Frequently Asked Questions

QWhy is the state's collection of vehicle property taxes changing?
AIn 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified House Bill 1779 to create a combined motor vehicle registration renewal and property tax collection system. The legislation places the responsibility for motor vehicle property tax collection for the state’s 100 counties with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The new combined registration fee and tax collection has become North Carolina’s new “Tag & Tax System.”Top
QWhen does the new Tag & Tax System take effect?
AThe new system is scheduled to be phased into effect with vehicle registration renewals that are due in September 2013. By June 2014, all North Carolina vehicles will be enrolled in the system.Top
QWhy has my registration renewal form changed?
AThe new form combines information about your vehicle registration renewal fee and your vehicle property tax due. The new Tag & Tax System allows you to make one payment for both registration renewal and vehicle property tax. Top
QWhen is my vehicle tax due?
AYour vehicle tax will be due at the same time you renew your vehicle. North Carolina law requires that your vehicle property tax be paid in order to renew the vehicle registration. The due date will be printed on the new combined notice that you receive in the mail. Top
QCan I renew my vehicle registration if I do not pay my property tax first?
ANo. You cannot renew your vehicle’s registration, whether it is leased or owned, unless the total taxes and registration fees on the vehicle are paid. Top
QAm I paying vehicle property taxes for the coming year, or for the preceding year?
ATaxes due on this notice are for the coming year, covering the same period as the vehicle registration. Top
QIs interest charged on late payments?
AYes. State law requires that interest be charged on late vehicle property tax payments and on late registration renewals.Top
QHow will I know what vehicle property tax I owe?
AYour property tax will be included on the new combined notice with your county and municipality tax rates and other applicable taxes due. Top
QWhat if I lease my vehicle? Do I need to pay my property taxes to the leasing company?
ANo. Vehicle property taxes on leased motor vehicles must be paid in full at the time of renewal. A copy of the combined tag and tax notice is not sent to the leasing company.Top
QWill I receive a tax refund if I transfer my license plate to another vehicle during the year?
ANo. If you have paid your vehicle property tax for the year and then transfer the license plate to another vehicle, you will not be eligible for a refund of the taxes paid. The registered motor vehicle to which the plates are transferred will not be taxed until its current registration is renewed. Top
QWhen can I apply for a refund of vehicle property taxes paid?
AAn owner can apply for a refund of taxes paid when a motor vehicle is sold or registered out of state. The refund will be calculated on any full calendar months remaining in the registration period after the license plate is surrendered to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. Within one year of surrendering the license plates, the owner must present the following to the county tax office: (1) Proof of plate surrender to N.C. DMV (DMV Form FS20); and (2) Copy of the Bill of Sale or the new state’s registration. License plates can be surrendered to your local License Plate Agency or mailed to: NC DMV Vehicle Registration Section, 3148 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-3148. You may fax a copy of your FS20 form and bill of sale or new state’s registration to 336-727-2369. Top
QShould I pay vehicle property tax if I am active duty military?
AActive duty non-resident military personnel may be exempt from North Carolina motor vehicle property tax. To qualify for an exemption, you must present a copy of your Leave & Earnings Statement to the county tax office. The statement should be for the month and year in which you register the vehicle and must include your Estimated Time of Separation (ETS) date and home of record.Top
QWill I still receive a registered motor vehicle property tax bill from Forsyth County?
AThe county will still be billing vehicle taxes for registrations made through August 2013. If you have not paid a tax bill that was due on or before December 1, 2013 – past due January 1, 2014 – you will continue to receive past due bills from the tax office to be paid to the Forsyth County Tax Office.Top
QWho do I contact with questions concerning tax value and jurisdiction?
AThe Forsyth County Tax Office will still handle value and taxing jurisdiction issues. Our phone number is 336-703-2300.Top
QWhere do I file an appeal of value?
AAppeals must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the due date of your registration to the Forsyth County Tax Office, P. O. Box 757, Winston-Salem, NC, 27102. They must include a detailed description of condition and/or a copy of your last inspection statement showing high mileage if applicable.Top
QWhy am I receiving a Forsyth County tax bill after September, 2013?
A If your vehicle registration has an August 2013 expiration date or earlier, you will still receive a bill from Forsyth County which is to be paid to the county tax office. The last bills to be sent from the tax office will be due December 1, 2013 and past due January 1, 2014. Any past due county tax bills should also be paid to the county. Top
QWhat happens if I do not pay my Forsyth County vehicle tax bill?
AInterest continues to accrue on past due bills. Collection remedies are still in force. The tax department can still block registrations, attach wages, bank accounts, and state income tax refunds. A past due bill can also be reported to the credit bureau. Top
QWhat if I receive a combined vehicle registration renewal and property tax notice for a vehicle that I no longer own and have transferred the plate to another vehicle?
ADMV will not automatically send a corrected notice. You must contact the NC Division of Motor Vehicles Help Line at 919-814-1779 and speak to a customer service representative. Ask the representative to issue you a notice on the vehicle you now have and you should receive it by mail within 5 to 10 days. Please note that interest will be charged on the taxes and registration fee if paid after the due date printed on your registration notice. Top
QWhat if I receive a combined tag and tax together notice for a vehicle and a plate that I no longer own?
AThe tax and registration fee are only due if you choose to renew your plate. If you no longer own the vehicle and have returned the plate to DMV or no longer wish to renew it, please disregard the notice.Top
QWhere do I send my payment for the combined vehicle property tax and registration fee?
AThe DMV collects vehicle taxes as well as registration fees. They offer 3 different payment options. You may use their online application at or visit your local License Plate Agency. Payments should be made payable to NC DMV and are accepted by mail at the following address: NCDMV, P. O. Box 29620, Raleigh, NC 27626. DMV registration questions may be answered by calling 919-814-1779.Top
