Tax Assessor


Church & Charitable Organizations Exemptions FAQ
Churches and other charitable organizations may be exempt from property tax if they qualify and apply for the exemption. Most important to understand in this process is that ownership by a charitable or religious organization that qualifies for 501(c)3 exemption for income tax purposes does not automatically qualify the property for ad valorem (property) tax exemption. Not only must the ownership meet requirements, but the use must also qualify.

What qualifies?

In order for property to qualify for a tax exemption, it must meet both the ownership and use requirements as outlined in one of the documents above. It specifically covers "Buildings, the land they occupy, and additional adjacent land reasonably necessary for the convenient use of any such building..." For example, to qualify for a religious exemption, the property must be owned by a church or other religious assembly and be used for a religious purpose. Religious purpose is defined in the General Statutes as including worship facilities, denominational office or headquarters facilities, and residences such as parsonages or nunneries. Housing for other employees is not exempted with the exception of quarters for guardian, janitorial and custodial personnel which are a part of a larger tract already qualifying under religious purposes. A parsonage, in this example, can only be exempt if it is used to house church clergy (and family if applicable) and belongs to the religious assembly. Residences of clergy which are rented or owned by someone other than the religious assembly would not be exempt. If a parsonage is not used for that purpose and instead is rented out or remains vacant, then it would not be exempt.

How does one apply?

For most exemptions covered in the common exemptions guide, there is a one-time application required. Applications must be completed during the listing period (January) for the year for which the exemption is being applied. The appropriate qualified owner must be the listing owner (have owned the property on January 1st) for that year. If the property was purchased on January 2nd, the previous owner is the taxed owner for that year, and exemption cannot be applied for until the next year.

What if we purchase a property that is already exempt?

If you purchase property from an owner that is already exempt, you need to go ahead and complete an application to keep the exemption on the property. Property which transfers from an exempt owner to a non-exempt owner before July 1st automatically becomes taxable in the new owner's name for that year. Avoid this penalty by completing an application so that the exemption is continued and you are not billed.

Once I qualify, do I have to renew?

Once you have qualified for an exemption, for most common exemptions, you remain exempt until ownership or use changes. Periodically, the County Tax Assessor will conduct an audit of exempt properties to ensure they continue to qualify. If your property comes up for audit, you may be required to provide documentation showing that the property is still being used for the purpose for which it was exempted. Remember that any time ownership or use changes, you need to file a new application. Failure to do so could result in a discovery that the property should have been taxable, and back taxes and penalties can be levied. If in doubt, contact the Edgecombe County Tax Assessor's Office.

Where do I get an application?

Applications are available at the Assessor's Office in Suite 312 of the County Administration Building (201 St. Andrew Street, downtown Tarboro), or you can download and print an application from Printable Tax Forms page
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