Orange County home page

Frequently Asked Questions

Taxes

Tax Auctions

Ambulance Billing

Land Records/GIS

Assessment

I can't pay my taxes on time. What options do I have?
The Tax Office offers payment plans to help taxpayers. 

Return to Top


Why did I get a tax bill for my real property if I have an escrow account with my mortgage company?
We send the bill to the owner of the property, not the loan institution. We will gladly provide your loan institution with your billing information at its request, but we strongly suggest that you send them a copy of your bill.

Return to Top

What is the 3R fee that I see on my real property tax bill?

The 3R fee, collected for the Orange County Solid Waste Department, funds Orange County’s recycling program. It is not a lien on the real property. 3R stands for waste reduction, reuse and recycling. The Orange County Board of Commissioners has created an assistance fund to help citizens in financial hardship with paying the 3R fee. An appeals process is available to anyone who feels that the fee was inaccurately assessed. Appeals will be reviewed by Solid Waste Management staff.

Return to Top

What is the Chapel Hill Stormwater Management fee on my real property tax bill?

This fee is collected for the Town of Chapel Hill. The Town is responsible for managing storm water and related water resources issues within its jurisdiction, and the fee funds that management program. The fee is determined by the Town of Chapel Hill. It is not a lien on the real property. For questions regarding this fee, contact the Town of Chapel Hill.

Return to Top

When will my mortgage company pay my tax bill? 
Loan institutions (or their tax-servicing agent) usually remit payment between November 15 and December 31. You are encouraged to verify your payment data with your loan institution.

Return to Top

When are my real & personal property taxes due?
Taxes are due each year for real estate, business personal property and individually owned personal property on September 1st. Payment without interest can be made prior to January 5th of the following year. Mail payments are processed based on the postmark as affixed by the U.S. Postal Service.

Return to Top

I sold my house a few months ago. Why did I get the bill instead of the new owner?
If the real property has been sold, please forward the tax notice to the new owner. When property is sold prior to the creation of the tax bill, it is the general practice of NC attorneys to make adjustments for the payment of taxes on the closing statement. Payment is NOT made to the tax office at that time. After the creation of the tax bills, taxes are normally paid at the closing. Check your closing statement or contact the closing attorney if you have questions about who is responsible for payment of the bill.

Return to Top

I have paid my tax bill and I have received a past due notice in the mail. Why did this happen?
There are several possibilities. We may not have received your payment from the Post Office, or your payment may have crossed in the mail with the delinquent notice.  To verify the status of your account you may check online.

Return to Top

I have filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13.  Do I still have to pay the new tax bill I received?
When a taxpayer files Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and lists the tax office as a creditor, the bankruptcy court sends a notice to the tax office.  The tax office files a claim for any outstanding bills as of the date of the filing, including any outstanding Emergency Management bills.  The bankruptcy court should pay the claim in full if the plan is completed and the taxpayer receives a discharge.  Any taxes or EMS bills that become due after the filing of the plan are post petition debt and must be paid by the taxpayer. 

Return to Top

I have received notice from my bank that the check I wrote to the tax office was returned for non-sufficient funds. What happens now?
A $25.00 or 10% penalty (whichever is greater) will be charged for any check returned due to insufficient funds, plus any additional interest and penalty, plus any criminal penalties provided by law (NCGS 105-357(b)(2)). Tax receipts are null and void if payment is made with a check that fails to clear the bank. Payment for a returned check should be made by cash, money order or certified funds. Legal process to collect funds includes issuance of a warrant for criminal offense.

Return to Top

What do I have to do if I want to move my mobile home?

It is illegal to move a mobile home without a mobile home moving permit. There are three requirements to be eligible for a permit: mobile home is listed for taxation for the current year, the current year’s taxes are paid in full, and back taxes are paid in full. Mobile Home Moving Permits are issued in the Hillsborough office only.

Return to Top

When will I get my income tax refund? 
Orange County Tax Office is unable to assist you with your state or federal income tax questions or forms. You may contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue at 877-252-3052, or 877-252-4052 for refund information.Contact the IRS for Federal Tax Information at 800-829-1040.

Return to Top

Are the city and county property taxes I pay deductible on my state or federal income tax return?
If you have questions about deducting County taxes on your state or federal income tax returns, please contact your tax advisor. 

