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Business Taxes, Permits and Fees

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For an overview of general real estate and property taxes, fees and permits, click here.

BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY: Owners of businesses should pay special attention to items that should be listed each year as business personal property, which is defined by state law. This includes any supplies, machinery, equipment, computers, furniture, fixtures, airplanes, farm equipment, or any other equipment used to produce income.

All business personal property that is subject to taxation must be listed annually within the time period of January 1 through January 31. Extensions for business to list personal property may be requested in writing prior to the close of the regular listing period. Failure to list within the required period will result in a penalty of 10% of the total taxes due on the property. It is the business owner’s responsibility to list property, even if you did not receive a listing form from the county.

Due date: County and municipal property taxes are due and payable on the first day of September for property listed that year. Business owners have until January 5th to pay without penalty.  

For more information on property taxes, including: more information on business personal property, appraisal of values, exemptions, “present use” classifications, partial payments and online payments, click here.


Of the 6.75% sales taxes paid in North Carolina, just over one-third (or 2.5 cents on the dollar) are local sales taxes that help support county and municipal governments. The State of North Carolina periodically changes the laws related to sales taxes to exempt certain purchases or to change how the revenues are distributed. However, it is important to note that it always benefits our county when residents buy taxable items within the county whenever they can. 


Chatham County’s Financial Policy guides the fee structure for a wide range of fees with the goal of lessening the reliance on the property tax to subsidize certain services. County fees are set at a level to recover as much of the full cost of certain services that will directly impact a specific group of beneficiaries, such as those who benefit from adequate schools and recreation facilities or those who will benefit from inspections of new homes or commercial structures. Some service entities, such as waste management, are operated as an “enterprise fund” so that the fees paid for their services cover their operational costs without property tax support.


Pre-application meetings provide an opportunity for applicants to meet informally with permitting staff to discuss the County's permitting processes for opening a new business, expanding a current business or other land development (i.e. major subdivision, Conditional Use Permit).  Meetings are not required, but are offered in an effort to make the permitting process as seamless as possible and provide feedback on preliminary proposals prior to document and application submittal.  The meetings are held on Wednesday afternoons.  For more information or to schedule a meeting, contact Anne Lowry at (919) 545-8310 or or Angela Birchett at (919) 542-8285,


The county collects fees for various permits related to the construction of new commercial structures, replacement structures, and additions and renovations to existing structures. The permits and fees vary widely, depending on whether or not the structure is new or remodeled and whether a well or septic system is needed. They also vary for mobile structures versus stick-built units. For all structures, permits related to wells and septic systems have to be completed first before a building permit or mobile structure set-up permit can be issued. When permitted work has been completed, county inspection of the work must be performed.

It is important to note that adding or replacing such items as barns, open sheds, outbuildings, garages, pools, decks and other structures also requires a permit, as does replacing or renovating heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing systems or electrical systems.

Commercial construction inspection fees are based on a formula tied to the cost of the structure.

NOTE: All restaurants, public swimming pools and beaches, and lodging facilities are inspected, as required by state law, by the Environmental Health Division of the County Health Department.

For more information, click here.


Planning Fees: Businesses involved in developing residential and commercial properties may have to pay several types of planning fees, depending on whether or not: a subdivision is involved, rezoning or conditional use is requested, the property is in a floodplain, or various other factors. For more information on the planning process and fees, click here.

School Impact Fee: This fee of $3,500 is required for all single-family residences (including mobile homes) that are new construction (i.e. where an existing residence is not being replaced). The fee is paid when the building permit or mobile structure permit is obtained from Central Permitting. The fee for multi-family housing or any accessory building with a dwelling unit (such as a garage with apartment) is $1,100 per unit, paid when the building permit is obtained. The revenues are used in the school district where the residences are built and can only be used for school capital construction, such as new school facilities, building additions and renovations. To see the school district map, click here

Recreation Fee:
This fee is required whenever a parcel of land is subdivided into lots of ten acres or less in size, even if just one new lot. However, family subdivisions of land may be eligible for an exemption from this fee. Once any subdivision has been approved through the county’s planning process, the fee is collected by the Planning Department on behalf of the Recreation Department. The fees are used for recreation facilities within the recreation district of the subdivision. In some parts of the county, the fee is $926 per lot (eastern areas) and is $548 per lot in western parts of the county. Subdivisions within the planning areas of Pittsboro, Siler City and Cary do NOT pay the county recreation fee. For a recreation fee district map, click here.


The County Fire Marshal’s Office inspects all business and industrial facilities every one to three years, depending on the type of facility. An initial inspection fee is charged and re-inspections are half the cost of the initial inspection. Special use permits are also required for such activities as blasting (explosives), fuel storage tank installation or removal (above-ground and underground), abandonment of underground fuel storage tanks, fire system inspections, sprinkler testing, usage of air-filled tents, testing, paint booth hood system inspection, kitchen hood testing, and special events

For more information, click here.


Any business or commercial structures connecting to the county’s water system for the first time must pay an availability fee and a tap fee. If your business facility needs a basic ¾-inch waterline, you will pay the same connection fees as most residences in the county, which includes a set rate for both the availability and the tap fee. However, businesses needing a larger waterline will pay the current availability fee plus the actual cost of installing the tap, which will be billed at the conclusion of the tap installation. If you are a new owner or are leasing a facility that is already connected to the water system, you must pay a deposit to reconnect services. For multi-unit facilities served through one water meter, contact the Water Department at 919-542-8270 for more information on connection fees.

Monthly water rate usage charges vary for large-volume industrial users, such as manufacturers, nurseries and large farming operations.

For more information, on rates and connection fees, click here.
For information for developers fees and policies, click here.


Various departments collect fees for specific programs, services or documents, such as deed recording fees and fees for printed GIS maps. The Register of Deeds Office  also collects revenue stamps whenever properties are sold in the county, but the state keeps half of this revenue. They also charge fees for marriage's licenses and copies of birth certificates or death certificates, The Sheriff’s Office handles Alcoholic Beverage Control permits (for facilities serving alcoholic beverage) as well as gun and concealed weapons permits.