A tax on personal property is authorized by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Sections 2 and 18. It is assessed to the owner of record on the January 1st assessment date. The tax is not pro-rated if the property was sold after January 1st.
A residential property is assessed the tax on the furnishings (including machinery and equipment) of a dwelling unit. However, these furnishings are exempt from the tax if either (1) they are the possessions of the owner and the dwelling unit is the owner’s domicile (i.e., primary residence) or (2) they are the possessions of the lessee and the dwelling unit is the lessee’s domicile. If the personal property is taxable, the value is calculated by multiplying the unit value by 1% for a condominium unit and by 2% for all other types of residential dwelling units.
A business, subject to specific exemptions, is assessed the tax on the machinery, equipment, inventory, furniture and fixtures of the business. The owner of the business is required to file an annual “Form of List” with information on the personal property of the business. The "Personal Property "Form of List" Annual Form" can be found under Documents and Applications.
Please click on the following link to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue web site for more information on Personal Property tax: Frequently Asked Questions - Personal Property