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Business Taxes and Licensing

In its simplest form, a business is a commercial activity operated as a means of livelihood or profit, or an entity which engages in such actions.

Business Personal Property Tax Listing Deadlines

Each business is responsible for annually completing and submitting a business personal property listing form to the Tax Office. The listing period is January 1st through January 31st. Late listing penalties are charged for any listing that is not submitted by the January 31st deadline each year.

Additional business personal property listing information is available here.

Business Personal Property Tax Appeals

Appeals may be requested within 30 days of the billing date. You should verify the information on your bill as soon as you recieve it.

Business Openings

The Department of Economic Development in Orange County provides a variety of services for opening a new business.

Business Closings and Sales

  • Under NCGS 105-366, When purchasing a business asset, it is the responsibility of that purchaser to ensure that all back taxes on the property have been paid or that money has been held in escrow until such time that it has been paid in full.
  • If a business is closing after January 1st, the total amount of the taxes remain the responsibility of the business owner. There is no proration of the taxes allowed by statute.

Business Licenses

Orange County Tax Office issues two types of business privilege licenses:

  • Beer & Wine
    • All licenses expire April 30.
    • You must purchase a County business license when opening your business and renew it annually by April 30.
    • A copy of your North Carolina State ABC License is required to issue your County license for the first time.
    • If your business is located in the city limits of Hillsborough, Chapel Hill or Carrboro, you may also be required to purchase a city license in addition to the county license. Contact information for the cities below:
      • Town of Carrboro    919-942-8541
      • Town of Chapel Hill  919-968-2759
      • Town of Hillsborough 919-732-2104
  • Massage Practitioner or Massage Practitioner Business
    • All licenses expire April 30.
    • Contact the Orange County Sheriff's Office to request an application.
    • Once application has been approved through the County's screening process, you may purchase a license from the Tax Office.

Occupancy Taxes

A room occupancy tax of 3% is imposed on the gross receipts from the rental of any room, lodging or similar accommodation within the county subject to the sales tax under North Carolina General Statute 105-164.4(a)(3).  This tax does not apply to accommodations furnished by nonprofit organizations. This tax also does not apply to any private residence or cottage that is rented for less than fifteen days in a calendar year or to any room, lodging, or accommodation supplied to the same person for a period of ninety or more continuous days.

Every entity liable for the Orange County Occupancy Tax is required to file and remit a tax return form on or before the 15th day of each month following the month in which the tax accrues. A tax return form must be filed each month even if no taxes are due. Applicable penalties will be assessed for failure to file and remit a tax return form. Remittance should be made to Orange County by check or money order made payable to: ORANGE COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR, ATTN: OCCUPANCY TAX, PO BOX 8181, HILLSBOROUGH, NC 27278.

Occupancy Tax Return Fillable Form - You may save this form, but please note that the form must be printed and signed in order to submit it to the Tax Collector.

Occupancy Tax Return Instructions