105-275. Property classified and excluded from the tax base.

The following classes of property are designated special classes under Article V, Sec. 2(2), of the North Carolina Constitution and are excluded from tax:

(1) Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 813, s. 5.

(2) Tangible personal property that has been imported from a foreign country through a North Carolina seaport terminal and which is stored at such a terminal while awaiting further shipment for the first 12 months of such storage. (The purpose of this classification is to encourage the development of the ports of this State.)

(3) Real and personal property owned by nonprofit water or nonprofit sewer associations or corporations.

(4) Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 813, s. 5.

(5) Vehicles that the United States government gives to veterans on account of disabilities they suffered in World War II, the Korean Conflict, or the Vietnam Era so long as they are owned by:

a. A person to whom a vehicle has been given by the United States government or

b. Another person who is entitled to receive such a gift under Title 38, section 252, United States Code Annotated.

(5a) A motor vehicle owned by a disabled veteran that is altered with special equipment to accommodate a service-connected disability. As used in this section, disabled veteran means a person as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(2) who is entitled to special automotive equipment for a service-connected disability, as provided in 38 U.S.C. 3901.

(6) Special nuclear materials held for or in the process of manufacture, processing, or delivery by the manufacturer or processor thereof, regardless whether the manufacturer or processor owns the special nuclear materials. The terms "manufacture" and "processing" do not include the use of special nuclear materials as fuel. The term "special nuclear materials" includes (i) uranium 233, uranium enriched in the isotope 233 or in the isotope 235; and (ii) any material artificially enriched by any of the foregoing, but not including source material. "Source material" means any material except special nuclear material which contains by weight one twentieth of one percent (0.05%) or more of (i) uranium, (ii) thorium, or (iii) any combination thereof. Provided however, that to qualify for this exemption no such nuclear materials shall be discharged into any river, creek or stream in North Carolina. The classification and exclusion provided for herein shall be denied to any manufacturer, fabricator or processor who permits burial of such material in North Carolina or who permits the discharge of such nuclear materials into the air or into any river, creek or stream in North Carolina if such discharge would contravene in any way the applicable health and safety standards established and enforced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The most stringent of these standards shall govern.

(7) Real and personal property that is:

a. Owned either by a nonprofit corporation formed under the provisions of Chapter 55A of the General Statutes or by a bona fide charitable organization, and either operated by such owning organization or leased to another such nonprofit corporation or charitable organization, and

b. Appropriated exclusively for public parks and drives.

(7a) (Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2011, and expiring for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2016) Real and personal property that meets each of the following requirements:

a. It is a contiguous tract of land previously (i) used primarily for commercial or industrial purposes and (ii) damaged significantly as a result of a fire or explosion.

b. It was donated to a nonprofit corporation formed under the provisions of Chapter 55A of the General Statutes by an entity other than an affiliate, as defined in G.S. 105-163.010.

c. No portion is or has been leased or sold by the nonprofit corporation.

(8) a. Real and personal property that is used or, if under construction, is to be used exclusively for air cleaning or waste disposal or to abate, reduce, or prevent the pollution of air or water (including, but not limited to, waste lagoons and facilities owned by public or private utilities built and installed primarily for the purpose of providing sewer service to areas that are predominantly residential in character or areas that lie outside territory already having sewer service), if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or a local air pollution control program for air-cleaning devices located in an area where the Environmental Management Commission has certified a local air pollution control program pursuant to G.S. 143-215.112 furnishes a certificate to the tax supervisor of the county in which the property is situated or to be situated stating that the Environmental Management Commission or local air pollution control program has found that the described property:

1. Has been or will be constructed or installed;

2. Complies with or that plans therefor which have been submitted to the Environmental Management Commission or local air pollution control program indicate that it will comply with the requirements of the Environmental Management Commission or local air pollution control program;

3. Is being effectively operated or will, when completed, be required to operate in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit, certificate of approval, or other document of approval issued by the Environmental Management Commission or local air pollution control program; and

4. Has or, when completed, will have as its primary rather than incidental purpose the reduction of water pollution resulting from the discharge of sewage and waste or the reduction of air pollution resulting from the emission of air contaminants.

a1. Sub-subdivision a. of this subdivision shall not apply to an animal waste management system, as defined in G.S. 143-215.10B, unless the Environmental Management Commission determines that the animal waste management system will accomplish all of the following:

1. Eliminate the discharge of animal waste to surface waters and groundwater through direct discharge, seepage, or runoff.

