The responsibility of the Tax Department is to value all taxable property in the county. The total value of all the property in the county is called the tax base. Each county agency and/or department submits an annual operating budget to our County Budget Department. This information is forwarded to the County Manager who submits a recommended total budget to the County Commissioners for their consideration. The Board of Commissioners, along with the Budget Department and the County Manager, review the budget and the tax base to determine a recommended tax rate. This is also done to establish a fire district tax. Of course, this process is not as simple as it sounds, many hours are spent analyzing the departmental budgets, county programs, and outside agencies to arrive at a budget that will provide services to the citizens of New Hanover County.
Each municipality completes a similar process. The whole process is usually completed by the end of June and the county commissioners and town boards establish new tax rates by July 1. Once the tax rates are established, taxpayers receive a consolidated tax bill, usually in August, which includes their county and fire district tax if their taxable property is only within the county boundaries, or their county and municipality taxes which are the City of Wilmington, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, depending on the location of the property.