P ERSONAL PROPERTY
All personal property located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and personal property belonging to the residents of the Commonwealth wherever located, is subject to taxation unless expressly exempted by law.
What is Personal Property
Personal property is “tangible” property (that is, physical), and is subject to the personal property tax unless exempted by statute. Tangible personal property ranges from the chairs in a barber shop to the furnishings of a doctor’s waiting room; from the drills used by a dentist to the poles owned by a utility.
Can Personal Property be Exempt?
Professional tools used by plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics and other trades are exempt from the personal property tax. In legal terms, this exemption covers “tools of trade”, (e.g., small tools that can fit in a tool box).
Tools of other professionals not listed in the above paragraph are considered taxable. These include dentist’s drills and X-ray machines. Computers are also subject to the personal property tax, but in cases where they are utilized by a corporation for internal purposes only (e.g., for such functions as internal accounting or administrative operations), these computers are not subject to taxation.
Tangible personal property subject to some other type of local tax is also exempt from the personal property tax. Motor vehicle and trailer excise, ship and boat excise, the farm animal and equipment excise, and mobile home park license fees are all included in this category. For example, boats, fishing gear and nets - up to $10,000 in value - owned and used in a commercial fishing business are exempt.
Intangible personal property is exempt from the personal property tax. Intangible property includes stocks, bonds, cash, mortgages and other evidence of ownership of property rights.
Property owned by Individuals, Sole Proprietors, Partnerships, and Trusts
In general, all tangible personal property located in Massachusetts is taxable unless expressly exempt.
Properties Owned by Business Corporations
For business corporations, poles, underground conduits, wires, pipes (property generally owned by utility companies) and machinery used in the conduct of business are taxable.
Taxable examples of “machinery used in the conduct of business” would include property used on behalf of that corporation’s customers (e. g., using computers and equipment to process data on behalf of clients).
Exempt examples of “machinery” would include property directly used in any purchasing, selling, accounting or administrative function; inventory or stock in trade; or personal property directly used in connection with laundering or dry-cleaning processes, the refrigeration of goods or the air conditioning of the premises.
Manufacturing Corporations (Domestic and Foreign)
The Commissioner of Revenue for the Commonwealth determines what is a manufacturing corporation. Machinery of a manufacturing corporation (domestic or foreign) is not subject to personal property taxation; however, poles, underground conduits, wires and pipes of manufacturing corporations are taxable.
All Other Business Corporations
Other business corporations such as insurance companies, public service corporations, utilities, savings banks and cooperative banks are subject to taxation on poles, underground conduits, wires and pipes, as well as machinery used in the manufacture or in the supply or distribution of water.
Where is Personal Property Assessed
Generally, all tangible personal property is assessed in the city or town in which the personal property is situated as of January 1. The principal exception is in situations where personal property has only a temporary location as of January 1. In the latter case, the property is assessed at the residence of the owner.
The value is derived from the following categories:
1.Appliances & Small Eectronics
2.Tools & Equipment
3.Furniture & Accessories
5.Unregistered Motor Vehicles & Trailers
The Personal Property Tax is the responsibility of the owner of the property on
January 1. If you sold the property or became a permanent resident of
Mashpee after that date, the full tax is still your responsibility. The tax is not
prorated from the time you sold the property or became a permanent resident.
You may be entitled to an abatement if you did not have any personal property
in the house on January 1,. If your property was rented unfurnished, or
if the personal property was removed prior to January 1 in preparation for the
sale, you can obtain an abatement application from the Assessing Department
after the third quarter tax bill is issued on or about January 1.
The completed application, with any supporting information is due in this office
same date as the third quarter tax bill, February 1.
The criteria the assessing office reviews for status of being a permanent resident
in Mashpee are the following:
1. Registered Voter
2. On the Census
3. Motor Vehicle (address of garaging)
4. Income tax filing:
a. residence address
b. filing individual/jointly
Please contact this office if you have any questions.