2. Substantially eliminate atmospheric emissions of ammonia.

3. Substantially eliminate the emission of odor that is detectable beyond the boundaries of the parcel or tract of land on which the farm is located.

4. Substantially eliminate the release of disease-transmitting vectors and airborne pathogens.

5. Substantially eliminate nutrient and heavy metal contamination of soil and groundwater.

b. Real or personal property that is used or, if under construction, is to be used exclusively for recycling or resource recovering of or from solid waste, if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources furnishes a certificate to the tax supervisor of the county in which the property is situated stating the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has found that the described property has been or will be constructed or installed, complies or will comply with the rules of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and has, or will have as its primary purpose recycling or resource recovering of or from solid waste.

c. Tangible personal property that is used exclusively, or if being installed, is to be used exclusively, for the prevention or reduction of cotton dust inside a textile plant for the protection of the health of the employees of the plant, in accordance with occupational safety and health standards adopted by the State of North Carolina pursuant to Article 16 of G.S. Chapter 95. Notwithstanding the exclusive use requirement of this sub-subdivision, all parts of a ventilation or air conditioning system that are integrated into a system used for the prevention or reduction of cotton dust, except for chillers and cooling towers, are excluded from taxation under this sub-subdivision. The Department of Revenue shall adopt guidelines to assist the tax supervisors in administering this exclusion.

d. Real or personal property that is used or, if under construction, is to be used by a major recycling facility as defined in G.S. 105-129.25 predominantly for recycling or resource recovering of or from solid waste, if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources furnishes a certificate to the tax supervisor of the county in which the property is situated stating the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has found that the described property has been or will be constructed or installed for use by a major recycling facility, complies or will comply with the rules of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and has, or will have as a purpose recycling or resource recovering of or from solid waste.

(9) through (11) Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 813, s. 5.

(12) Real property that (i) is owned by a nonprofit corporation or association organized to receive and administer lands for conservation purposes, (ii) is exclusively held and used for one or more of the purposes listed in this subdivision, and (iii) produces no income or produces income that is incidental to and not inconsistent with the purpose or purposes for which the land is held and used. The taxes that would otherwise be due on land classified under this subdivision shall be a lien on the real property of the taxpayer as provided in G.S. 105-355(a). The taxes shall be carried forward in the records of the taxing unit or units as deferred taxes. The deferred taxes for the preceding five fiscal years are due and payable in accordance with G.S. 105-277.1F when the property loses its eligibility for deferral as a result of a disqualifying event. A disqualifying event occurs when the property (i) is no longer exclusively held and used for one or more of the purposes listed in this subdivision, (ii) produces income that is not incidental to and consistent with the purpose or purposes for which the land is held and used, or (iii) is sold or transferred without an easement recorded at the time of sale that requires perpetual use of the land for one or more of the purposes listed in this subdivision and that prohibits any use of the land that would generate income that is not incidental to and consistent with the purpose or purposes for which the land is held and used. In addition to the provisions in G.S. 105-277.1F, all liens arising under this subdivision are extinguished upon the real property being sold or transferred to a local, state, or federal government unit for conservation purposes or subject to an easement recorded at the time of sale that requires perpetual use of the land for one or more of the purposes listed in this subdivision. The purposes allowed under this subdivision are any of the following:

a. Used for an educational or scientific purpose as a nature reserve or park in which wild nature, flora and fauna, and biotic communities are preserved for observation and study. For purposes of this sub-subdivision, the terms "educational purpose" and "scientific purpose" are defined in G.S. 105-278.7(f).

b. Managed under a written wildlife habitat conservation agreement with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

c. Managed under a forest stewardship plan developed by the Forest Stewardship Program.

d. Used for public access to public waters or trails.

e. Used for protection of water quality and subject to a conservation agreement under the provision of the Conservation and Historic Preservation Agreements Act, Article 4, Chapter 121 of the General Statutes.

f. Held by a nonprofit land conservation organization for sale or transfer to a local, state, or federal government unit for conservation purposes.

(13) Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 904.

(14) Motor vehicles chassis belonging to nonresidents, which chassis temporarily enters the State for the purpose of having a body mounted thereon.

(15) Upon the date on which each county's next general reappraisal of real property under the provisions of G.S. 105-286(a) becomes effective, standing timber, pulpwood, seedlings, saplings, and other forest growth. (The purpose of this classification is to encourage proper forest management practices and to develop and maintain the forest resources of the State.)

(16) Non-business Property. - As used in this subdivision, the term "non-business property" means personal property that is used by the owner of the property for a purpose other than the production of income and is not used in connection with a business. The term includes household furnishings, clothing, pets, lawn tools, and lawn equipment. The term does not include motor vehicles, mobile homes, aircraft, watercraft, or engines for watercraft.

