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Tangible Personal Property

A definition from a property tax perspective


Updated January 04, 2011

Definition: Tangible personal property refers to property, except land or buildings, that can be seen, weighed, measured, felt, touched, or otherwise perceived by the senses.

Tangible personal property generally does not include assets without a physical form such as stocks, bonds, copyrights, deeds, liquor licenses, etc.  These items are intangible assets.

State taxes on tangible personal property are usually paid by businesses, although some states impose car taxes on individuals, which are a type of personal property tax.  


Tangible personal property that is taxable usually includes items like portable machinery and equipment, office furniture, tools, vehicles, and supplies held by businesses.  Some states tax business inventory and others do not. Household goods and personal effects held by individuals are usually exempt from personal property taxes. 

Check with your state's tax agency for specific rules.







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