The laws of the Commonwealth state everyone is subject to a personal property tax and everyone is exempt regarding their year-round domicile furnishings and their clothing. Everything else is subject to the personal property tax.
This is why you still are subject to the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax if you do not sell the vehicle as it is subject to personal property tax.
The personal property tax is primarily a tax on businesses and furnishings of second homes. A person or company that is in business as of January 1 is subject to a personal property tax in the community where the business is located. If the business is owned by an individual, partnership, limited liability company or trust, it is subject to a tax on everything used in the conduct of the business; furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory and or machinery.
If the business is owned by a corporation, the furniture, fixtures and inventory are exempt locally as they pay a corporate excise to the State, but they are subject to a local personal property tax on the machinery used in the conduct of the business, poles, wires and underground conduits. There is an exemption on machinery used in the administration of the business, purchasing, selling, refrigeration of goods, the air conditioning of the premises and laundering.
If the business is owned by a manufacturing designated corporation, they are only taxable on poles, wires, underground conduits, and machinery used in the distribution of water.
In the case of laundries, if the business is owned by an individual, they are subject to a tax on all of their equipment and machinery. If the business is owned by a corporation, the machinery used for laundering is exempt, but they are subject to taxes on all other machinery, such as the revolving racks, presses, sewing machines, etc.
Form of List
All businesses are required to file a Form of List with the Board of Assessors by March 1 of every year. This is a declaration by the person owing the business as to what they have, the date of purchase, price new, make and model of machinery, furniture etc., and what he/she feels is the current value.
In addition to reviewing the form of List, the Assessors conduct a field visit to list the property. If, when the tax bills are issued, the taxpayer has a question on what they are being billed for or the valuation, they have the right to file an abatement application. This application must be filed when the third notice or “actual tax bill” is issued, but no later than February 1, or if mailed, have a US post mark of no later than February 1.
If a Form of List is not filed and the taxpayer files an abatement application, an abatement granted will be penalized by 50%.