Three Great Tax Reasons to Retire and Live in North Carolina

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Old Ben certain had it right, and it’s refreshing to know North Carolina’s new tax reform will help those who live and retire to North Carolina. There are three great benefits in the new tax code scheduled to take place in 2014. They are:

  1. Social Security income is exempt from state income tax.
  2. Income tax rates reduced to a flat rate of 5.8% in 2014 and 5.75% in 2015. The old code called for a rate as high as 7.75%
  3. Estate Tax is now abolished and is even retroactive to January 1, 2013. Not shabby at all!

It’s wonderful to live in the Smoky Mountains – it’s such a gorgeous area of the United States! Now, not only do you have beauty to look forward to, you have some great tax incentives too.

Thanks Forbes for information on the updated tax code.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX of Murphy NC – – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Present Use Value PUV Program – a great way to reduce Real Estate Taxes on Large Land and Acreage in Murphy NC and Cherokee County NC

When it comes to acreage tracts and land in Murphy NC, I must admit Cherokee County has great tax rates! It’s nice to live in an area where taxes are affordable and reasonable. However, it’s always nice to be able to lower your tax bill! And if you have a larger tract of land, you can lower a good tax bill to an extremely great tax bill.

Cherokee County NC, like many other counties in North Carolina, have access to a program called Present Use Value, or PUV. It is NOT designed to be a program just to drop your taxes. It provides a benefit to you (lower taxes) for sound management of your property. That is done by creating a forestry plan, etc. and properly executing it on your property. It’s truly a win-win all around.

There are several variations of the program with different requirements for each. Here are the basic requirements to be eligible for each PUV program:

  • Agriculture/Aquaculture
    • You must own at least 10 acres in the production of crops or livestock for commercial sale or 5 acres in production of aquatic species or have more than 20,000 pounds of aquatic product for commercial sale.
    • Show an average gross income of $1,000 from the preceding three year period must be shown from the sale of the products produced from the land
    • If you have more than one farmed tract, only one of the tracts (the parent tract) is subject to the minimum size and income requirements.
  • Horticulture
    • At least five acres in the production of fruits, vegetables, nursery or floral products for commercial sale.
    • You must have an average gross income of $1,000 from the preceding three year period must be shown from selling products produced from the land.
    • Christmas tree farms are part of the horticultural classification and must have at least five acres in production for commercial sale.
    • If you have more than one horticultural tract, only one of the tracts (parent tract) is subject to the minimum size and income requirements with the exception of Christmas tree farms.
  • Forestry
    • At least 20 acres in the production of forest products for commercial sale.
    • The forest land must have a written forest management plan from the NC Division of Forest Resources or a private forester and a copy of the plan on file with the Tax Administrator’s Office.
    • If you have more than one forestry tract, only one of the tracts (parent tract) is subject to the size requirements. Since income is only produced when timber is harvested, there is no yearly income requirement for forest land.
  • Wildlife
    • Tract of Land must be between 20-100 acres.
    • Must protect an animal species that lives on the land and is on the NC protected animal list or conserve a priority wildlife habitat.
    • You must have a written wildlife habitat conservation plan from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and file it with the Tax Administrator’s Office

The present use value is based solely on being able to determine the property’s ability to produce an income, NOT the estimated market value of the land.

If you are eligible and/or considering applying, I highly recommend you contact the Cherokee County Tax Office at 828-837-2421. Since they ultimately have the final say in whether you can be in the program, it’s a great idea to contact them to get pointed in the right direction on your property or land you are considering buying.

Frequently asked Questions

 –What if there is a home on the land I want to put in the PUV program? This is generally not a problem. An acre of property that your home is on will be completely excluded and taxed according to current assessments. The rest of your property can be in the program.

What happens if I sell the property? The taxes that are “deferred” as a part of the program are reclaimed for the past three years. For example, let’s say your “normal” tax bill is $1,000 and the PUV program makes it $100 for a $900 savings each year. If you’re in the program for 10 years, that’s $9,000 worth of taxes you saved. If you sold it in year 10, you would be responsible for paying back the last 3 years of savings. So, it would be $900 x 3 = $2,700. Yet the other $6,300 is a total savings you DO NOT owe.

How much can I expect my tax bill to be in the program? I was told by a local forester who develops plans for parcels to enter the program that it averages about $1.50 per acre. For example, if you had 100 acres, your annual tax bill would be about $150.

