Personal Property Taxation

What is Personal Property Tax?

A tax that, in our area, is usually associated with businesses.

What is Being Taxed?

Goods, material objects and other things capable of ownership which are not part of the real estate.

I have never heard of this tax! Personal property taxation is usually incurred by businesses. There are many items exempt from the tax. Some items are:

  • Household furnishings and effects at a person’s primary home are generally (when not
    used for business purposes) exempt from personal property tax.
  • Motor Vehicles and trailers for which you are paying an Auto Excise Tax are exempt from
    Personal Property Tax.
  • Boats subject to an excise are exempt from personal property tax.

How Does This Tax Work?

If you are subject to a personal property tax then you must file a personal property Form of List each year prior to March 1 (See: general information). Based on this report the Assessors form a value for the personal property and you may receive a quarterly tax bill.

What Items Need to be Reported?

The taxability of each item depends on the ownership status of the business and use of the item.
Because of the complexity of personal property taxation we are including a link to the frequently asked questions at the Department of Revenue site and have included explanations on the back of the Personal Property Report Form.

I Closed My Business. Is the Tax Bill Pro-Rated?

No, pursuant to Massachusetts general laws, personal property is assessed each year based on an assessment date of the January 1 preceding the fiscal year (January 1, 2019, for all of Fiscal Year 2020: July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020). Personal Property is assessed based on the way the business existed on January 1, 2019, for the entire Fiscal Year 2020 regardless of any changes that occur after that date. Therefore, the tax bill is due and payable for the entire year.