Personal property is defined as those movable items not permanently affixed to or part of real estate. Typically, these items are furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment. The taxation of personal property is governed by MGL Chapter 59 Section 5 Clause 16. A personal property tax is issued separately from a real estate tax to certain businesses, public utilities, and owners of homes that are not their primary residences. The tax assessed is based on the value of all of the applicable items of personal property. The specific items of personal property that are assessed to any owner is contingent on the type of ownership the personal property is held by. The following chart shows what would be considered taxable personal property given different scenarios of ownership:
Annually, by March 1st, owners of taxable personal property are to submit an itemization of all taxable property on what is known as a form of lists; MGL Chapter 59 Section 29. This annual submission allows the Assessors to keep current mailing addresses, name changes, changes in corporate status and an accurate inventory of taxable items.