In general, personal property is anything that is moveable and is not a permanent part of real estate, including items such as business-owned furniture, fixtures, machinery or equipment, as well as horses and unregistered motor vehicles and snowmobiles that anyone owns (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-71).
A taxpayer must file a Personal Property Declaration with the assessor of the city or town in which personal property is subject to taxation by November 1, annually (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-41). An assessor may grant a taxpayer an extension of up to 45 days to file a declaration (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-42). Nonresident taxpayers must file a declaration (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-43).
Lessees of personal property must also file a report with assessors by November 1, annually. This requirement affects any personal property (other than a Connecticut registered motor vehicle) that is subject to a contract of lease and is in a lessee’s possession (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-57a).
On a Personal Property Declaration, a taxpayer provides information concerning the year of acquisition of personal property, as well as the original cost of acquisition, freight and installation. Assessors apply depreciation to the total cost a taxpayer declares to obtain the depreciated value of personal property. The assessment of the property is 70% of the depreciated value.
If a taxpayer files a Personal Property Declaration subsequent to the date it is due, the assessor adds a 25% assessment penalty to the taxpayer’s assessment. A 25% assessment penalty is also applicable if a taxpayer fails to file a declaration, in which case an assessor uses the best information available to determine the value of the taxpayer’s personal property (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-41 and Sec. 12-42).
An assessor (or an assessor’s designee) may conduct an audit regarding a taxpayer’s personal property. If an audit reveals that a taxpayer omitted property from a declaration or did not accurately report personal property costs, state law provides for a 25% assessment penalty. Interest is applicable to the tax for such property from the tax due date for the assessment year to which the audit relates (Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-53).
Collecting Delinquent Taxes
The tax collector may initiate further action to collect delinquent personal property taxes by withholding health permits, vendor payments from the town and filing UCC liens with the Secretary of State. The tax collector may also issue an alias tax warrant which allows for garnishing bank accounts, closing a business to sell property to pay tax bills, or initiate a court case which requires the delinquent taxpayer to pay any court costs that accrue because of their delinquent payment.