Personal Property

The Personal Property Tax is assessed separately from real estate. The tax is assessed upon tangible assets that are not part of the real estate. Tangible personal property is composed of goods, merchandise, equipment, tools, machinery, furniture, furnishings and effects and other movable property.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 29 requires all businesses (individuals, trusts, partnerships, associations and corporation, including home businesses) to file a Form of List (State Tax Form 2) each year with the Assessors that hold personal property on January 1st in Topsfield unless expressly exempt.

  • Unincorporated businesses must list all furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment and inventory.
  • Incorporated businesses must list all machinery used in the conduct of business except machinery used only for administrative or selling functions.
  • Classified Manufacturers must list poles, wires and pipes underground conduits, and machinery used on the generation of electricity.

The Form of List must be filed by March 1st with the Topsfield Board of Assessors unless an extension is granted. Request for an extension must be made in writing to the assessors.

Literary, temperance, benevolent, charitable or scientific organizations that may be entitled to an exemption from real and personal property taxes under General Laws Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 3 must file State Tax Form 3ABC listing all property that they own or hold for these purposes on January 1st.

The personal property valuation is based upon the assessment date of January 1st. The tax is due to the municipality in which it is originally located on this date. There are no provisions in the law to pro-rate the personal property tax for the reason of dissolving the business or relocating to another community during the calendar year. Please use the Change of Address Request Form to notify the Assessors' Office if the business has been dissolved, relocated or the mailing address has changed.

Taxpayers aggrieved by a personal property assessment should file an application for abatement with the Board of Assessors. The application must be filed with the assessors not later than due date of actual (not preliminary) tax payment for the fiscal year. Information regarding the appeal process is printed on the back of the tax bills. If an owner is aggrieved by the Board's decision, he or she may further appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.

Personal Property tax bills are mailed quarterly and due as follows:

  • First Quarter Preliminary Bill is due on August 1st
  • Second Quarter Preliminary Bill is due on November 1st
  • Third Quarter Actual Bill is due on February 1st
  • Fourth Quarter Final Payment for Fiscal Year is due on May 1sT

Frequently asked personal property questions can be found at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website.

If you have any questions, contact the Assessors’ Office (978-887-1514).