Taxes & Incentives

Perennially ranked as one of the top states for business, North Carolina offers a full slate of business incentives and tax exemptions. From manufacturing to workforce training and film to redevelopment, North Carolina has the incentives businesses need to start strong and stay strong.


Local Incentives

Beyond the excellent state incentives, many of NCSE's member counties can provide investment and job incentive grants to further lower the cost burden for new businesses. The pro-business approach of North Carolina’s Southeast’s member counties facilitates regional economic development and reduces red tape.

Explore State Incentive Programs

There are numerous incentive programs administered by the NC Department of Commerce designed to lessen the tax burden and overall cost of doing business for companies locating, relocating or expanding in North Carolina.

NC County Tier Designations

Every year, North Carolina's 100 counties receive a tier designation from the NC Department of Commerce that is based on various indicators of economic well-being. The tier system is incorporated into many of the NC Department of Commerce's incentive programs to encourage economic activity in economically distressed areas of the state. The tier rankings range from Tier 1 (most distressed) to Tier 3 (least distressed).

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Tier 1
  • Anson
  • Bladen
  • Columbus
  • Duplin
  • Cumberland
  • Lenoir
  • Hoke
  • Robeson
  • Sampson
  • Scotland
  • Wayne
Tier 2
  • Craven
  • Onslow
  • Montgomery
Tier 3
  • Brunswick
  • Moore
  • New Hanover
  • Pender

Additional Business-Cost Savings Opportunities

There are numerous incentive programs administered by the NC Department of Commerce designed to lessen the tax burden and overall cost of doing business for companies locating, relocating or expanding in North Carolina.

Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones)

North Carolina's Southeast has 4 counties designated as HUBZones: Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland. The program’s benefits for HUBZone-certified companies include:

  • Competitive and sole source contracting
  • 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities.

The federal government has a goal of awarding 3% of all dollars for federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small business concerns.


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New Market Tax Credits

The New Market Tax Credit program was enacted to promote community investment from individuals and companies. The credit is provided to the company or individual that makes a qualified investment with a Community Development Entity (CDE). The invested money must be used by the CDE to provide low interest loans to new business ventures within a qualified census tract.

New Market Tax Credit Regional Map

Opportunity Zones

North Carolina has 252 census tracts that are designated as federal Opportunity Zones, many of them in North Carolina's Southeast region. The Opportunity Zones program provides tax incentives for qualified investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater and/or family income is less than 80% of the area's median income. Opportunity Zone tax incentives may include temporary tax deferral for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund; step-up in basis for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund; and permanent exclusion from taxable income of long-term capital gains.

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Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ)

Foreign Trade Zones 214 & 93 cover a portion of NC's Southeast member counties. An FTZ is a secured, neutral area outside of U.S. Customs territory. Items imported into an FTZ are exempt from duties and excise taxes. Merchandise may be manipulated, used in manufacturing, inspected, combined, displayed for sale, or re-exported without payment of duty. Customs duties and excise taxes are only applied on the final product if/when the product is imported into the U.S.

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