A Brief Explanation of Personal Property Tax
According to the Ohio Revised
Code, at Section 5701.03, "'Personal Property' includes every tangible thing that is
the subject of ownership, whether animate or inanimate, including a business fixture, and
that does not constitute real property as defined in section 5701.02 of the Revised
Code." What does this mean in plain language?
When you open a business, you need certain supplies, equipment and furnishings. Examples
would be telephones, computers, desks, chairs, drills, pencils, pens, reference books, and
shelves. These are just a few of the items considered to be tangible personal property.
The law also says a "business fixture" is an item that is permanently attached
to either the land or structure and benefits the business being conducted. An example of
this would be a walk-in freezer at a fast food restaurant. If an item is used to control
the structure's environment, is lines, tanks or towers for water, either drinking or fire
control, or is electrical or communications wiring, it is not a business fixture. If an
item benefits the structure or realty itself, it is not considered to be a business
If you were to build an apartment building, any appliances that are supplied would be
considered tangible personal property. These appliances could be refrigerators, ranges,
washers, or dryers. If an attorney were to commence business, he would need to report not
only his furniture, but also his law books, just as an accountant would need to report her
accounting and tax books.
There are some exceptions under Ohio law. Motor vehicles, such as automobiles, trucks, and
buses, are not considered personal property. Also, any "
patterns, jigs, dies,
or drawings that are held for use and not for sale
" are not taxed as personal
property. An example of this would be a drawing used by a machine tool company to design a
Every business operating in Ohio, with the exception of financial institutions and public
utilities, must file a tangible personal property tax return annually with the Auditor. If
the business operates in more than one county in Ohio, the return is filed directly with
the Ohio Department of Taxation. The tax return must be filed between February 15 and
April 30. An extension of up to forty-five days may be granted by the Auditor. If any tax
is due, at least one-half must be paid within ten days of filing the return or ten days
after the close of the filing season. If the return is not filed, the taxpayer may have a
forced assessment levied against him/her. If the tax is not paid, a lien is placed upon
the tangible personal property as well as the real property in the taxpayers name.
If the tax is not paid after a certain period of time, as determined by the County
Treasurer, the Treasurer has the option to seize the property and sell it at public
auction. A list of unpaid taxes and taxpayers is published annually in the local