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Frequently Asked Questions

Taxes

Tax Auctions

Ambulance Billing

Land Records/GIS

Addressing

Assessment

Revaluation

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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

Contact the Planning Department for zoning information.

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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.

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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.

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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

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I have a question about my address, who do I contact?

Orange County Addresses:

addressing@orangecountync.gov

Margaret Jones         919-245-2287

Britney Pendleton      919-245-2576

Tammy Hicks Walker 919-245-2505

If your address is within one of these municipalities, you can contact:

Town of Carrboro:       Ruth Heaton rheaton@townofcarrboro.org             (919) 918-7328

Town of Chapel Hill:     Deborah Squires dsquires@townofchapelhill.org    (919) 969-5089

City of Mebane:           Montrena Hadley  mhadley@cityofmebane.com    (919) 563-9990

Town of Hillsborough:  Margaret Hauth Margaret.Hauth@hillsboroughnc.org                 (919) 732-1270 ext. 86

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What is the process for getting a new address assigned for new construction?

For new construction, addresses are assigned as part of the Building Permit process.

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I would like to place the appropriate address sign for my home, but I am unsure if my address is in compliance. How can I check?

Please contact us and verify that your address is in compliance.

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My address will be changed, what do I need to do?

If your address is being changed, you will received a new address packet that contains information on what steps to take.

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My neighborhood is on an un-named private drive with three or more homes, what do I need to do?

Please first contact us and verify that your road needs to be named. We can then give you more information on the next steps to take.

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How can I check existing street names?

You can check using the Orange Address Database for a listing of street names within Orange County. http://server2.co.orange.nc.us/Addresses/index.asp

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What about my mailbox?

For all questions about your mailbox, please contact your local Post Office or

mail carrier.

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Where can I get an address sign?

To see the requirements for address signs, please see section 6-35 (e) of the ordinance.

http://orangecountync.gov/assessor/documents/RoadNamingandAddressingOrdinance.pdf

Fire Stations that sell reflective signs:

Orange Rural (Hillsborough)                          206 S. Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Eno                                                                         5019 US 70 E Durham, NC 27705

New Hope                                                      4012 Whitfield Rd Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Orange Grove                                        6800 Orange Grove Rd Hillsborough, NC 27278

White Cross                                          5722 Old Greensboro Rd Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Caldwell                                                           7020 Guess Rd Rougemont, NC 27572

Carrboro 2                                                 1411 Homestead Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Cedar Grove 1                                            5912 Penecost Rd, Cedar Grove, NC  27231

Cedar Grove 2                                                720 Hawkins Rd, Cedar Grove, NC 27231

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Where can I get a street sign?

There are several companies online and locally in the yellow pages that sell street signs.

For specific requirements on street signs, Section 6-34(D.1) of the Orange County Addressing Ordinance states: 
    “Signs for public or private roads or drives shall conform with the physical standards set forth in the United States Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).”

The section reference in the MUTCD is 2D.43 - “Street Name Signs” and can be found in PDF and HTML format at: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/kno_2009r1r2.htm

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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What is a revaluation?

Revaluation is a process by which all property tax assessments within a taxing jurisdiction (Orange County) are reassessed to their market value as of a specific revaluation date.  It also is sometimes called a reappraisal or mass appraisal.  The tax office, in this process, reassesses all real property (land, buildings and other improvements to the land) as of the revaluation date.  Arms-length market sales are used to estimate new tax assessments during this process as well as other market data such as income/expense information and market building cost information.  This updated tax assessment is effective, generally, until the next countywide revaluation.  Orange County’s next revaluation date is January 01, 2017, and tax assessments should reflect market value as of that date once the revaluation is completed.

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Why have a revaluation?

The State of North Carolina requires counties to conduct a revaluation at least once every eight years (NCGS 105 – 286a).  Its purpose is to redistribute the tax burden based on current market data.  As time elapses between revaluations, properties may increase or decrease in market value at different rates.  The State of North Carolina charges counties with assessing property based on current market data as of each revaluation date.

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Will all property values change during a revaluation?

Most likely, yes.  However, not all property values will change at the same percentage.  Market values may have increased or decreased more for some neighborhoods and property types than for others.  One purpose of a revaluation is to ensure assessed values reflect changes that have occurred in the marketplace since the last countywide revaluation.

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Why appraise at market value?

North Carolina General Statute 105 – 283 requires counties to assess all property, both real and personal property, at its true value in money.  True value shall be interpreted as meaning market value.  NCGS 105 – 284 establishes a uniform assessment standard.  This standard in effect penalizes counties if they are not assessing property at market value as of the date of last revaluation. 

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When does the revaluation take effect?

Typical countywide revaluations take between 18 – 24 months to complete.  Staff of the Orange County Tax Office has been reviewing market sales, compiling studies and maintaining a list of current tax base inventory since the last revaluation, January 01, 2009.  Tax office appraisers began reviewing all properties for the 2017 revaluation in mid-2014.  Our current goal is to complete the process by the fourth quarter of 2016.  The resulting values will be effective January 01, 2017.  Real property tax bills mailed in July, 2017 will reflect the new revaluation tax assessment.

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Who will do the work of reviewing properties for the revaluation?

The Orange County Tax Office is conducting this revaluation “in-house”.  This means our own personnel in the tax office will be evaluating properties along with current market data and establishing new tax assessments.  By having the revaluation conducted with current personnel, we feel this will yield a high-quality revaluation and better tax assessments for your tax dollars.

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When can I find out my new tax assessment?

New value notices should be mailed to all taxpayers who own real property in Orange County between January, 2017 and March, 2017.

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Will my taxes change as a result of revaluation?

Although the value of your property does affect your share of taxes, the actual amount you pay is determined by budgetary needs of the jurisdictions in which your property is located (county, city, fire districts, etc.).  Governing boards of these taxing units decide what services the jurisdiction will provide in the coming year and how much money the jurisdiction will need to provide these services.  A tax rate is then adopted to generate the necessary tax dollars.

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How are market values determined?

Various tools are used to extract data from the market.  Sales files, sales questionnaires, multiple listing service, revenue stamps, cost books and ratio studies are a few examples.  The best source for establishing residential market values is arms-length sales of reasonably comparable properties.  Such properties are similar in location, age, style, condition and other features that may have an effect on market value.

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What if I disagree with my new tax assessment?

Instructions for appeal will be included with your new value notice.  The first appeal level is an informal hearing with an Orange County Tax Office appraiser.  Orange County will make personnel available to hold informal hearings with the property owner.  During this informal session, the property record card is reviewed and you may request an actual site visit to your property.  North Carolina General Statutes put the burden of proof on the property owner to show that a tax assessment is inaccurate.  Keep in mind that the informal review will be to ensure your property is assessed at 100% of its fair market value as of the revaluation date, January 01, 2017.  Therefore, an informal appeal could result in an increase, decrease or no change in assessment.  A change in assessment will be considered only if the owner can demonstrate that the assessed value is more or less than market value as of January 01, 2017, or that it is inconsistent with assessments of similar properties.  Assessments cannot be appealed based on (1) the percent of increase/decrease or (2) the taxpayer’s ability to pay the tax.  The tax office will send results of informal appeals via mail.  The second level of appeal is to the Orange County Board of Equalization and Review.  North Carolina then has a State Property Tax Commission that hears advanced appeals.

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