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Tax comparison across States

Comparing taxes across States is dependent on your earnings and whether you work. As well as comparing taxes, remember that it's like having a conversation about living in a less desirable area. For example, in the mountains, Asheville has become uber desirable! We all remember the laws of supply and demand from school: when an area becomes more desirable, there is less supply, and generally the prices go up!

When the prices go up, more folks live in the area, which often leads to higher taxes.

Higher taxes lead to folks moving 10-20 minutes outside of the area, and then everyone who has lived in THAT area forever starts complaining about traffic and all the newcomers! Big stores and restaurants move into the new area and when that area gets more popular, the whole cycle starts again.

The person named DESIRABILITY plays a HUGE factor in TAXES and the PRICE of the home, as well as a number of other factors. Figure out how much you want to flirt with DESIRABILITY, or whether you are comfortable being in a less popular area 10 minutes out, or whether you want to save some taxes and be somewhere else all together. Areas with less DESIRABILITY use lower taxation as a way to encourage folks to move there - every area is dependent on a strong tax base (numbers of people) to fund the area. Once the area becomes more popular, often driven by lower taxes, the taxes go up.

REMEMBER: Tax is NOT just about Income Tax. It's often said that taxes are like death; they'll get you somehow! When comparing taxes, check the property tax rates, and whether other sales taxes are added which are often different state to state.

We are fortunate in the mountains, that while not being the least or most friendly tax State, our wonderful climate with distinct seasons, (not too hot in the summer or cold in the winter, the mountains, wonderful views and great healthcare, outdoor living) and many other factors keep people flocking to the mountains and enjoying the great lifestyle here. The Asheville Diamond™ Asheville - Waynesville - Hendersonville - Black Mountain - is consistently voted in the top places to live, thrive and retire in the US!

Overview of Taxes in NC

Always do research as these figures may be out of date.

State Sales Tax

4.75% state levy. Groceries are not taxed by the state, but a 2% local tax is levied.

Income Tax Range

North Carolina has a flat tax rate of 5.49%.

Social Security

Benefits are not taxed.


  • Homeowners 65 and older may qualify for an Elderly or Disabled Exclusion.

  • A tax break known as the “Bailey exemption” remains despite the elimination of previous tax breaks; this tax break exempts from taxation certain retirement benefits received by a state or federal government retiree, if the retiree had five or more years of creditable service as of August 12, 1989. Railroad Retirement income is not taxed.

  • IRAs Taxable at the flat tax rate.

  • 401(k)s and Other Defined-Contribution Employer Retirement Plans Taxable at the flat tax rate.

  • Private Pensions Taxable at the flat tax rate.

  • Public Pensions Taxable at the flat tax rate.

Property Taxes

The median property tax on North Carolina’s median home value of $157,100 is $1,345.

Tax breaks for seniors: To qualify for the Elderly or Disabled Exclusion, a homeowner must be at least 65 years old or totally and permanently disabled, with income of no more than $29,600 for the 2018 tax year. The program excludes the first $25,000 or 50% of the home's assessed value, whichever is greater, from taxation. The state’s Circuit Breaker Tax Deferment Program limits property taxes to 4% of an owner’s income for those 65 years and older who make less than $29,600 a year for the 2018 tax year. For those making between $29,601 and $44,400 for the 2018 tax year, property taxes are limited to 5% of their income.

Vehicle Taxes

Registration: 3% tax due when title is transferred, revenue from this tax is specifically allocated to maintenance of North Carolina highways. Property tax: Annual, determined by multiplying the combined county and municipal/district tax rate by the county tax appraisal of the vehicle. Example: In Wake County (Raleigh), a vehicle worth $20,000 would be taxed about $252 each year.


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