Tools employed by a plumber, carpenter, auto mechanic and other trade professionals are exempt from personal property tax. In legal terms, this exemption covers "tools of trade" of a "mechanic" (e.g. small tools that can fit in a toolbox).
Tools of other professionals are, however, considered taxable. These include the equipment and "machinery used in the conduct of business," i.e. dentist's drills, x-ray machines, pinball machines, typewriters, etc. Computers are also subject to personal property taxation, unless they are used by a corporation for administrative purposes.
Tangible personal property subject to some other type of local tax is exempt from further taxation. Motor vehicle and trailer excise, ship and boat excise, farm animal and equipment excise, and mobile home park license fees are all included in this category. The clear intent of the law is to avoid double taxation.
Intangible personal property is specifically exempt from personal property taxation. Intangible property includes stocks, bonds, cash, mortgages and other evidence of ownership of property rights.