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Welcome to the Johnston County, North Carolina Tax Administration Office.  Tax Administrator is Sheila Garner


Frequently asked questions


Q: Where is the Tax Office Located?
A: We are in downtown Smithfield on the 2nd floor of the Johnston County Court House.  207 E. Johnston St. Smithfield, NC


Q: What are the Tax Office hours?
A: Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm


Q: When can I expect to receive my annual tax bill?
A: Taxes on real property, personal property, and business personal property are billed each year in July and the tax statements are mailed before August 1st.  Registered motor vehicle taxes are included in your NCDMV renewal notice.


Q: When are property taxes due?
A: Property taxes are due and payable on September 1st of each year. The taxpayer has until the following January 5th to pay without penalty or interest. Interest begins on January 6th and is 2% for the first month and 3/4% for each month thereafter.


Q: What if I didn't receive a tax bill?
A: You may view or print a copy of your tax statement at www.jcto.org/paytaxes


Q: My mortgage company is supposed to pay the property taxes.  Why am I receiving a bill?
A: The statement is for your records only.  Mortgage companies request data for their accounts directly from the Tax Office and will remit payment prior to the end of the calendar year.


Q: What if I sold the property and still receive a tax bill?
A: Taxes are billed in the name of the January 1st owner.  However, the statements are mailed to the owner of record as of June 30th.  If you receive a bill for property you no longer own, you may forward it to the new owner.


Q: Can I make payment arrangements?
A: Payments arrangements are available for current year taxes up to the time they become delinquent.  We cannot accept payment arrangements on prior year, unpaid taxes.  Complete a payment agreement and return it to the Tax Collections office or call 919-989-5120 for additional information.


Q: What action is taken if taxes are not paid before they become delinquent?
A: Our goal is to work with taxpayers to insure that all bills are paid in a timely manner.  Delinquent taxes are collectable by wage garnishment, bank attachment, seizure of vehicle, attachment of your NC State Tax Refund, and foreclosure.


Q: How do I obtain receipts for taxes I have paid?
A: You can print a duplicate receipt for real property, personal property, and business personal property taxes at www.jcto.org/paytaxes.   You may also visit the tax office for duplicate tax receipts.  Or you can send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a written request to: The Johnston County Tax Collector PO Box 451 Smithfield, NC 27577.

To obtain a receipt for registered motor vehicle taxes, visit the NCDMV website.


Q: What is the difference between Real Property and Personal Property?
A:  All taxable property is to be listed as either real property or personal property.  The following paragraph provides basic information and will assist in defining the two property types. The requirements for the listing and appraising of real property differ from the requirements for the listing and appraising of personal property.  Detailed information about the two distinct types of property and the taxpayer's responsibilities can be found in either the Real Property or the Personal Property section of our website.


Real property consist of land and everything that is attached to the land (buildings and other improvements) when the attachment is made with the intention that it be permanent.

Examples of Real Property include:

  • Vacant land
  • A house and lot in a subdivision
  • Buildings attached to land (warehouse, storage building, detached garage)
  •  Some Manufactured Homes
  • Other improvements to land (concrete paving, fence, swimming pool)

Personal property is essentially all property that is not considered real property.  It is relatively easy to pick up and move from one location to another.  Personal property can be classified as tangible, when the item has physical form (boat, airplane, camper) or intangible, when the property itself has no physical form (promissory note, patent, copyright).  Personal property can be owned by an individual or by a business.

Examples of Individual Personal Property include:

  • Unlicensed vehicles, which are those not having an active North Carolina registration on January 1 of a year, including  automobiles, trucks trailers, campers and motorcycles.
  • Vehicles registered with a International Registration Plan (IRP) Plate with the NCDMV
  • Vehicles with permanent multiyear tags issued by the NCDMV
  • Boats, Boat Motors, Jet Skis, etc.
  • Aircraft, including Hot Air balloons, Ultra lights and Gliders
  • Manufactured Homes that are not listed as real property


Q: How are motor vehicles taxed?
A: The Tag & Tax Together program combines your Licensed North Carolina Vehicle registration fees and property taxes into one renewal notice.  The NCDMV will mail you an invitation to renew and you will make payment directly to their office. 

Unlicensed vehicles, which are those not having an active North Carolina registration on January 1st of a year, should be listed as personal property each and every year.


Q: Are there any programs available to assist in lowering my tax liability?
A:  North Carolina offers property tax relief to qualified property owners who are elderly, disabled and to permanently disabled veterans.  The Present Use Valuation Program enables property owners who use their land for horticultural, agricultural, or forestry purposes to receive a significant tax reduction provided the owner and the land meet all the statutory requirements.  Some types of property may be eligible for a property tax exemption.  All of these programs require the property owner to complete an application and all information must be verified by the tax office.  Visit the Property Tax Relief section of our website for additional information.