(17) Real and personal property belonging to the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, or to any similar veterans organizations chartered by the Congress of the United States or organized and operated on a statewide or nationwide basis, and any post or local organization thereof, when used exclusively for meeting or lodge purposes by said organization, together with such additional adjacent real property as may be necessary for the convenient and normal use of the buildings thereon. Notwithstanding the exclusive-use requirement hereinabove established, if a part of a property that otherwise meets this subdivision's requirements is used for a purpose that would require that it not be listed, appraised, assessed or taxed if the entire property were so used, that part, according to its value, shall not be listed, appraised, assessed or taxed. The fact that a building or facility is incidentally available to and patronized by the general public, so far as there is no material amount of business or patronage with the general public, shall not defeat the classification granted by this section.

(18) Real and personal property belonging to the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, the Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge of North Carolina, their subordinate lodges and appendant bodies including the Ancient and Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and the Ancient Egyptian Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, when used exclusively for meeting or lodge purposes by said organization, together with such additional adjacent real property as may be necessary for the convenient normal use of the buildings thereon. Notwithstanding the exclusive-use requirement hereinabove established, if a part of a property that otherwise meets this subdivision's requirements is used for a purpose that would require that it not be listed, appraised, assessed or taxed if the entire property were so used, that part, according to its value, shall not be listed, appraised, assessed or taxed. The fact that a building or facility is incidentally available to and patronized by the general public, so far as there is no material amount of business or patronage with the general public, shall not defeat the classification granted by this section.

(19) Real and personal property belonging to the Loyal Order of Moose, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, and similar fraternal or civic orders and organizations operated for nonprofit benevolent, patriotic, historical, charitable, or civic purposes, when used exclusively for meeting or lodge purposes by the organization, together with as much additional adjacent real property as may be necessary for the convenient normal use of the buildings. Notwithstanding the exclusive-use requirement of this subdivision, if a part of a property that otherwise meets this subdivision's requirements is used for a purpose that would require that it not be listed, appraised, assessed, or taxed if the entire property were so used, that part, according to its value, shall not be listed, appraised, assessed, or taxed. The fact that a building or facility is incidentally available to and patronized by the general public, so far as there is no material amount of business or patronage with the general public, shall not defeat the classification granted by this section. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed so as to include social fraternities, sororities, and similar college, university, or high school organizations in the classification for exclusion from ad valorem taxes.

(19a) (Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2013) Improvements to real property that are (i) owned by social fraternities, sororities, and similar college, university, or high school organizations and (ii) located on land owned by or allocated to The University of North Carolina or one if its constituent institutions.

(20) Real and personal property belonging to Goodwill Industries and other charitable organizations organized for the training and rehabilitation of disabled persons when used exclusively for training and rehabilitation, including commercial activities directly related to such training and rehabilitation.

(21) Repealed by Session Laws 2008-107, s. 28.11(a), effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2009.

(22) Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 813, s. 5.

(23) Tangible personal property imported from outside the United States and held in a Foreign Trade Zone for the purpose of sale, manufacture, processing, assembly, grading, cleaning, mixing or display and tangible personal property produced in the United States and held in a Foreign Trade Zone for exportation, either in its original form or as altered by any of the above processes.

(24) Cargo containers and container chassis used for the transportation of cargo by vessels in ocean commerce.

The term "container" applies to those nondisposable receptacles of a permanent character and strong enough for repeated use and specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods, by one or more modes of transport, one of which shall be by ocean vessels, without intermediate reloadings and fitted with devices permitting its ready handling particularly in the transfer from one transport mode to another.

(24a) Aircraft that is owned or leased by an interstate air courier, is apportioned under G.S. 105-337 to the air courier's hub in this State, and is used in the air courier's operations in this State. For the purpose of this subdivision, the terms "interstate air courier" and "hub" have the meanings provided in G.S. 105-164.3.

(25) Tangible personal property shipped into this State for the purpose of repair, alteration, maintenance or servicing and reshipment to the owner outside this State.

(26) For the tax year immediately following transfer of title, tangible personal property manufactured in this State for the account of a nonresident customer and held by the manufacturer for shipment. For the purpose of this subdivision, the term "nonresident" means a taxpayer having no place of business in North Carolina.

(27), (28) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 643, s. 1.