Return to Top

Does Orange County sell Tax Lien Certificates?

Orange County does NOT sell Tax Lien Certificates. At one time this was the practice, but it has not been in effect since the 1980s.

Return to Top

Is there a list of pending foreclosures for interested buyers?
Yes, there is a list available on our Web site. However, we do not mail out notices of sale.

Return to Top

Can you pay someone's delinquent taxes and become the owner of the property?
No. paying someone else's taxes will not entitle you to any legal ownership of the property.

Return to Top

How often do you have foreclosures?
The Tax Office schedules foreclosures throughout the year except during December and January. The Chapel Hill Townships are advertised for two weeks prior to the sale in the Chapel Hill Herald. The other townships are advertised in the News of Orange for two weeks prior to the sale. The Notices of Sale are also posted on the Courthouse bulletin board for 20 days prior to the sale.

Return to Top

What is the procedure during the foreclosure?
The property is offered for sale by the Sheriff's Department at 12:00 Noon on the front steps of the County Courthouse on Margaret Lane in Hillsborough. The bidding starts at the judgment amount, plus interest, costs and sheriff's commission. The highest bidder at public sale shall be required to pay IN FULL (not make a deposit) the amount of the successful bid at the conclusion of the execution sale (subject to the confirmation of the sale as by law provided). After the auction a Report of Sale is filed and there is a 10-day waiting period in which an upset bid can be filed.

Return to Top

Does a property have to be delinquent for multiple years to be subject to foreclosure?
No. After the tax lien advertisement in March of each year any advertised property is subject to foreclosure.

Return to Top

What type of deed will I receive if I am the purchaser at a tax foreclosure sale?

You will receive a NON-WARRANTED SHERIFF'S DEED. There are no warranties of title. Property is sold AS IS.

Return to Top

I thought this service was covered in my tax bill, no one ever told me there was a charge.
Charging for this service took effect in October of 1996. The fees are used to offset the costs of providing emergency medical services to the citizens.

Return to Top

I didn’t ride in an ambulance, the car just came out to my house. Why am I getting a bill?
There is a charge for advanced treatment whether or not a transport is provided.

Return to Top

I never received a bill for this service, I didn’t realize there was a charge.
The bills are generated within 15 days of service and the bills are mailed to the address given at time of transport.

Return to Top

Will you file with my insurance company for this bill?
Yes, our office will file claims to your insurance company. We must have a signed medical release form from you on file. We may file up to the deadline imposed by the insurance companies. Medicare will accept claims up to 18 months from the date of service; Medicaid has a deadline of 12 months from the date of service. Private insurance companies require that the claim be filed within 6 months of the date of service.

Return to Top

I gave my insurance information at the hospital and the insurance paid them.  Why didn’t you file with my insurance?
The tax office is not connected with the hospital or its database. Therefore, we are unable to obtain that data from the hospital. You are our only source for your insurance information, and you must provide us with it in order for us to file your claim. An insurance release form (pdf) is presented at time of transport. If a patient is not able to complete and sign at the time of transport an insurance release form is mailed with the original bill. That form must be completed, signed, and returned to our office before we may file your claim.

Return to Top

This is a workman’s compensation claim.  Why are you billing me?
The tax office must obtain the workman’s compensation insurance company’s name and a claim number from you in order to file the claim with them.

Return to Top

Can I make monthly payments on my account?
Yes, we work with everyone on an individual basis, so it does not cause any hardship for anyone.

Return to Top

The last time I was transported the charge was different. Why did this transport cost more?
There are different levels of service. The fee schedule is set according to the level of service and/or transport provided.

Return to Top

Can Orange County use legal measures to collect my Ambulance Fee?
Legal process can be pursued 120 days after transport if no insurance payment is pending and/or there has been no response made by you to the bills that we have sent out. 

Return to Top

How can I find information on properties?

