Personal Propertyis defined by 36 M.R.S.A. § 601 as "all tangible goods and chattels wheresoever they are and all vessels, at home or abroad." "Chattels" is defined in Ballentine's Law Dictionary as "property which is movable and not so connected with the ground as to become part of the real estate.
Two Basic Classes of Personal Property
- Intangible Personal Property - includes stocks, bonds, notes, mortgages, cash, bank deposits, accounts, credits, dividends, patent rights, etc.
- Tangible Personal Property - includes motor vehicles, livestock, furniture, jewelry,
machinery and grain. Some tangible property is taxable, some may be exempt from taxation statutorily.
Where Taxed and to Whom - General Rule
Taxable personal property, whether located within or outside the State, normally must be taxed to the owner by the municipality in which he or she resides.There are some exceptions to this general rule.
Inventory of Taxable Property
Before making an assessment, per 36 M.R.S.A. § 706, the assessors may give "seasonable notice" in writing to all persons liable to taxation in the municipality, asking them to provide the assessors with "true and perfect lists" of all the taxable real and personal property which they possessed on April 1st of that year. The notice may be mailed to the last known address of the taxpayer or may be provided by any other method that provides reasonable notice to the taxpayer. However, if the assessors do give direct notice and a taxpayer fails to submit his/her list of taxable property, the taxpayer may be barred from requesting an abatement at a later date unless the taxpayer provides a list with his/her abatement application and satisfies the assessors that he/she was unable to furnish it by the original deadline.