Personal Property Valuation

In Idaho, county assessor’s offices assess value on personal property in their county.

Personal property defined

Idaho law defines personal property as everything that’s the subject of ownership and that isn’t included within the term real property. Examples are tools, unattached store counters and display racks, desks, chairs, file cabinets, computers, office machines, and medical instruments. Buildings, structures, and fixtures are not personal property. To determine if an item is a fixture, a “three factor test” is applied to each item. If all three factors of the test apply to the item, it’s considered a fixture. Otherwise, the item is personal property.

For the definition of “fixtures” and an explanation of each factor, see Idaho Code section 63-201(9) and Property Tax Administrative Rule

Important dates

  • March 15: You must return your personal property declaration to the county assessor by March 15.
  • First Monday in June: The county assessor usually mails an assessment notice to you by the first Monday in June.
  • First Monday in November: If your personal property changes status from exempt to nonexempt during the year, you must report it by the first Monday in November.
  • December 20 and June 20: The county treasurer mails most tax bills by the fourth Monday of November. If you pay the first half by December 20, the second half is due by June 20 unless the treasurer demands earlier payment. Contact the treasurer for information about installment payments and your bill. (For December assessments, you should receive the bill in January of the following year.)

Not reporting or not paying property tax

If you don’t report personal property, the county assessor must estimate the value of taxable personal property that isn’t declared. The assessment is based on the best information available.

If you don’t pay your personal property tax on time, penalty and interest will apply to overdue taxes. Overdue taxes, accrued interest, and penalty are also a lien against your property. The county sheriff can seize and sell your property for nonpayment of property taxes.

Closing or selling your business

It’s a misdemeanor to sell your personal property or remove it from the county without first paying the tax due. If you sell or close a business, you should notify the county assessor as soon as possible. The assessor will explain how your assessment will be handled.

Tax-exempt personal property

The following list describes some of the personal property exempt from taxation:

  • Any stand-alone item purchased after January 1, 2013, with a total acquisition and installation cost of $3,000 or less. Items must be reported as a unit and must include the total purchase price of all components if they don’t function independently.
  • The first $250,000 of a taxpayer’s personal property not otherwise exempt in each county. Taxpayers using the property in a common enterprise or in related organizations with essentially the same management are eligible for only one $250,000 exemption per county. See Property Tax Administrative Rule for an explanation of common enterprise.
  • Personal effects, clothing, and household items (unless used in a business)
  • Vehicles and vessels properly registered in the state of Idaho
  • Livestock
  • Business inventory
  • Equipment used for nonprofit educational purposes
  • Medical equipment owned or leased by qualifying hospitals
  • Property owned by fraternal, benevolent, and religious organizations
  • Facilities for water or air pollution control
  • Agricultural machinery and equipment used exclusively in production of crops, livestock, or nursery stock
  • Certain intangible personal property

Some other exemptions are allowed by law. Contact your county assessor for more information.

Taxable personal property

All personal property in Idaho, unless exempt, is subject to assessment and taxation. You must report all of your taxable personal property to your county assessor using a personal property declaration form available from the assessor. If the value of all of your personal property is $250,000 or less, you previously qualified for the $250,000 exemption, and you haven’t acquired taxable personal property that would result in a total value greater than $250,000, you may not need to file annual reports. Check with your assessor.

Valuation of personal property

The assessor uses the information provided on your declaration to determine the current retail market value. This value includes shipping, installation, and other costs incurred to have the property functioning. Several tools or methods are used to arrive at this value, including depreciation tables, sales information, cost guides, and other sources.

Market value defined

Market value is the amount of United States dollars or equivalent for which, in all probability, a property would exchange hands between a willing seller under no compulsion to sell and an informed, capable buyer, with a reasonable time allowed to complete the sale.

Assessed value of your personal property

The value of personal property is stated on the assessment notice. The county assessor usually mails this notice to you by the first Monday in June.

If you start a new business after January 1, the assessment notice for your personal property is usually mailed by the fourth Monday of November. The assessment notice for transient personal property is also mailed in November. When you get your notice, look at it carefully to make sure all the information is accurate. (See Appealing my personal property assessment, below.)

Determining your personal property tax

Many kinds of taxing districts exist in Idaho. Some, like cities and counties, provide a wide range of services. Other districts levy taxes for specific purposes like highways, schools, or fire protection. Each taxing district is administered by officials who determine how much money the district needs to provide services.

After a district’s budget is set, the part of the budget funded by property taxes is divided by the total taxable value of all property within the taxing district to arrive at a tax rate. The tax rate is multiplied by the taxable value of your property, resulting in the amount of taxes you owe. Some district levies don’t apply to personal property.

Appealing your personal property assessment

Contact your county assessor if you disagree with the assessed value or you have questions about your assessment. You can review the information that the assessor has to ensure its accuracy.

If you can’t resolve your disagreement with the assessor, you may appeal to the county board of equalization, which consists of your elected county commissioners. Please contact your county clerk for information.

Be prepared to document your reasons for requesting a change in your property’s assessed value. You’ll need to show that the assessor’s value is not the current market value of the personal property.