Start your search at the Land Records Property Search page. You can use the property tax ID, subdivision, address or owner's name to obtain the information. Or use the interactive map. On the top left of the search page is a url that takes you to the map. Search tools are located on the left and the map layers on the right. The default tool is zoom-in. On the map go to the area where the property is located and click down on the left mouse button, holding the button down. Move your curser up and to the right of the area forming a box. Release the mouse button and it will zoom in. The closer you go the more map layers are turned on. On the layers you will see that a black dot has appeared next to the Parcel layer. When you see the property you are interested in click on the identity tool (the middle right tool that is a black dot with the letter i. Then click on the property and the information will pop up in a new window. The property on the map should turn yellow indicating it has been selected. If you want more information click on the Summary menu choice on the orange banner above the map. Click Here and accept disclaimer information to go to the search page.

Return to Top

Where can I find a property by its address?

The best place to start your search is the Address Search web page. On the Address search menu choose Find Addresses by Street Name and choose the street name from list. A list of addresses from that street will display for your choosing. Address search page

Return to Top

How can I get a map of my property?

There are several ways to get a map of your property. Ccome to the Land Records office in Hillsborough and a staff members will assist you in printing a map. A recorded plat of your property can be obtained at the Register Of Deeds office. You can also print one from the internet. Click Here and accept disclaimer information to go to the search page.

Return to Top

How do I find/determine who controls zoning for a particular property/parcel/lot?

Contact the Planning Department for zoning information.

Return to Top

How can I get GIS map coverages (layers)?

We are able to put shapefiles and coverages on cds or dvds. You can call us at (919)245-2504 to get pricing and media format options.

Return to Top

How can I get a map of the County?

We have a standard county-wide map which has streets and parcels. The size is 36"WX50"H and the cost is $25. Other maps are available at different sizes and cost. You can print a page-size map from our website of the area or property you are interested in.

Return to Top

How can I get a new address for my property? Who do I contact if my address is not showing in the Address search list?

Addresses are obtained by contacting the addressing authority for each address jurisdictions. In the County jurisdiction your new address is assigned when you apply for a building permit or when your road name changes.You can call the following numbers to request information on obtaining a new address.

  • Carrboro   (919) 918-7328
  • Chapel Hill  (919) 968-2833
  • Hillsborough   (919) 732-1270 X73
  • Mebane  (919) 563-5901
  • Orange County (919) 245-2500, X4 then X2

Return to Top

What if my house is still under construction?
Ongoing construction, whether it is new construction or repair work, must be listed on your property listing abstract that is mailed out late December each year. The area for noting the construction is on the back of the form. It asks "Is there new construction here?" and then asks "Percent Complete January 1st.". If there is construction, answer "yes" and fill in your estimate of the percent of the entire dwelling that is complete

Return to Top

Why do we have revaluation?

Revaluation is mandated by the North Carolina General Statutes governing property tax assessments; and it is necessary in order to maintain equitable and uniform property values among property owners throughout the county.

Return to Top

How are revaluation values determined?

The Tax Assessor's Office has an in-house appraisal team. The staff conducts field inspections, develops and analyzes sales files, and monitors market trends. The Tax Assessor works to ensure that property values have been accurately and equitably appraised throughout the county.

Return to Top

How do I request a review of my revaluation estimate?

The Assessor and his staff are available to answer questions or discuss concerns about your value.  Assessment appeal forms have been developed to assist residents in the revaluation appeals. Please visit the appeals page for more information.

Return to Top

How do I qualify for an exemption for the elderly and disabled?

A preliminary list of requirements for relief programs including the Homestead Exemption and Circuit Breaker is available online.

Return to Top

What is the "Use Program," and how do I qualify?

The Land Use Program allows for reduced tax values of individually owned property involved in agricultural, horticultural, or forestry management. Basic eligibility requirements for available on the Relief Programs page.

Return to Top

What if I own a licensed (tagged) motor vehicle?

Licensed Motor Vehicles and Trailers are listed automatically when you register or renew your motor vehicle or trailer registration through the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. A licensed trailer includes any trailer that requires a registration, such as boat trailers, utility trailers, or camping trailers. Taxpayers receive a separate tax bill for each licensed motor vehicle or trailer approximately 3 months after it is registered.

Return to Top

What if I own an unlicensed (untagged) motor vehicle or single wide mobile home?

Personal property like singlewide mobile homes, campers, boats, and trailers, for example, are valued according to size and year. Motor vehicles are valued by year, make and model, in accordance with the "N. C. Vehicle Valuation Manual".

Return to Top