Understanding Tangible Personal Property Tax and Your Responsibilities Under the Law

You probably know that the Leon County Property Appraiser is responsible for assessing the value of all real property in Florida. Do you know that the Property Appraiser is also responsible for assessing tangible personal property values? Maybe you don’t, but hopefully your tax professional does!

Tangible personal property (TPP) tax is an important concept for business owners to understand as it relates to tax assessment and compliance. In simple terms, TPP are items that are not permanently attached to real estate and can be moved.  This includes items such as computers, furniture, fixtures, tools, signs, machinery, appliances, supplies, and leasehold improvements, etc.

Many business owners are unaware of the assessment and tax requirements related to TPP and may overlook filing the necessary returns. This can lead to penalties and additional expenses for the business.

To comply with TPP assessment and taxation requirements, business owners must file a TPP return annually, which lists all equipment used in the operation of the business. The deadline for filing this return is April 1, and failure to file on time can result in penalties of 5% per month, up to a maximum of 25%.

However, there is good news for businesses that file on time! Each timely TPP return is eligible for an exemption of up to $25,000, which can help reduce the tax burden on the business. To receive this exemption, an initial return must be filed.

Filing a TPP return is a straightforward process. Returns may be filed by mail or by using -our online E-File application, which offers convenience and ease of use for business owners. This application can be accessed through our website at www.leonpa.gov.

Business owners should be aware of TPP assessment and taxation and take steps to file the required returns on time. By doing so, they can avoid penalties and reduce the tax burden on their business. Additionally, understanding TPP is important for asset management and accounting purposes, which can help businesses make informed financial decisions.

Here are a few tips from the Florida Department of Revenue to keep handy or discuss with your accountant or tax professional:

  • Who must pay TPP taxes? Anyone who has a proprietorship, partnership, or corporation; is a self-employed agent or contractor; or leases, lends, or rents property on January 1 must file a TPP return with the property appraiser by April 1 each year.​​
  • Do I have to file a new TPP return every year? YES, if you own TPP with a combined assessed value greater than $25,000, you must file a return every year.  However, if you own TPP with a combined assessed value at or below $25,000 and file an initial return, you may qualify for the filing waiver. The waiver applies in all subsequent years that the TPP combined assessed value stays at or below $25,000. 
  • What types of items ARE subject to TPP tax? Goods, chattels, and other articles of value, except certain vehicles; inventory held for lease; equipment on some vehicles; personally owned property used in the business; and fully depreciated items.
  • What types of items ARE NOT subject to TPP tax? Intangible personal property; household goods; most automobiles, trucks, and other licensed vehicles; and inventory that is for sale as part of your business.

The staff of the Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office is always available to help answer any questions you may have. Call (850) 606-6200, option 4, or visit us online at leonpa.gov.

Lorenza Smith, CFE, is the Tangible Personal Property Supervisor for the Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office. He can be reached at lsmith@leonpa.gov.