North Carolina use tax is due by individuals and businesses on tangible personal property and certain digital property purchased, leased or rented inside or outside this State for storage, use, or consumption in North Carolina. Use tax is due on taxable services sourced to North Carolina. Individuals and businesses must pay use tax when retailers do not collect tax on taxable transactions. Retailers that are not “engaged in business” in this State are not required to collect North Carolina’s tax. Some out-of-state retailers voluntarily collect North Carolina tax as a convenience to their customers. Retailers that are not “engaged in business” may include mail-order companies, television shopping networks, firms selling over the internet, and other retailers.
Items subject to sales and use tax include but are not limited to the following:
• Computers and other electronic equipment
• Prewritten software including electronic downloads of software
• Books, books on tape, and digital books delivered or accessed electronically
• Audio compact discs, tapes, and records
• Digital music delivered or accessed electronically
• Magazines and newspapers including those delivered or accessed electronically
• Clothing, appliances, furniture, home furnishings, sporting goods, and jewelry
• Movies delivered or accessed electronically
• Sales or recharges of prepaid telephone calling cards and phones
The use tax is calculated at the same rate as the sales tax. For January 1, 2013 through March 31, 2013, the rate was 7.25% in Mecklenburg County, 7% in Alexander, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Halifax, Haywood, Hertford, Lee, Martin, Montgomery, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pitt, Randolph, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Surry and Wilkes Counties, and 6.75% in all other counties. For April 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, the rate was 7.5% in Durham and Orange Counties, 7.25% in Mecklenburg County, 7% in Alexander, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Haywood, Hertford, Lee, Martin, Montgomery, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Randolph, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Surry and Wilkes Counties, and 6.75% in all other counties. If you paid another state’s sales or use tax that was legally due on out-of-state purchases, that amount may be credited against the North Carolina use tax due. You may not claim a credit for sales tax or value-added tax paid to another country.
You should report use tax on purchases of food subject to the reduced rate of tax on Form E-554 and use tax on purchases of boats and aircraft on Form E-555.