North Carolina Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

For a list of North Carolina economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.


Targeted, performance-based incentive programs complement North Carolina’s competitive cost structure.

Incentive eligibility and value depend on project factors including the number of net new jobs proposed, the wages of those jobs, the proposed capital investment, and the tier ranking of the county where company is considering locating a project. The North Carolina Department of Commerce assigns tiers to the each of the state’s 100 counties, based on their economic well-being. Projects locating in less prosperous counties may be eligible for greater incentives.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina will help companies navigate the incentives process. For more information about North Carolina’s incentive programs, contact the partnership at (919) 447-7744 or, or visit



Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG): JDIG is a performance-based, discretionary incentive program that provides cash grants to new and expanding businesses to help offset the cost of locating or expanding a business facility in North Carolina. Companies can qualify for a JDIG based on the project location, number of jobs, and average wage. The grant amount is based on a percentage of the personal income tax withholdings associated with the new jobs. Grant funds are disbursed annually, typically for up to 12 years, to approved companies following the satisfaction of performance criteria set out in grant agreements. The project must be competitive with locations outside North Carolina and remain competitive until the grant is formally awarded. A company can use JDIG funds for any purpose.

For “high-yield” projects that invest at least $500 million and create at least 1,750 jobs, JDIG can provide a grant worth up to 90% of personal income tax withholdings for 20 years.

For “transformative” projects that invest $1 billion and create at least 3,000 jobs, JDIG can provide a grant worth up to 90% of personal income withholdings for up to 30 years.

One North Carolina Fund (OneNC): The One North Carolina Fund (One NC) is a discretionary cash-grant program that allows the governor to respond quickly to competitive job-creation projects. One NC requires a local match. Awards are based on the number of jobs created, investment level, project location and economic impact of the project. The project must be competitive with locations outside North Carolina and remain competitive until the grant is formally awarded. Awards may be used for improvements such as installation or purchase of equipment, structural repairs and renovations, and construction or improvements to utility lines and associated equipment.

Public Infrastructure and Transportation Programs: North Carolina offers different programs to fund public infrastructure development, including the Community Development Block Grant Economic Development Program, Utility Account, Rural Division’s Economic Infrastructure Program, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Industrial Access Program, North Carolina Railroad Company’s NCRR Invests program and the NC Department of Commerce’s Joint Economic Development Program with the NCDOT.

Building Reuse Programs: North Carolina offers two different programs to provide grants to renovate and upfit vacant industrial and commercial buildings, including the Community Development Block Grant Building Reuse Program and the Rural Division’s Building Reuse Program.


  • Golden LEAF Foundation
  • C. Biotechnology Center Economic Development Award
  • Recycling Business Development Grants
  • Building Demolition Programs
  • Foreign Trade Zones


Corporate Income Tax: North Carolina’s 2.5% corporate income tax is the lowest among the 44 states that levy the tax.

Singles Sales Factor Apportionment: North Carolina determines how much of a corporation’s income is subject to state tax based solely on its revenue from sales located in or sourced to North Carolina. It does not factor in a company’s property and payroll in the state. The single sales factor approach encourages corporate expansion and job creation because it doesn’t penalize companies for hiring or investing in facilities.

Property Tax: In 2018, North Carolina had the seventh-lowest commercial and ninth-lowest industrial effective property tax rates in the United States. Real and personal property are only taxed by the local government, with a single property tax assessment in each county. The value determined by the county assessor constitutes the base for all levies, including those of cities and towns for property located within the municipality. Property is assessed at 100% of its appraised value.

North Carolina offers a number of property tax exemptions:

  • Inventories are exempt from property taxes.
  • Recycling equipment and facilities used exclusively for recycling and resource recovery are exempt from property taxes.

Sales and Use Tax: Sales and use taxes range from 6.75-7.5% (State: 4.75%; County: 2-2.75%). North Carolina offers a number of sales and use tax exemptions. Categories and specific examples of exemptions include:


  • Manufacturing machinery and equipment used for manufacturing.
  • Fuel, piped natural gas and electricity used for manufacturing.
  • Raw materials used for manufacturing.

Large Fulfillment Facility

  • Large fulfillment facility equipment (for projects investing more than $100 million and creating 400 jobs).

Data Centers

  • Electricity and support equipment at a “qualifying data center.”
  • Computer software at any data center.

Other Exemptions

  • Pollution control and abatement equipment.
  • Equipment for research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences companies and software publishers.

Franchise Tax: This tax totals $1.50 per $1,000 of the largest of three corporate tax base options. These options are:

  1. A company’s net worth apportioned to North Carolina.
  2. 55% of appraised value of property in the state subject to local taxation.
  3. Or, book value of real and tangible personal property in the state less accumulated depreciation for tax purposes.

For an S Corporation, the tax rate is $200 for the first $1 million of the corporation’s tax base and $1.50 per $1,000 of the largest tax base that exceeds $1 million.

Personal Income Tax: North Carolina levies a flat personal income tax rate of 5.25%. The standard deduction is $20,000 for married couples, $15,000 for head of households, and $10,000 for single taxpayers and those married filing separately.

Unemployment Insurance: North Carolina’s unemployment-taxable wage base is $24,300. The unemployment tax rates for experienced employers range from 0.06% to 5.76% and the tax rate for new employers (first two years) is 1%.



Workforce Development and Training Programs: No state has more experience providing customized training. North Carolina pioneered the nation’s first customized-training program in 1958, and has provided customized training for thousands of companies in almost every industrial category. The Customized Training Program provides training assistance to support full-time production and direct customer-service positions. Resources may support training assessment, instructional design, instructional costs, and training delivery for personnel involved. North Carolina will also assist with recruiting, screening and testing services.