In Massachusetts, material non-real estate goods used in the course of business are subject to a personal property tax. These material can range from diner chairs to denistry machines to poles and conduits used by power companies. This tax is assessed as of January 1st and is billed in arrears. Therefore you will not receive a personal property tax bill until the fiscal year after you start your business. However, you will also receive a tax bill a year after you close out the business.
Each year all proprietors, partnerships, associations, trusts, and corporations must file a Form of List declaring their assets and values. This form is due March 1st. If no form is filed, the town will make an estimation of value. In some cases, an inspection of the business may occur. Having no Form of List on file will make it more difficult to be granted an abatement should you apply for one.
All Forms of List should be returned to the Board of Assessors at Northborough town hall by the filing deadline.
If you believe your personal property bill is too high you can file for an abatement. You can only file during the month of January. After the filing deadline, the assessor will review your abatement and determine whether an adjustment in value needs to be made.
I closed my business last August but received a bill for personal property. Do I owe it?
Yes. Because personal property is billed in arrears, you will owe both this bill. It is also important that you notify the clerk's department and the assessor's department that your business has closed. This notification must be on letterhead or on a signed Form of List.
Any property that is used soley for the purposes of conducting business - such as a dedicated phone or computer - should be declared.
Can I get an extension on the filing deadline?
Requests can be made to the assessor for a filing extension and are granted on a case-by-case basis.
Can I get a copy of my business's Form of List from last year?
No, by state law we cannot give out the previous year's Form of List. We strongly recommend keeping a spreadsheet of your assets and updating it each year.