Supporting balanced tax reforms that boost NC’s national and global competitiveness.
Making North Carolina the best place in the world to live, work, learn, play, and do business is no easy feat, but our state has made phenomenal strides over the last few years toward that goal. A driving factor behind these improvements has been the balanced business tax climate we have helped to build here in North Carolina.
The NC Chamber advocates for tax policy that meets five key principles we identified after conversations with our members: competitiveness, equity, efficiency, simplicity, and certainty. These fundamental principles ensure any tax modernization efforts we support will improve North Carolina’s overall business climate by accomplishing important objectives like streamlining burdensome regulations, improving outdated systems, and simplifying complicated policies.
Before 2013, our state had one of the least competitive tax climates in the nation: the 44th worst, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. But after a series of Chamber-supported tax reforms reduced both the individual and corporate tax rates, our tax climate has improved by leaps and bounds. In fact, in 2021, North Carolina cracked the top 10 list for the first time in the Tax Foundation’s annual tax climate rankings as we were rated the 10th best business tax climate in the nation. Additional research released by the Tax Foundation in early 2021 found that North Carolina businesses enjoy some of the lowest effective tax rates in the country while honing in on a major impediment holding us back from achieving our full competitive potential: our regressive franchise tax on business assets*.
The NC Chamber and our allies succeeded in securing a number of additional tax reforms during the 2021 legislative session, including a reduced and simplified franchise tax that will lower costs and complications for many North Carolina businesses at tax time. After these reforms were enacted, the Tax Foundation conducted another analysis of our tax climate, finding that the new reforms, if fully phased in, would propel our state even further up the charts to the fifth-best state for business taxes. We will always have work to do, however, to protect the competitive gains we’ve made and keep our state improving in the face of a constantly shifting nationwide business tax landscape.
*Overall tax climate rankings derived from the Tax Foundation’s 2021 State Business Tax Climate Index; data on effective tax rates of NC businesses derived from the Tax Foundation’s Location Matters 2021: The State Costs of Doing Business study and supplementary North Carolina-focused white paper.
The Current Challenge
Predictability and certainty are the cornerstones that anchor North Carolina’s reputation as one of the best states in the nation for business; however, a number of potential roadblocks threaten to undermine the strong, predictable tax climate we have worked hard to build here in North Carolina. Major obstacles impacting job creators include audit and disallowance activity that is retroactively threatening the delivery of promised tax credits for investors in renewable energy development as well as the continued imposition of a burdensome franchise tax that essentially acts as a double tax discouraging businesses from locating asset-rich investments in the state.
The retroactive disallowance of Renewable Tax Energy Credits and the overly burdensome franchise tax both act to increase business uncertainty, raise business costs, and deter investments from dynamic industries, threatening the welcoming business tax climate we have worked to build in North Carolina. The NC Chamber is working toward resolutions that restore investor confidence in our tax credit programs and ultimately eliminate the franchise tax, so we can strengthen our standing as a leading state on tax competitiveness.
Learn more about the NC Chamber’s plans to enhance North Carolina’s business tax climate in our 2021 Legislative Agenda.