission tag is not the same as a tag you’d obtain from a tax office.

What is the NC boat property tax rate?

The North Carolina property tax rate varies based on where you live. It’s typically between 0.6% and 1.5% of the boat’s current value.

You can view rates by county and municipality here. The rates are listed as dollars per $100. So a rate of $1 is effectively a 1% tax rate.

How is your boat’s value determined?

Your boat’s value for property taxes is typically based on its current value in the ABOS Marine Blue Book (access here).

How do you pay the boat property tax?

You generally need to list your boat and other personal property on a property tax listing form in January each year. You’ll need to request a listing form from your county tax assessor’s office online or by visiting a local tax office.

In future years, some counties mail a pre-filled listing form based on what you submitted during the previous listing period.

There is a 10% penalty for not filing a listing form by January 31st.

You will receive your tax bill in the fall. Property tax bills are generally due as of September 1st and considered delinquent after January 5th.

Delinquent property taxes are subject to interest and possible penalties.

What happens if you sell your boat?

Your personal property tax bill is based on whether or not you owned the boat on January 1st. If you sold your boat on January 2nd, you will generally need to pay the full personal property tax for the entire year.

You can negotiate reimbursement of taxes with the buyer as part of the sale. You will need to keep proof of the sale in order to remove your boat from your tax bill in future years.

Military Exemption

Non-North Carolina residents stationed in North Carolina may be eligible for an exemption. You must apply for the exemption with the county tax office and will need a copy of your Leave and Earnings Statement or other suitable documentation.