(29) Real property and easements wholly and exclusively held and used for nonprofit historic preservation purposes by a nonprofit historical association or institution, including real property owned by a nonprofit corporation organized for historic preservation purposes and held by its owner exclusively for sale under an historic preservation agreement to be prepared and recorded, at the time of sale, under the provisions of the Conservation and Historic Preservation Agreements Act, Article 4, Chapter 121 of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

(29a) Land that is within an historic district and is held by a nonprofit corporation organized for historic preservation purposes for use as a future site for an historic structure that is to be moved to the site from another location. Property may be classified under this subdivision for no more than five years. The taxes that would otherwise be due on land classified under this subdivision shall be a lien on the real property of the taxpayer as provided in G.S. 105-355(a). The taxes shall be carried forward in the records of the taxing unit or units as deferred taxes. The deferred taxes are due and payable in accordance with G.S. 105-277.1F when the property loses its eligibility for deferral as a result of a disqualifying event. A disqualifying event occurs when an historic structure is not moved to the property within five years from the first day of the fiscal year the property was classified under this subdivision. In addition to the provisions in G.S. 105-277.1F, all liens arising under this subdivision are extinguished upon the location of an historic structure on the site within the time period allowed under this subdivision.

(30) Repealed by Session Laws 1987, c. 813, s. 5.

(31) Intangible personal property other than a leasehold interest that is in exempted real property and is not excluded under subdivision (31e) of this section. This subdivision does not affect the taxation of software not otherwise excluded by subdivision (40) of this section.

(31a) through (31d) Repealed by Session Laws 1997-23, s. 3.

(31e) A leasehold interest in real property that is exempt under G.S. 105-278.1 and is used to provide affordable housing for employees of the unit of government that owns the property.

(32) Recodified as G.S. 105-278.6A by Session Laws 1998-212, s. 29A.18(a), effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 1998.

(32a) Inventories owned by contractors.

(33) Inventories owned by manufacturers.

(34) Inventories owned by retail and wholesale merchants.

(35) Severable development rights, as defined in G.S. 136-66.11(a), when severed and evidenced by a deed recorded in the office of the register of deeds pursuant to G.S. 136-66.11(c).

(36) Repealed by Session Laws 2001-474, s. 8, effective November 29, 2001.

(37) Poultry and livestock and feed used in the production of poultry and livestock.

(38) Repealed by Session Laws 2001-474, s. 8, effective November 29, 2001.

(39) Real and personal property that is: (i) owned by a nonprofit corporation organized upon the request of a State or local government unit for the sole purpose of financing projects for public use, (ii) leased to a unit of State or local government whose property is exempt from taxation under G.S. 105-278.1, and (iii) used in whole or in part for a public purpose by the unit of State or local government. If only part of the property is used for a public purpose, only that part is excluded from the tax. This subdivision does not apply if any distributions are made to members, officers, or directors of the nonprofit corporation.

(39a) A correctional facility, including construction in progress, that is located on land owned by the State and is constructed pursuant to a contract with the State, and any leasehold interest in the land owned by the State upon which the correctional facility is located.

(40) (Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning before July 1, 2014) Computer software and any documentation related to the computer software. As used in this subdivision, the term "computer software" means any program or routine used to cause a computer to perform a specific task or set of tasks. The term includes system and application programs and database storage and management programs.

The exclusion established by this subdivision does not apply to computer software and its related documentation if the computer software meets one or more of the following descriptions:

a. It is embedded software. "Embedded software" means computer instructions, known as microcode, that reside permanently in the internal memory of a computer system or other equipment and are not intended to be removed without terminating the operation of the computer system or equipment and removing a computer chip, a circuit, or another mechanical device.

b. It is purchased or licensed from a person who is unrelated to the taxpayer and it is capitalized on the books of the taxpayer in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, including financial accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. A person is unrelated to a taxpayer if (i) the taxpayer and the person are not subject to any common ownership, either directly or indirectly, and (ii) neither the taxpayer nor the person has any ownership interest, either directly or indirectly, in the other.

This subdivision does not affect the value or taxable status of any property that is otherwise subject to taxation under this Subchapter.

The provisions of the exclusion established by this subdivision are not severable. If any provision of this subdivision or its application is held invalid, the entire subdivision is repealed.

(40) (Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2014) Computer software and any documentation related to the computer software. As used in this subdivision, the term "computer software" means any program or routine used to cause a computer to perform a specific task or set of tasks. The term includes system and application programs and database storage and management programs.