QHow can I find out what vehicle taxes I paid for income tax purposes?
AThe total amount of property tax you paid is printed along with your registration. DMV is currently working towards making payment information available through their website in 2016. Since the county no longer collects these payments we are unable to issue you a receipt or maintain the information on our website. If you cannot locate your DMV registration receipt you may contact our office at 336-703-2300. Please have your license plate number(s) available in order to assure prompt service.Top
QMy mortgage lender sent a letter stating my Property Taxes were paid but it is not showing paid when I contact Forsyth County or check the website. Why?
AUsually, because the payments go through a process with a servicing agent. This process could take up to a month to be received by the tax office.Top
QWhat is the North Carolina Debt Set Off Program?
AIt allows counties and cities to garnish state income tax returns and/or State Lottery winnings to collect delinquent debts.Top
QI paid my bill using “online bill pay”. The money is back in my account and I have received a past due bill with interest. Why?
AUsually this happens when an incorrect account number is used. This will result in a rejected payment. If your payment is rejected electronically, interest charges may accrue if the bill becomes past due. If you choose to use this payment method be sure the online bill payment program that you use will allow you to change the full account number.Top
QI received a tax bill on property I owned on January 1 but sold during the year. Why?
AUnder North Carolina General Statue 105-285, property taxes are billed annually in the name of the owner of record as of January 1. A duplicate bill is also sent to the current owner. The property tax bill is mailed to you for this reason. However, North Carolina Session Law 2006-106 relieves the seller of liability for property taxes assessed on real property when the seller transfers the property before the taxes become past due. This law authorizes the Tax Collector to enforce payment by all legal means against the owner of the property (and any subsequent owner) as of the date taxes become past due.Top
QI received a tax bill on property I purchased during the year. Do I owe the full amount?
AUsually, taxes are prorated at the time of the transfer of ownership. To determine if your taxes were prorated at the time of closing, please contact your realtor or closing attorney. The best way to make sure there are no issues regarding unpaid taxes is to request that the taxes are paid upon the closing of the transaction. If current year taxes are not yet due, we will accept prepayments based on the previous year’s bill.Top
QWhat are the different methods available to pay my tax bill?
ABy US mail, in person between 8:00 am - 5:00 pm at 201 North Chestnut St., Winston-Salem, NC (please note; if payments are made in person the only forms of payments accepted are cash, check, or money order). Credit card and e-check payments are accepted online. If paying by a credit card or a non-VISA debit card: the fee is 2.35% of the total amount due with a minimum fee of $1.95. If paying by VISA consumer debit card the fee is $3.95. To pay by e-Check the fee is $1.50 up to $9,999.99. A drop box is available anytime, which is located next to the parking deck entrance.Top
QHow do I appeal the value of my property?
AIf you do not agree with the value, you may appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review by filling out a BER Appeal Form. You may request a form by contacting our office during normal business hours, or you may print your form online by accessing your property on Geo Data. The timeframe to appeal is from January 1 until June 30 for 2016.Top
QHow often does Forsyth County assess property?
ANCGS 105.286 requires each county to reappraise real property. The law also allows counties to reappraise more frequently at its discretion. Forsyth County has generally performed reappraisals every four years since 1988, which lessens the shift in values that occur over an eight year period.Top
QWhy did my Pin Number change?
AThis usually occurs when a mapping change has been done to an existing real estate parcel.Top
QI just purchased my property and your website still shows the old owner’s name and mailing address. Do you have record of my purchase?
AOnce Forsyth County tax records are updated, our website usually takes a few weeks to show updated ownership information.Top
QHow often is the tax rate adjusted?
AThe amount of property tax you pay is based upon the value of your property and the tax rate is determined by your local government annually.Top
QWhat do I need to do to avoid being penalized?
AN.C.G.S. 105-307 states tax listing forms should be completed, signed, and received in the tax office or postmarked by the U.S. Post Office by January 31 of each year unless the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners extends the listing period. Faxed listings are accepted.  Personal property listings also may be made online beginning January 2016.Top
QHow do I remove personal property from my listing form that I sold or transferred during the previous year?
ADuring the current listing period you may mark through the entry and explain what happened to the property: example; date sold, date junked, etc., sign and return the listing. If you need to report this after the current listing period is over, we will need a copy of a bill of sale indicating when the item was sold in order to consider an adjustment.Top
QDo I still have to pay taxes for a full year on the personal property that I sold after January 1?
AYes, you are taxed based on what property you owned on January 1. Additionally, you will need to mark through the item on your next year’s listing form.Top
QDo I have to list my property?
AN.C.G.S. 105-285 states that all taxpayers that own real estate, personal property, or business personal property as of January 1 must list by January 31 of each year. There is a 10% penalty based on the personal/ business personal property tax added for each listing period that is late or missed. Real estate with no improvements made during the past year is automatically listed and is not penalized for failure to list timely.Top
QWhat types of property are included as personal and should be listed?
AUnregistered vehicles or vehicles without a current tag as of January 1 should be listed. Permanently tagged, multi-year vehicles/trailers and ATV’s should also be listed as personal property. Other items that should be listed include manufactured homes, watercraft, horse tack and farm tractors. Do not list household items, livestock, personal golf carts, and residential lawn tractor/mowers. Please call the tax office at 336-703-2300 if you have a question regarding what property should be listed.Top
QDo I have to list my dogs and cats?
