North Carolina State Government - Cabinet Departments (2016)

North Carolina Department of Revenue

Mission Statement: To administer the tax laws and collect taxes due the State in an impartial, uniform, and efficient manner.

Jeff Epstein
Year Established: 1921
Phone Number: (877) 252-3052
Current Website:
Click Here
Number of Employees: Researching Number of Facilities: HQ + 10 Service Centers

501 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27604

The Department of Revenue Includes:

The NC Department of Revenue works to administer the tax laws and collect the taxes due the State in an impartial, uniform and efficient manner. The agency provides tax assistance to individuals, businesses, and tax professionals through a toll-free number and local service centers. The Department of Revenue includes:

- Tax Administration
- Business Systems
- Internal Offices - Internal Audit Division, Legislative Liaison, Public Affairs, Office of Taxpayer Advocate, Human Resources, Information Technology, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Internal Offices

NC Statute Authority for the Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue is authorized by General Statute 143B, Article 4, Paragraph 143B-366:

"There is hereby recreated and reestablished a department to be known as the Department of Revenue with the organization, duties, functions, and powers defined in the Executive Organization Act of 1973."

Click Here to view the entire Statute, which describes in greater detail all of the functions of the Department of Revenue.

History of the Department of Revenue:

From the Department of Revenue's Website (with minor edits):

North Carolina's Department of Revenue was created by the General Assembly in 1921, making it one of the first in the United States. That year, the legislature approved a comprehensive net income tax in response to growing dissatisfaction with the state’s tax structure and independent recommendations from two study groups. The Department of Revenue was created to administer, enforce, and collect the newly-created income tax.

In May of 1921, the Department had sixteen (16) employees. By the end of the fiscal year, that number had grown to thirty (30) and the Department had collected just over $3 million in income and inheritance taxes.

In the following decade, the Department grew as it was assigned the tax collection duties formerly held by other state government agencies, such as assessment and collection of the franchise tax -- jobs formerly performed by the State Auditor and Treasurer -- in 1923. The Department also took on the duties of collecting license taxes and collecting taxes on insurance companies.

The General Assembly also moved the Motor Vehicle Bureau -- which administered automobile license taxes, the gasoline tax and the bus and truck franchise tax -- to the Department.

Throughout the 1930s, the Department's responsibilities and its staff continued to grow. A new unit was created to administer the sales tax, which went into effect in 1933, around the same time the Department became responsible for the new beverage tax.

The state's Highway Patrol also became part of the Revenue Department's Motor Vehicle Bureau. However by 1941, faced with growing needs on the State's highways and the Patrol's increasing responsibilities, the State's Department of Motor Vehicles was created at the Governor's urging. The entire Motor Vehicles Bureau became part of a new department, leaving only the gasoline tax unit at the Department of Revenue.

During its early years, the Department moved from its original home in the Capitol's Senate Chamber, Clerk's office and committee rooms to temporary quarters at the Agriculture Building. Later as the Department grew, the state bought the Brown-Rogers Building to house several of the Department's divisions.

To solve the Department of Revenue's growing space needs, the General Assembly approved construction of a new building in 1986. The Department of Revenue moved to its new home on Wilmington Street in December of 1992.

As part of its continuing commitment to serving North Carolina taxpayers, the Department has worked to keep pace with technological innovations and improve efficiency. The Department began using automated equipment to process individual income tax returns in 1960 and added an optical character reader capable of scanning hand-coded adjustments on tax forms in 1977.

As computer use grew, the Department planned an integrated tax accounting system that would bring information from separate divisions and tax schedules together into one database -- making it faster and easier to cross check files and tax returns and provide taxpayers the information they need. The system was fully in place by 1997.

The Department also encouraged taxpayers to file their income tax returns electronically. In 1997, North Carolina led the nation in the number of electronic returns with more than 540,000 personal tax returns filed electronically.

During the 1970s the General Assembly made several changes that reorganized state government, including the Department of Revenue. The Commissioner's title became Secretary of Revenue. The Secretary is appointed by the Governor and serves as an ex officio member of the Tax Review Board. The Secretary also serves as a member of the Local Government Commission.

Today, the Department of Revenue is led by the Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, and three Assistant Secretaries.

Past Secretaries of the Deparment of Revenue



Jeff Epstein

2016 to Present

Lyons Gray

2013 - 2016

David William Hoyle 

2010 - 2013

Kenneth Lay

2009 - 2010

E. Norris Tolson

2001 - 2009

Muriel K. Offerman

1996 - 2001

Janice H. Faulkner

1993 - 1996

Betsy Y. Justus

1990 - 1993

Helen Ann Powers

1985 - 1990

Mark G. Lynch

1977 - 1985

Mark H. Coble

1973 - 1977

Gilmer Andrew Jones, Jr.

1972 - 1973

Ivie L. Clayton

1965 - 1971

Lewis Sneed High

1964 - 1965

William A. Johnson

1961 - 1964

James S. Currie

1957 - 1961

Eugene G. Shaw

1949 - 1957

Edwin M. Gill

1942 - 1949

Allen J. Maxwell

1929 - 1942

Rufus A. Doughton

1923 - 1929

Alston D. Watts

1921 - 1923

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