North Carolina’s Vehicle Property Tax: Is it Constitutional?

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Each year, car owners in North Carolina must renew their car registrations, which often leads to complaints about having to pay personal property taxes on their vehicles. Many wonder whether this practice is legal and constitutional. In this article, we will verify the legality of North Carolina’s vehicle property tax and provide a comprehensive explanation of the law. Let’s dive in and explore the facts.

Understanding North Carolina’s Property Tax Laws

To verify the constitutionality of North Carolina’s vehicle property tax, we consulted attorney Gary Money, a lawyer and partner at Monte PLLC. According to North Carolina law, all real and personal property within the jurisdiction of the state is subject to taxation. Most forms of taxation have been repeatedly upheld as constitutional by state courts and appellate courts.

How the Property Tax is Assessed

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) states that the counties are responsible for assessing the value of motor vehicles registered with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles. The property tax on vehicles is paid simultaneously with the vehicle’s registration renewal fee.

The amount of property tax imposed on each vehicle is determined based on the car’s value. Generally, a vehicle’s value is considered higher when it is brand new compared to a used car. In other words, a car that has just been driven off the lot will likely have a higher tax compared to a car that has been deemed a junkyard car, which will have a lower tax value due to its decreased worth.

Consequences of Non-Payment

It is important to comply with North Carolina’s vehicle property tax requirements, as failing to pay the tax can result in fines and other potential repercussions. The DMV states that there is an interest charge applied to late vehicle property tax payments.

Verifying the Constitutionality of North Carolina’s Vehicle Property Tax

Based on our research and consultation with legal experts, we can confidently verify that North Carolina’s requirement for vehicle owners to pay personal property taxes on their cars is neither unconstitutional nor illegal. The state has the authority to impose taxes on personal and real property within its jurisdiction, as outlined in its general statutes.


In conclusion, North Carolina’s vehicle property tax is fully constitutional and legal. Car owners should be aware of their obligation to pay the tax along with their annual registration renewal fee. Failure to comply with this requirement can lead to fines and other potential consequences. By understanding and abiding by the law, vehicle owners can fulfill their tax responsibilities and contribute to the functioning of their local communities. Stay informed, stay compliant, and enjoy the privilege of vehicle ownership in the state of North Carolina.

With this verification, we can put to rest any doubts or concerns about the constitutionality of North Carolina’s vehicle property tax. As experts in law, we strive to provide accurate information and address common questions and misconceptions. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this topic, feel free to reach out to us. Happy driving!

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