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Personal Property Tax

What Property is Taxable?

Tangible personal property is subject to personal property taxation unless exempt by statute. Items defined as tangible personal property range from chairs in a barber shop, to the inventory of a retail store, to drills used by a dentist to the street poles owned by a utility company.

What Property Is Exempt?

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.

Forms of Lists

Each year all parties subject to personal property taxation must submit a list of all their personal property to the Assessor by March 1st preceding the Fiscal Year. Blank Forms of Lists are available online, or in Room 209, City Hall Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Failure to file a Form of List prevents the Assessor from granting an abatement for overvaluation of the personal property.

Information Requests

Upon review of the Form of List, the Assessor may require an owner or lessee of personal property to provide further information in writing, as may be reasonably necessary, to determine the actual fair cash valuation of the property. Failure to comply with the request within thirty (30) days will bar any appeal of the taxes assessed, unless the owner or lessee was unable to comply with the request for reasons beyond his/her control. Any false statement that is knowingly made will also bar the taxpayer from any statutory appeal.

Abatement of Tax

Applications for abatement must be filed within thirty (30) days of the date on which the third quarter "actual" tax bill was mailed, or by February 1st, whichever is later. To file for an abatement, please submit an Abatement Application (175KB).

For Further Assistance

If you need additional assistance or have questions about the valuation or taxation of personal property, please call (508) 799-1098 and read through our Frequently Asked Questions.

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