Many states and local communities provide senior citizens tax advantages to help them afford to live comfortably and stay in their homes after they've retired. North Carolina is among them, providing property tax discounts to people 65 and over who live in the state.
North Carolina Property Tax Exemptions
A set of North Carolina homestead exemption rules provide property tax relief to seniors and people with disabilities. If you are totally and permanently disabled or age 65 and over, and you make below an income limit of $30,200, you can exempt from property tax half of your home's assessed value or $25,000, whichever is greater. The income limit often increases from year to year.
If you are a disabled military veteran in North Carolina, regardless of your age or income, you may also be eligible for a separate program that excludes the first $45,000 in assessed value of your home from property tax. You must have a total and permanent service-related disability or have received benefits for specially adapted housing, received an honorable discharge or left the military under honorable conditions. Surviving spouses of such veterans, and of veterans or service members who died due to service-related conditions, are also eligible for the benefit if they haven't remarried.
Another, separate program, known as a circuit breaker property tax deferment, allows seniors and disabled people to limit the portion of their income spent on property tax. For eligible people making under $30,200, that limit is 4 percent of their income. For those making $45,300 or less and meeting the age or disability requirements, that limit is 5 percent of their income.
Unlike the disabled veteran, senior citizen and other North Carolina benefits for housing, the tax isn't erased entirely. Instead, it becomes a lien on the property that comes due if the property is transferred, the owner passes away or the owner ceases to use the property as his or her primary residence. The income limit tends to increase from year to year.
Limited to One Program
Taxpayers may only enroll in one of the programs even if they're eligible for more than one according to age, disability and veteran status. The program that is most advantageous may vary based on your income and your home's assessed value. You can, however, apply for multiple programs at once through the North Carolina Department of Revenue's Application for Property Tax Relief, and if you're eligible for more than one, you'll be given the option to choose the appropriate one for your needs.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.