Friday, December 4, 2020        

Completing Your Personal Property Declaration

Not sure if you are required to complete this form? The answer is probably YES. If you operate a business in the Town of Smithfield, you must declare your personal property to the Assessor. This includes all types of businesses, including home and online-based operations. You will report the personal property that your business owns as of December 31st (Rhode Island’s assessment date), and this reporting is due to the Assessor by the following January 31st each year.

Step 1:     Download the Declaration Form

Click here (new form coming soon) to download the Annual Declaration of Business Personal Property form. This is a fillable PDF form that you can complete right here on your computer. The form will also assist you in calculating the declared personal property value for your business.

For the best results, save the PDF form to a convenient location on your computer before starting the process of filling in your information.

Step 2:     General Business Information

Complete the five fields at the top of page one by filling in your business name (DBA), owner name, the number and street where the business is located in Smithfield, and your desired mailing address. If your business is incorporated, it is usually appropriate to list the corporation in the Owner Name field.

In section one, also on the first page, please provide a brief description of the business, such as:

Residential & Commercial Landscaping

Retail Health & Fitness Store, or

Insurance Office

Then, indicate the appropriate ownership type for your business.

If your business has sold, dissolved, or relocated outside of Smithfield, please use section two to request removal from the  tax roll and attach the proper documentation as indicated on the form.

Step 3:     Itemized Property Listing

Use section three on page two to provide an itemized list of the personal property owned by your business. The list should consist of all property that is not considered real estate. This includes, but is not limited to, computers, furniture, fixtures, tools, equipment, supplies, decorations, unregistered motor vehicles, and leasehold improvements. This list should not include inventory stocked for resale, as inventory is not currently taxable in Rhode Island. Also, do not list registered motor vehicles on this declaration.

For each item, report the Acquisition Year, Item Description, Original Item Cost, Quantity, and Total Cost. Note: If you are using the electronic form, the Total Cost will calculate automatically.

Though personal property lists can vary based on the type of business, the following is an abbreviated example of proper reporting:

If you do not already have a property list for your business, it is a good idea to keep one on file. Keeping a copy of this year’s list will make next year’s reporting that much easier.

Please note that these declarations are not considered public information and are not shared with anyone outside of qualified assessment personnel. Whereas we will share our assessment information with the owner of a specific business (upon verifying ID), it is expected that each year’s property declaration will be based upon the reporting of the owner or agent of each business, not on existing assessment data. Therefore, declarations simply referring to last year’s assessment or property list will not be accepted as complete.

If the form does not provide enough space for your property listing, please attach your own list that references your business. Excel format is preferred, but the Assessor will accept any list that is clear, legible, and provides the requested information.

Step 4:     Disposals

Use section four on page two to report items that have previously been assessed but have been disposed, sold, or otherwise removed from the jurisdiction. If your disposed property is not reported in section four, these assets may continue to be assessed for the following tax roll.

If the form does not provide enough space for your disposed property listing, please attach your own list that references your business. Excel format is preferred, but the Assessor will accept any list that is clear, legible, and provides the requested information.

Step 5:     Summarize Property by Class & Year

In section five on page three of the form, you will summarize the values of the personal property items that you have already itemized in section three. In order to do this, it is important to have a basic understanding of the four legal property classes:

Class I- Computers

Only computers, such as desktops, laptops, and tablets should be counted in this section. Printers and copiers are not Class I items and should be counted in the next part.

Class II- Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment

It is likely that most of your personal property will be counted as Class II property, including furniture, fixtures, tools, and equipment. Include all property not counted as Class I, Class III, or Leasehold Improvements in this section.

Class III- Long-Life Assets

No, the vintage typewriter that you’ve owned since 1967 does not count as a long-life asset. Outside of certain industrial operations, most businesses do not own Class III property. Contact the Assessor’s Office if you have questions about long-life assets.

Leasehold Improvements

Leasehold Improvements refers to property that is owned by you, but attached to real estate that is owned by others. For example, if you lease a space in an office building and paid for a fit-out or improvements to the unit, this would be considered a leasehold improvement. Please contact the Assessor’s Office if you have questions regarding LHI.

You will sum the total cost for each item in section three according to property class and report this cost according to acquisition year. Again, if you are using the electronic form, the declared values will automatically calculate and total. The example below is a summary using the example asset list shown above in Step 3:

Supplies

Supplies consist of property not possible or practical to be itemized. This could be office supplies such as paper, pens, paperclips, staples printer toner, etc., or other supplies such as cleaning products, toiletries, and hardware such as screws and nails.
You will enter one dollar amount here— the total cost of the average level of supplies kept on hand at your business.

This example shows $1,900 reported in Class I- Computers for the year 2016. This $1,900 is the total cost for the Dell Laptop Computers reported in section three. In Class II, $1,358 is reported for 2011. This is the summed total cost for the Office Desks, Office Chairs, and Desk Lamps reported in section three.

After reporting the property summaries, there is a space at the end of section five to calculate the total declared value for your business.

Step 6:     Leased Items

Use section six on page four to report all personal property items in your possession, but not owned by your business. This should include leased, rented, consigned, or borrowed property. Please include the appropriate information for the owner of each piece of property.

If the form does not provide enough space for your leased property listing, please attach your own list that references your business. Excel format is preferred, but the Assessor will accept any list that is clear, legible, and provides the requested information.

Step 7:     Sign Your Return

In section seven on page four, sign and date your declaration, and provide your printed name and title or position at your business, email address, and contact phone number. Forms without a written or electronic signature will not be accepted as complete.

Step 8:     Submit Your Declaration by January 31st

Declarations are due to the Assessor on January 31st of each year. The deadline can be extended to March 15th, provided that you submit an extension notice to the Assessor by January 31st.

To submit your declaration via email, send to the Assessor at Dmanlove@SmithfieldRI.com. Email submissions should be forms that are either completed electronically or good-quality scans of typed or hand-written forms.

To mail your form, send to:

Assessor’s Office
64 Farnum Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917

 

Thank you for your efforts to help the Assessor ensure
fair & equitable taxation in the Town of Smithfield.