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North Carolina State Tax Updates

For the latest news and updates on North Carolina state and local tax

June 3, 2021

North Carolina Rules Certain Digital Property Taxable in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Revenue determined that the sale of a subscription to provide a right and license to access and use the taxpayer’s industry profile reports through the taxpayer’s web portal is subject to sales and use tax. Generally, North Carolina imposes sales tax on the sales price of certain digital property, which includes digital goods such as reports transferred electronically. In this case, the customer pays a subscription fee for a license to gain access to reports that are available to all subscribers through a web-based portal. The reports are not customized to a specific customer or user and customers can add their own content to specific sections of a report if they purchase a license to access all of the reports. The subscription allows a customer to gain access to web-based reports that are delivered or accessed electronically. Since certain digital property includes reports transferred electronically, the subscription fees were held to be subject to the general state and applicable local and transit rates of sales and use tax.

April 1, 2021

North Carolina Holds Taxpayer’s Nutritional Products Subject to Sales Tax as Prepared Food

The North Carolina Department of Revenue ruled that a taxpayer’s manufacture and sale of nutritional and dietary supplement products was subject to sales tax because each product at issue was a mixture or combination of two or more foods to be sold as a single product. Per State regulation, prepared food includes food that meets one of the following conditions: (1) It is sold in a heated state or it is heated by the retailer; (2) It consists of two or more foods mixed or combined by the retailer for sale as a single item (excluding foods containing raw eggs, fish, meat, or poultry that require cooking by the consumer as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent food borne illnesses); or (3) It is sold with eating utensils provided by the retailer, such as plates, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, cups, napkins, and straws. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.3(179) for further information.

March 23, 2021

North Carolina Update on Extension of Filing Deadline

The North Carolina Department of Revenue has announced that it will extend the personal income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021, to mirror the extension of the federal tax deadline. The Department will not charge penalties for those filing and paying their taxes after April 15, 2021, as long as they file and pay their tax on or before May 17, 2021. Unless state law is changed, tax payments received after April 15, 2021 will be charged interest, accruing from April 15, 2021 until the date of payment. The deadline extension only applies to personal income tax returns due April 15, 2021. The deadline extension does not apply to estimated tax payments or trust taxes such as sales and use taxes or withholding taxes due April 15, 2021. ( NCDOR Extends Individual Income Filing and Payment Deadline to May 17, 2021, N.C. Dept. of Rev., 03/18/2021 .)

March 2020

Governor Declares State of Emergency Allowing for Waiver of Penalties

Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 116 which declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Penalties for failing to obtain a license, to file a return, or to pay taxes between March 15, 2020, and March 31, 2020, has been officially waived. The Department’s Penalty Policy allows for a waiver of penalties for special circumstances.

Specifically, the Department will waive any Late Action Penalties assessed against taxpayers that have been affected by COVID-19 (“Affected Taxpayers”). The waiver for Affected Taxpayers will apply to Late Action Penalties for deadlines occurring between March 15, 2020, and March 31, 2020. To qualify for the waiver, an Affected Taxpayer must file the return, pay the tax, obtain the license, or receive an extension on or before April 15, 2020. While the waiver will be considered a waiver for special circumstances, the waiver will not be considered a waiver for good compliance that can only be granted once every three years per tax type.

North Carolina law prevents the Department from waiving any interest, including interest assessed for the underpayment of estimated tax, except in the specific case of interest on taxes imposed prior to or during a period that a taxpayer has declared bankruptcy. Affected Taxpayers, who cannot meet their filing or payment requirement as a result of COVID-19, should complete Form NC-5500, Request to Waive Penalties (“NC-5500”) and write “COVID-19” on the top of the NC-5500. Form NC-5500 is available on the Department’s website, www.ncdor.gov. Affected Taxpayers that do not have access to the NC-5500 can attach a letter requesting a penalty waiver. This letter should contain the taxpayer’s name, address, SSN or FEIN, Account ID, and the tax type and tax period for which the taxpayer seeks waiver of penalty. Form NC-5500 or a letter should be mailed to the North Carolina Department of Revenue, Customer Service, P.O. Box 1168, Raleigh, NC 27602.

More on Taxes and the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Disclaimer: Please note this is the information that is readily available at this time, it is subject to change so please consult your Withum tax advisor.

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