This is a useful link for questions on Personal Property tax.
Personal property generally includes tangible items that are not firmly attached to land or buildings and are not specially designed for or of such a size and bulk to be considered part of the real estate. This includes merchandise, furnishings and effects, machinery, tools, animals and equipment. Such personal property will be taxable unless a specific exemption provision applies.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 29 requires all business owners to annually file a Form of List with the Assessors office in the town where the business is situated. This law applies to anyone who operated a business in the town, even home businesses. The Form of List should be filed after January 1st, but no later than March 1st of each year.
If a business owner does not file a Form of List with the Assessors office Chapter 59, Section 36 allows the Assessors to estimate the value according to their best information. Once the Assessors place a value on a business, this information is used for the purpose of assessing a personal property tax. Personal property tax bills are due August 1st, November 1st, February 1st and May 1st. Failure to comply with these provisions of the law could bar the business owner from appealing the value.
The assessment date for Personal Property is as if the property were there as of January 1st of each year. If you close your business during the course of the fiscal year the tax bill will still be due for the remainder of that fiscal year. Therefore, any person who owns or runs a business on January 1st is taxable for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st of that year.
Please call the Assessors office at 978-468-5574 with any questions.