Getting Started With Your State Income Taxes

Important: Unless otherwise noted, the following information applies to individuals for tax year 2023. For information about another tax year, please review the Department’s Instructions and Bulletins for that year.

Whether you e-File or file by paper, planning ahead will help you avoid problems and delays with your income taxes.

First: View the Individual Income Filing Requirements to determine if you should file a North Carolina individual income tax return.

Second: Determine your federal adjusted gross income, which is the starting point for your North Carolina individual income tax return. You determine that figure by completing a federal income tax return. Visit the Internal Revenue Service webpage to help you get started with your federal return.

Once you have determined that you should file, review these tips to give you a head start on your North Carolina income taxes:

  1. Review the instructions on how to file your State taxes.
  2. Gather your records in advance. Make sure you have all the records you need, including wage and tax statements (Form W-2) from employers, retirement distribution statements (Form 1099-R) from pension payers, and interest and dividend statements from financial institutions. Don’t forget to save copies for your files. Filing before you receive all your records could cause you to have to file an amended Form D-400.
  3. Get the right forms

Remember: Please don't file photocopies of tax forms. That could delay the processing of your return or cause errors that would require you to file an amended return.

Remember The Deadline!

If you file your return on a calendar year basis, the 2023 return is due on or before April 15, 2024.  A fiscal year return is due on the 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the taxable year. 

When the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, your return will be considered timely filed so long as you file the return on the next succeeding day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday.  For more information on timely mailing North Carolina tax returns, see Directive TA-18-1.

Free Tax Help Is Available

If you are disabled, have a low income, or are a senior citizen, income tax returns can be prepared free of charge through the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)/TCE (Tax Consulting for the Elderly) programs.  For locations and dates of assistance, taxpayers can call 1-800-906-9887 to find the VITA or TCE site near you or view the Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers page to learn more about VITA and TCE.

Tips For Preparing Your Taxes

When you are ready to fill out your tax forms, remember these tips:

  1. Take your time. Don’t rush when you’re filling out your forms; that’s how people make mistakes, particularly with their math.
  2. Do not mix different types of tax forms and schedules. Below is a chart explaining the different types of forms and schedules available. All forms and schedules submitted must be the same type; if not, your return cannot be processed.


    Webfill Forms These forms are completed using a computer, and then printed.
    Handwritten (Web) Forms These forms are printed, and then filled out by hand.
    DOR Printed Forms These forms are ordered by mail and filled out by hand.
    Software Generated Forms These forms are created using filing software.


  3. Double-check your math and verify your individual information, including your address and all Social Security numbers. These are among the most common errors found on tax returns. Taking care will reduce your chance of hearing from the IRS or NCDOR and speed up your refunds.
  4. File electronically. E-filing is a quick, convenient and secure way to file both your federal and state taxes. Many North Carolina taxpayers will qualify for free or low-cost e-filing.
  5. Don’t panic! If you have a problem or a question, remember that both the IRS and NCDOR are available to help. Call the IRS customer service number at 1-800-829-1040 or the NCDOR taxpayer assistance number at 1-877-252-3052.