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General Business Tax Questions and Answers

If your question is not answered below, please submit your complete question  to taxbusiness@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov .  A response will be provided via email.

Q. Who is required to have a Privilege License?
A.
Anyone doing business in Charlotte/Mecklenburg, whether home-based or at another location; whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation; full-time or part-time; regardless of size, unless the business is exempted by the North Carolina Department of Revenue and/or Federal Law.   View or Print the Privilege License Classification Codes of categories requiring the purchase of an annual Privilege License

Q. How much does a Privilege License cost?
A.
Fees vary depending on the type of business. Many businesses are charged based on gross receipts at a rate of $0.60 per $1,000 (minimum tax is $50; maximum is $10,000). Businesses subject to the gross receipts tax may also be taxed at a flat rate and certain types of businesses must pay both City and County taxes for licenses. Please contact the Business Tax Collections unit at 704-336-6315 for more details.   View or Print the Privilege License Application

Q.  What is the Room Occupancy Tax?
A.  The Room Occupancy Tax is a countywide tax of six percent (6%) levied on the receipts derived from the rental of any room, lodging, or accommodation furnished by a hotel, motel, inn, tourist camp, or similar place.  This tax is in addition to any North Carolina or local sales tax.  Room Occupancy taxes are due the 20 th of each month.  View or Print a Room Occupancy Tax Return

Q. What must I do to open a hotel business with the Office of the Tax Collector?
A. You must submit a Privilege License application form and/or an informational form for the Room Occupancy Tax.  You may contact 704-336-6315 to have the forms sent to you, however it is recommended to come in person to gather all the necessary information.

Q.  What is the Prepared Food & Beverage Tax?
A.  It is a one percent (1%) Countywide tax on any food or beverage in which a "retailer" has added value to or has altered its state (other than solely by cooling), by preparing, combining, dividing, heating, or serving, in order to make the food or beverage available for immediate human consumption.  "Retailer" includes caterers and all persons regarded by the North Carolina Secretary of Revenue as retailers under Section 105-164.3 of the North Carolina General Statutes.   View or Print a Prepared Food and Beverage Tax Return

Q.  What is the Short-Term Vehicle Rental Tax?
A.  A tax on any entity engaged in the business of leasing or renting vehicles to the general public for less than 365 days.  This includes but is not limited to:  Automobile Dealers, Truck Dealers, Trailer Dealers, Recreational Vehicle Dealers, Automobile Rental Agencies, Trailer Rental Agencies, Equipment Rental Agencies, RV rental businesses, and any other establishment, place of business or enterprise maintaining facilities, equipment, services, or inventory for the lease or rental of any type or kind of short-term lease or rental of a vehicle.  View or Print a Vehicle Rental Tax Return

Q.  What type of vehicles are subject to this tax?
A.  There are three (3) types of vehicles subject to this tax.  (1) A motor vehicle of the private passenger type including a passenger van, minivan, or sport utility vehicle.  (2) A motor vehicle of the cargo type including a cargo van, pickup truck, or truck with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less used predominantly in the transportation of property other than commercial freight that does not require the operator to possess a commercial drivers license.  (3) A trailer or semi-trailer with a gross vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds or less.

Q.  If a Business is subject to remitting monthly taxes for either Room Occupancy, Prepared Food & Beverage, or Vehicle Rental - are they still required to purchase an annual Privilege License?
A.  Yes.  A Privilege License is required for each person, firm or corporation who conducts business in or maintains a business location within the City Limits of Charlotte.   "Conducting business" within the City Limits is generally defined as:  the soliciting of goods or services or the pick-up or delivery of goods or services either personally or through agents.

Q.  If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Holiday, when do I file my return?
A. The date for filing the return and payment is extended to the end of the next business day.  For example, if the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or State legal holiday, the payment must be made on the following business day.

Q. I have multiple businesses located within the City of Charlotte.  Do I pay a license fee for each location?
A.
Yes. Each business location must be licensed separately and all applicable fees paid.

Q. What is the penalty if my Privilege License renewal is not filed by the deadline of June 30 th?
A.
Your business is subject to a five percent (5%) additional tax each month of your total license fee until paid in full. Maximum interest is twenty-five percent (25%), with a minimum of $5.00.

Q. How can I find out if my business is located within the City of Charlotte's corporate limits?
A.
To verify your business is located within the City of Charlotte's corporate limits, please contact the Zoning Enforcement Division at 704-336-3569.

Q. Do I need to register my business name?
A.
Yes. Business names need to be recorded with the Register of Deeds, and it is recommended that you do this before applying for a Privilege License. If you are using your name in association with the business (for example: Tom Williams Painting Company), it still needs to be recorded. This is considered a Doing Business As ( DBA) name and registering it will protect your business name and give you legal recourse if someone else tries to use your D/B/A name.

Q. Do I need a State or Federal ID number before I can obtain my local license?
A.
No. However, please contact the Business Tax Collections unit at 704-336-6315 to inquire about any specific requirements needed in order to obtain a Privilege License.

Q. Is a Federal Tax ID number the same as a Sales Tax number?
A.
No. The North Carolina Department of Revenue issues a state sales tax number which allows you to buy wholesale and sell retail whereas a Federal ID number is entirely different. For sales tax number information, please contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue at 704-342-6121. For Federal ID number information, please contact the Federal Information Center at 1-800-688-9889.

Q. Do I need a license to have a garage  or attic type sale?
A.
If you are located within the Charlotte City limits, you will need to purchase a one-day Garage and Attic Sale Privilege License. The cost is $5.00 and must be paid in cash or money order at Robert L. "Bob" Walton Plaza location at 700 E. Stonewall Street.  Cash, money order, and credit card payments are accepted at Hal Marshall Services Center at 700 N. Tryon Street.  You may also obtain a Garage and Attic Sale License on line. A homeowner can purchase up to a maximum of four (4) Garage and Attic Sale Privilege Licenses each year.

Q.  How do I obtain a Beer & Wine License?
A.  Before the Tax Collector can issue a Beer & Wine License, the Business Tax Collections Office must review the Alcoholic Beverage Control ( ABC) Permits issued to the business by the State of North Carolina.  To begin the permitting process, please contact the State Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) Division at 704-342-6322.

Still have questions concerning  Privilege License, Room Occupancy Tax, Prepared Food & Beverage Tax, Vehicle Rental Tax, Attic Sale Licenses or Beer & Wine Licenses?    Please contact the Business Tax Collections Office by phone at 704-336-6315 or via e-mail at  taxbusiness@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov



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