Tools employed by a plumber, carpenter, auto mechanic and other trade professionals are exempt from the personal property tax. In legal terms, this exemption covers "tools of trade" of a "mechanic" (e.g., small tools that can fit in a tool box). Boats, fishing gear and nets - up to $10,000 in value - owned and used in a commercial fishing business are exempt. Tools of other professionals not listed 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), 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. Intangible personal property is exempt from the personal property tax. Intangible property includes stocks, bonds and cash, mortgages and other evidence of ownership of property rights.
For Individuals, Sole Proprietors, Partnerships, Associations, Trusts, Limited Liability Companies filing as Partnerships, and Out-of-State Insurance Companies not having a reciprocal exemption agreement with Massachusetts:
Individuals are entitled to an exemption for (1) household furniture and effects at the place of their domicile, (2) farm utensils and (3) tools of a mechanic's trade.
Tangible personal property that is taxable includes: Poles, underground conduits, wires, pipes, machinery, tools & equipment, business furniture and fixtures, merchandise, unregistered motor vehicles and trailers, animals, and forest products.
For Massachusetts Business and Out-of-State Business Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (filing federally as corporations) and Mutual Insurance Holding Companies:
Tangible personal property that is taxable includes poles, underground conduits, wires, and pipes. All ‘machinery used in the conduct of business" is taxable except machines that are: (1) stock in trade, (2) used directly in dry cleaning or laundering processes, to refrigerate goods or to air condition premises, or (3) used directly in purchasing, selling, accounting or administrative functions.
For Massachusetts and Out-of-State Manufacturing Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (filing federally as corporations which have been classified as "manufacturing" by the Department of Revenue):
Tangible personal property that is taxable includes poles, underground conduits, wires, and pipes. All tangible personal property used in the manufacture or generation of electricity except property that (1) is a cogeneration facility of 30 megawatts or less in capacity, or (2) was exempt because of a manufacturing classification effective on or before January 1, 1996.
For All Other Massachusetts Corporations subject to taxation under M.G.L. Chapter 63 including: Financial Institutions, Insurance Companies, Savings and Cooperative Banks, Utility Corporations, Out-of-State Public Service Corporations subject to taxation under M.G.L. Chapter 63, Section 58 and Out-of-State Insurance Companies if the state of incorporation exempts similar tangible personal property of Massachusetts insurance companies:
Tangible personal property that is taxable includes poles, underground conduits, wires, pipes and machinery used in the manufacture, or in supplying, or distributing water.