Tangible personal property

What is tangible personal property?

Tangible personal property is physical property that can be touched, such as furniture, clothing, and vehicles. It’s distinct from the other major class of property, real property (or real estate), in that you can move it from one location to another; real property is permanently attached to a single location.

Deeper definition

To be considered tangible personal property, an item must be something you can physically handle. A checking account belongs to you and is considered an asset, but it’s not tangible personal property because you can’t touch it. For an individual, this would include nearly all of your personal possessions, excluding a home or any other kind of real estate. For example, your clothing, furniture, household goods and appliances, jewelry, and electronics are considered tangible personal property, along with art, toys, athletic equipment, tools, collectibles, and other similar items.

For a business, tangible personal property would include things like office furniture and office equipment such as computers, fax machines, telephones, copiers, and anything else used while doing business, including office supplies and even signs. It could also include special tools and equipment, such as drills and saws for a construction business. Any company vehicles are also classified as tangible personal property. Some cities and states require businesses to file yearly returns listing all of their tangible personal property. Individuals must also file this return if they are self-employed or are independent contractors.

Tangible personal property example

Nearly everything you own would be considered tangible personal property, ranging from the smallest and most mundane items like inexpensive kitchen tools to high-end and even rare items such as antiques and expensive electronics. The only things excluded from the list are things you can’t physically touch or move to another place. For example, your home doesn’t count because you can’t move it, and your bank accounts or investments don’t count because they’re not something you can touch with your hands.

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