ANo. Dogs and Cats are licensed through Forsyth County Animal Control. Please call 336-703-2480 if you would like more information.Top
QHow do I list my property with the County tax office?
AIf you listed personal property in Forsyth County last year or own real estate as of January 1, you should receive a listing form in the mail on or before January 1. If you are listing for the first time or have not received your listing form in the mail you may call us at 336-703-2300 or visit the Tax office on the first floor of the Forsyth County Government Center at 201 N. Chestnut Street in Winston-Salem between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.Top
QHow do I appeal the value of my personal property?
AOwners of personal property and business personal property have 30 days from the date of their first notice or bill to appeal assessed value. Appeals should be submitted in writing to the Tax Assessor's Office and include the item's original purchase price, full description, condition and any other supporting documentation, if needed. An appeal form is located on our website under the "Forms" section and is titled Board of Equalization and Review Personal Property Appeal Form.Top
QHow do I apply for the elderly or permanently disabled homestead exemption, disabled veteran’s exemption, or the circuit breaker program?
AYou need to submit a completed application on or before June 1. You can obtain an application by checking the box in section “D” on your listing form or call the office at 336-703-2300 and one will be mailed to you. You may also stop by the office during business hours. You must meet certain criteria to qualify. More information is provided on the website or in the enclosed brochure included with your listing form.Top
QWhat is business personal property?
ABusiness personal property is movable property that is used in a trade or business. This type of property is subject to property tax throughout North Carolina.Top
QIf I close my business is the personal property still taxable?
AWhen a business ceases operation, the property remains taxable in Forsyth County unless it is converted into household personal property, moved out of Forsyth County or is sold or discarded. Household personal property is defined as property that could normally be found at a home. Business personal property is taxable as of January 1 of each year.Top
QWhat information should a taxpayer provide the Tax Assessor’s Office if they close their business?
AThe taxpayer should complete the out of business section on the business personal property listing form and sign the document. In the out of business section, the taxpayer should indicate when the business closed and what happened to the assets. The taxpayer needs to state whether the assets were sold, discarded and/or donated, moved out of Forsyth County, converted to household personal property or were involved in a bankruptcy. The taxpayer should also provide any other relevant information concerning the taxability of the assets in question. The taxpayer should provide the name and address of the purchaser of the assets, if the assets were sold.Top
QIf I receive a rejection letter about my original listing, do I make the corrections on this listing or do I need another listing form?
AMake the corrections on the listing form that was sent back to you. A new listing form is not necessary.Top
QIf the listing form is blank, do I need to complete Section B every year?
AYes, total historical cost of the assets by the correct year of acquisition is required in Schedule B. If these cost numbers are not preprinted, you need to enter them on Schedule B.Top
QOn Schedule B the numbers are preprinted. Can I change them?
AYes, if the preprinted numbers are not correct, you need to draw a line through the incorrect preprinted number and enter the correct number. For example, under the Computer Equip/Software column on Schedule B there is a figure of $2,000 representing two computers costing $1,000 each. If one of these computers is discarded, draw a line through the $2,000 and write in $1,000, which represents the cost of the remaining computer that was in place on January 1 of the year in question.Top
QI do not have enough space to list all of my mobile homes and/or unregistered vehicles on the listing form. What should I do?
AList them on a separate sheet of paper and include it with your listing form.Top
QHow do I notify the Forsyth County Assessor’s Office concerning the total cost of my professional library?
AList this cost on a separate sheet of paper and include it with your listing form. If you no longer have a professional library, please indicate the date it was disposed.Top
QThe number of mobile homes I own has changed from last year. What do I need to do?
AYou should include a list of the mobile homes owned as of January 1 of the year in question and provide all of the information requested in Schedule D.Top
QI have the same mobile homes that I had last year. Do I still need to list them?
AYes, you are required by NCGS 105-274 to list your mobile homes, as well as, any other personal property.Top
QI do not own a business. Why do I have to list my airplane on a business form?
AThe business personal property listing form is the only form in Forsyth County on which you can list airplanes. The fact that airplanes are often owned by businesses provides the theoretical basis for listing aircraft on a business personal property listing form.Top
QI have some business personal property that I believe is exempt from property taxes. Do I still have to list the property?
AYes, the business personal property needs to be listed. You need to contact a Tax Deferment Specialist with the Forsyth County Assessor’s Office for the applicable exemption forms. The Tax Deferment Specialist will make a determination relative to the validity of the exemption request.Top
Q When can I appeal the value of my business personal property?
A In the absence of a unique valuation notice, the tax bill services as notice of the value of business personal property. All business personal property appeals must be filed with the Tax Assessor, in writing, by September 1st of the year the bill was originally due.Top
QWhy are you revaluing property at this time?
AForsyth County has been conducting 4th year reappraisals since 1988. It is appropriate to re-equalize values periodically to make sure that all property bears its fair share of the tax burden – no more, and no less. A delay would mean that some would pay too much and others would pay less than their fair share.Top
QMay I purchase tax lien certificates from the Tax Collector's Office?
ANorth Carolina State law prohibits the selling of property tax liens.Top
QHow do I acquire a list of properties and sale dates?
AThe Tax Office does not maintain or provide a mailing list of these properties.
When foreclosure properties are ready, the sale dates are posted on the Foreclosures Page on the 2nd floor bulletin board in the Hall of Justice (Second & Main Streets, Winston-Salem and in the Winston-Salem Journal for three weeks prior to sale.