Are you looking to buy acreage tracts of land? If so, we’re here for you! Land is always so unique that it can be challenging to search for, even online! Let us help. You can feel free to use our FREE Land MLS Search for Real Estate OR Fill out our CONTACT US Form and let us know what your “Wishlist” is for land, and we’ll do the leg work for you! If you have any other questions or concerns, always feel free to let us know.

John Poltrock – The Poltrock Team – REMAX of Murphy NC – – – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Self Directed IRAs – an Excellent Way to Invest in Murphy NC Real Estate

Very recently, we closed a real estate transaction with almost 40 acres of land. It was located in the Brasstown area of Murphy, NC – and it was done in a Self Directed IRA. A Self Directed IRA (or SD IRA) is an excellent way to buy, invest, and own real estate.

The ability to buy real estate investments inside your IRA provides some excellent tax advantages. Your real estate investment essentially is provided the same tax advantages your Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA receive through conventional investing – only in real estate!

For Example (a simple one): You buy a $100,000 rental house in your SD IRA. You collect monthly rents of $750, which is $9,000 per year for 3 years for a total of $27,000. At the end of 3 years, you decide to sell it and get $130,000. Because you own it in your SD IRA and all funds stay there, you don’t pay taxes on your rental income OR gains when you sell it! That’s a total of $57,000 you were able to shelter from taxes when you normally would have paid taxes on the rental income AND capital gains on the sale! A sweet strategy!  😆

As with typical IRS regulations, there are some requirements, conditions, and hoops you must jump through, however they aren’t too complicated.

Would you like to invest in Real Estate with your IRA? Call The Poltrock Team at RE/MAX Today and let us help guide you on how to do it and identify properties that meet your investment goals.

The Poltrock Team – – REMAX Mountain Properties in Murphy NC – Call Toll Free 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 –

Taxes and Insurance Costs in Murphy NC


We thought it might be helpful for you to know a little bit about real estate insurance in Murphy, NC. Insurance is something most everyone has to deal with and plan for no matter where you live, and we commonly hear of insurance rates in the thousands of dollars in other places around the U.S. – and thankfully my bill is not like that!

When you buy a home, did you know the rate is very commonly around a mere $600-$900 for a year?! You can’t beat that for coverage. Of course that can change depending on the size, type, and other factors of your home, but as a general rule, that’s a great place to benchmark yourself for planning purposes. I only pay $650 per year for my home! 😀

Did you know that if you buy a piece of land, you most likely don’t need to insure it at all? You probably should double check with your insurance agent to make sure of this on your policy, but your current homeowner’s policy covers any liability you might have with vacant land. That means you’ve got no additional cost there!

If you’re looking to buy a home, you may or may not be considering renting it out. If that’s the case and you would like to rent it out as a full time rental or vacation rental, be sure your insurance is right. Some of our local insurance agents can find and rental rider that’s included at no charge or very inexpensively!


When  it comes to land, it’s an extremely affordable tax bill. The tax bill is commonly around $50-$150 for an average 1-2 acre parcel and can be higher for a more expensive or desirable parcel. Large tracts vary and its best to research them on a per parcel basis.

In regards to homes, a cabin or chalet yearly tax bill is around $700-$900. A nice home assessed at $300,000 is right around $1,350, so it’s not too bad! 🙂

Tax Rate – The current tax rate is $0.385 per $100 of assessed value. Assessed value is currently higher than market value on most homes by 20-30%.

We’re really blessed with fair taxes that aren’t outrageous compared to so many other areas in the country!

New Update for August 2013: 3 Great Reasons to Retire and Live in North Carolina


Will my tax bill change when I purchase a property in Cherokee County? No, generally not. Taxes here are based on “bulk appraisals” that are assigned roughly every 4 years. Your purchase will have a small bearing as to a future assessment but won’t directly change your tax assessment.

Is there a homestead exemption? No. Cherokee County assesses equally amongst everyone generally keeping all taxes lower.

Why are taxes lower in Murphy NC/Cherokee County than where I live? Although I can’t directly answer that, I do find that most people I’ve spoken with that have higher taxes often live in cities or close to them that have more “infrastructure” and “programs.” Things like garbage pickup all the way to big public works projects that cost money to operate and can attribute to higher taxes.

Is there a separate school tax? No, there is not.

Who do you recommend for insurance coverage? Easy! Check out our Gotta Guy List for great insurance agents you can work with here locally.

John Poltrock – The Poltrock Team at REMAX Mountain Properties – – – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-687-7496