published March, 2008
The County Assessor charges a small amount of tax on Personal Property held for a business purpose in the county. You tell the assessor the purchase price and year on various classes of property on a Form 571L due April 1, and the tax is due by August 31. The Assessor does their own version of depreciation on the reported assets, and they assess a tax of approximately 1.25%, depending on which county you’re in.
This tax is for things like computers, furniture, equipment, improvements, supplies, etc. So this is your opportunity to declare the purchase price of things that you still have on hand. We keep a list of assets with your tax return, since we’re depreciating them for tax purposes. One of the crazy things they want listed is “supplies” – and they mean paper, pens, staples and sandpaper! People often estimate this value for the 571L.
If you have property valued over $100,000 in a county, you’re supposed to declare it (and pay tax on it), even if they don’t send you a form. They don’t really say you HAVE to volunteer for amounts under this (don’t forget to include all that sandpaper!), but I’m not saying you shouldn’t. All this does not include inventory for sale.
The Assessor says they may share the info with the State Board of Equalization – the sales tax people. Presumably if a five year old computer drops off the property listing nothing will happen, but for other ‘current’ assets, they may try to collect sales tax if you sold property.
It seems annoying to me that I bought something for my business, paid sales tax at the time, and I have to pay property tax on that item every year until I sell it.