Foreclosure Sale Residual Parcels, awaiting or assigned an auction date, will be listed on the Foreclosure Sale Residual Parcels Page. Prior to the auction, a sale notice will be published in the Winston-Salem Journal, legal classifieds section.

Surplus properties may be viewed on the Surplus Properties Page.Top
QWhere are sales conducted?
AForeclosure Sales are held on the 2nd floor of the Hall of Justice, Second and Main Streets, Winston-Salem, N.C.
QOn what days are the sales held?
ASale dates for foreclosure sales are randomly selected and occur at 12:00 noon.Top
QHow much is required as a deposit on the day of the sale?
AForeclosure Sales require a 5% - 20% of the highest bid (as set out in the Notice of Sale).
QWill Forsyth County accept written or telephone bids?
AOnly bids from auction attendees at the foreclosure sale will be accepted.Top
QWhat type of payment is accepted for the deposit?
ACash, money orders or certified funds are accepted for deposits.Top
QDoes Forsyth County offer financing?
AForsyth County does not offer financing.Top
QWill I be paid interest on my deposit if I am not the highest bidder?
ANo earned interest is paid for funds on deposit.Top
QWhat is the difference between Foreclosure Sales, Foreclosure Sale Residual Parcels, & Surplus Property?
APhase 1: Foreclosure Sales are properties sold due to delinquent tax liens.  The County opens bidding at the amount equal to taxes plus legal costs.  Anyone may offer an amount over the County's bid and obtain ownership upon completion of a 10 day upset bid period.