The exclusion established by this subdivision does not apply to computer software and its related documentation if the computer software meets one or more of the following descriptions:

a. It is embedded software. "Embedded software" means computer instructions, known as microcode, that reside permanently in the internal memory of a computer system or other equipment and are not intended to be removed without terminating the operation of the computer system or equipment and removing a computer chip, a circuit, or another mechanical device.

b. It is purchased or licensed from a person who is unrelated to the taxpayer and it is capitalized on the books of the taxpayer in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, including financial accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. A person is unrelated to a taxpayer if (i) the taxpayer and the person are not subject to any common ownership, either directly or indirectly, and (ii) neither the taxpayer nor the person has any ownership interest, either directly or indirectly, in the other. The foregoing does not include development of software or any modifications to software, whether done internally by the taxpayer or externally by a third party, to meet the customer's specified needs.

This subdivision does not affect the value or taxable status of any property that is otherwise subject to taxation under this Subchapter.

The provisions of the exclusion established by this subdivision are not severable. If any provision of this subdivision or its application is held invalid, the entire subdivision is repealed.

(41) Repealed by Session Laws 2012-120, s. 1(a), effective October 1, 2012.

(42) A vehicle that is offered at retail for short-term lease or rental and is owned or leased by an entity engaged in the business of leasing or renting vehicles to the general public for short-term lease or rental. For the purposes of this subdivision, the term "short-term lease or rental" shall have the same meaning as in G.S. 105-187.1, and the term "vehicle" shall have the same meaning as in G.S. 153A-156(e) and G.S. 160A-215.1(e). A gross receipts tax as set forth by G.S. 153A-156 and G.S. 160A-215.1 is substituted for and replaces the ad valorem tax previously levied on these vehicles.

(42a) Heavy equipment on which a gross receipts tax may be imposed under G.S. 153A-156.1 and G.S. 160A-215.2.

(43) Real or tangible personal property that is subject to a capital lease pursuant to G.S. 115C-531.

(44) Free samples of drugs that are required by federal law to be dispensed only on prescription and are given to physicians and other medical practitioners to dispense free of charge in the course of their practice.

(45) Eighty percent (80%) of the appraised value of a solar energy electric system. For purposes of this subdivision, the term "solar energy electric system" means all equipment used directly and exclusively for the conversion of solar energy to electricity.

(46) (Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2013) Real property that is occupied by a charter school and is wholly and exclusively used for educational purposes as defined in G.S. 105-278.4(f) regardless of the ownership of the property. (1939, c. 310, s. 303; 1961, c. 1169, s. 8; 1967, c. 1185; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; c. 1121, s. 3; 1973, cc. 290, 451; c. 476, s. 128; c. 484; c. 695, s. 1; c. 790, s. 1; cc. 904, 962, 1028, 1034, 1077; c. 1262, s. 23; c. 1264, s. 1; 1975, cc. 566, 755; c. 764, s. 6; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; c. 782, s. 2; c. 1001, ss. 1, 2; 1977, 2nd Sess., c. 1200, s. 4; 1979, c. 200, s. 1; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1092; 1981, c. 86, s. 1; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1244, ss. 1, 2; 1983, c. 643, ss. 1, 2; c. 693; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1060; 1985, c. 510, s. 1; c. 656, s. 37; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 982, s. 18; 1987, c. 356; c. 622, s. 2; c. 747, s. 8; c. 777, s. 6; c. 813, ss. 5, 6, 22; c. 850, s. 17; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1041, s. 1.1; 1989, c. 148, s. 4; c. 168, s. 6; c. 705; c. 723, s. 1; c. 727, ss. 28, 29; 1991, c. 717, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 975, s. 2; 1993, c. 459, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 745, s. 39; 1995, c. 41, s. 2; c. 509, s. 51; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 646, s. 12; 1997-23, ss. 1, 3, 9; 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a); 1997-456, s. 27; 1998-55, ss. 10, 18; 1998-212, s. 29A.18(a); 1999-337, s. 35(a); 2000-2, s. 1; 2000-18, s. 1, 2000-140, ss. 71, 72(a); 2001-84, s. 3; 2001-427, s. 15(a); 2001-474, s. 8; 2002-104, s. 1; 2003-284, s. 43A.1; 2007-477, s. 1; 2007-527, s. 37; 2008-35, s. 2.1; 2008-107, s. 28.11(a); 2008-134, s. 72; 2008-144, s. 1; 2008-146, ss. 4.1, 5.1; 2008-171, ss. 7(a), (b); 2009-445, s. 21; 2010-95, s. 15; 2011-123, s. 1; 2011-274, s. 1; 2012-120, s. 1(a); 2013-259, s. 1; 2013-355, s. 3; 2013-375, s. 3(a).)