With many property tax return form deadlines upon us (most are between late February and mid-May), it’s a busy time of year for tax professionals. It may be part of your process to compare this year’s business personal property forms with last year’s, in which case it’s good to know when a form has changed. Most forms don’t change from one year to the next, and even when they do, the changes rarely impact the way you’ll prepare or file. But having a heads-up about the differences can help speed up the process—and sometimes even prevent mistakes.
Listed below are some changes we noticed during our review of the 2019 property tax return forms for most states across the U.S.; note that there may be additional changes to specific jurisdiction forms that are not included here.
Business Personal Property Tax Returns: Form Changes In 2019
In previous years, North Carolina’s property tax return form Schedule A was divided into eight groups of asset categories—machinery/equipment, office furniture, computer equipment, construction in progress, supplies, expensed items, improvements to leased property, and “Other.” The “Other” category was a place for businesses to list assets that didn’t fit into any of the predefined categories; in 2019, this category was removed.
This change could be problematic in that it may now be difficult to determine where certain assets should be listed. If your organization previously categorized assets as “other,” (outlined in yellow in the image below) it may be necessary to consult with your local assessor as to the classification of those assets in 2019.
North Carolina’s old Schedule A form included the group “other” for asset classification.
North Carolina’s new Schedule A 2019 form (bottom) no longer includes Group 8 “Other.”
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Maryland’s entire business personal property return form changed. For the most part all the information is the same—it includes the same valuation breakdowns and asset groupings—but it’s formatted differently, and sections have been moved around. If you’re filling out this form in 2019, read the form carefully to be sure it’s completed accurately.
There are three changes to Michigan business personal property forms in 2019:
- The name of Form 5076—for small business property tax exemptions—changed from “Affidavit to Claim Small Business Tax Exemption” to “Small Business Property Tax Exemption Claim.”
- The deadline for submitting Form 5076 changed from February 10 to February 20.
- On Form L-4175, section M, “Leasehold Improvements,” the number of years over which certain assets can be depreciated has increased. In previous years, you needed to report only the details of leasehold improvements made at your place of business for the previous two years; the 2019 form asks for an additional year of detail to include 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Previously, Michigan’s Form L-4175 asked for two years of detail for leasehold improvements (top image); in 2019, an additional year of detail is required.
On the St. Louis City business tangible personal property tax return form, sections 9, 10, and 11 all removed a year of detail for asset depreciation (the opposite of Michigan’s change on Form L-4175). The form now asks for information for 2005 and “2004 & prior,” whereas previously it asked for detailed information 2005, 2004, and “2003 & prior.”
Tennessee added a new section to its tangible personal property schedule—pollution control equipment. Any organization that has assets used to mitigate odors, vapors, water contamination, or other emissions should now report them in a separate section. (Note that any assets listed here must first be certified for eligibility.)
Tennessee’s new pollution control equipment section is highlighted above.
There are two changes on Virginia property tax rendition forms:
- It now requires a business license number, something not previously requested on property tax returns.
- On Hanover County’s form, asset acquisition years are now listed in descending order (2018 to 2013), where they were previously in ascending order (2013 to 2017). (This is one of those instances where, if you were simply filing in the same numbers from last year and didn’t notice the order of the dates had changed, the form would be incorrect.)
Virginia’s new property tax form lists asset acquisition years in descending order (whereas previously they were in ascending order).
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