Phase 2: Foreclosure Sale Residual Parcels  have already completed the tax foreclosure phase and did not sell at the initial foreclosure auction. These parcels may be resold at a later time.

Phase 3: Surplus Properties are parcels that are owned by the County.  The County acquired these properties by becoming the last and highest bidder at their foreclosure sales. These parcels may be purchased directly from the County by submitting a written offer, or by completing the "form for bid" located on the Surplus Properties Page.

 These properties are not to be confused with properties held by the County for its own use.Top
QAre these properties involved in mortgage company, city, or Sheriff's Office foreclosures?
AThese sales are generated from delinquent tax liens ONLY.  They are NOT related to any mortgage company, city, or sheriff's office foreclosures.  The Tax Administration Office has no knowledge of foreclosure proceedings being conducted by a mortgage company, city or sheriff's office.Top
QWhat happens to property when no one places an opening bid at a foreclosure sale?
AIf no initial or upset bid is submitted on a foreclosure property, foreclosure sale properties move into Foreclosure Sale Residual Parcel status and may be made available for purchase at a later auction.  Sale dates will be chosen randomly but advertised on the website and in the Winston-Salem Journal.Top
QWhat happens to property acquired by the County at a foreclosure sale??
AThe property moves into surplus property status, and may be purchased directly from the County by completing and submitting the “offer to purchase” form—available on the Surplus Property Page.

The offer must be mailed to ATTN: Kirby Robinson, Forsyth County , 201 N. Chestnut Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.

Offers may also be deposited in the Tax Collector’s Office drop box (to the right of the entrance to the parking deck), or dropped off with a cashier.

The offer will be reviewed by the County Board of Commissioners; and, if accepted, is subject to a 10-day upset bid.

You will receive notification of the status of your offer by either the County Manager’s or the County Attorney’s Office. (See question: How do I find out if the 10-day upset period has closed out?)Top
QWhere do I go to place an upset bid?
AForeclosure sale upset bids must be submitted in person at the Clerk of Court’s Office, Room #245, Hall of Justice, Second and Main Streets, Winston-Salem, N.C. The court case number must be provided to the Clerk's Office in order for the clerk to access the record. That number is available on the Property Tax Foreclosure Sales site.

Surplus property offers must be submitted to and agreed upon by the Board of Commissioners, and will then be subject to a 10-day upset bid period. Accepted offers will be advertised in the Winston-Salem Journal and subject to a 10-day upset bid. To submit an upset bid on Surplus Properties ONLY, contact the County Manager’s Office at (336)703-2020.Top
QWhat is the required minimum for an upset bid?
AForeclosure upset bids require a 5% increase over the last bid, with a minimum increase of $750.

Surplus property upset bids must be increased by 10% of first $1,000 and 5% of the balance of the most current bid. Top
QDoes the 10-day upset bid period include weekends?
AThe day after the foreclosure sale is recorded counts as Day 1. Saturday and Sunday are also counted; however, if Day 10 falls on the weekend or a holiday, the next working day shall be counted as Day 10.Top
QHow do I find out if the 10-day upset period has closed out?
AInquiries regarding "close out" status of foreclosure sales ONLY, must be made in person at the Clerk of Court's Office, Room 245, Hall of Justice, Second and Main Streets, Winston-Salem, N.C.
For Surplus properties ONLY, contact the County Manager’s office at (336)703-2020 to inquire if the upset bid period has closed. Top
QWhen is full / final payment expected?
AFinal payment on a foreclosure sale shall be due in the foreclosure attorney’s office upon delivery of the Commissioner’s deed and no later than 30 days after completion of the 10-day upset bid period.

Final payment on County surplus properties must be made within 10 days of completion of the 10-day upset bid period and are contingent upon approval of the bid by the Board of Commissioners. Top
QWhat kind of deed will I receive if I am the final bidder at tax sale?
AFor foreclosure sales, a Commissioner's Deed will be issued.
Unless otherwise stated in the Notice of Sale, all other liens with the exception of current year taxes, if applicable, will be eliminated when the Commissioner's Deed has been issued and recorded.

A quitclaim deed will be issued for County surplus properties.Top