Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–1508. Exemptions.

(a) The following personal property shall be exempt from the tax imposed by this act:

(1) The personal property of any corporation, and any community chest fund or foundation, organized exclusively for religious, scientific, charitable, or educational purposes, including hospitals, no part of the net earnings of which inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; provided, that (A) the organization shall have first obtained a letter from the Mayor stating that it is entitled to the exemption, and (B) any personal property used for activities that generate unrelated business income subject to tax under section 511 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall not be exempt.

(2) Works of art owned by a nonresident of the United States, who is not a citizen of the United States, so long as the works of art were lent without charge to the trustees of the National Gallery of Art solely for exhibition without charge to the general public.

(3) Any motor vehicle or trailer registered according to subchapter I of Chapter of Title 50, except that special equipment mounted on a motor vehicle or trailer and not used primarily for the transportation of persons or property shall be taxed as tangible personal property as provided by law.

(3A) The personal property of any company subject to a gross receipts or distribution tax imposed by Chapter 25 or Chapter 39 of this title.

(4) Repealed.

(4A) Repealed.

(5) Repealed.

(6) Repealed.

(7) Beginning on May 1, 1997, the personal property of a wireless telecommunication company, as defined in § 47-3901(12), irrespective of whether the property is used or consumed in furnishing a service the charges from which are subject to Chapter 39 of this title. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “personal property” shall not include office equipment or office furniture.

(8) The personal property of any digital audio radio satellite service company operating under a digital audio radio service by satellite license granted by the Federal Communications Commission; provided, that such company is subject to a gross receipts tax in force in the District for the period of time or for any portion of the time covered by any return required to be filed by Chapter 15 of this title.

(9)(A) The personal property of a qualified supermarket, as defined in § 47-3801(2), which is a development, as defined in § 47-3801(1), for the first 10 years for which the tax imposed by this chapter would otherwise be due.

(B) The exemption granted by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall apply only:

(i) During the time that the real property is used as a supermarket;

(ii) In the case of the development of a qualified supermarket on real property not owned by the supermarket, if the owner of the real property leases the land or structure to the supermarket at a fair market rent reduced by the amount of the real property tax exemption provided by § 47-1002(23); and

(iii) During the time that the supermarket development is in compliance with the requirements of subchapter X of Chapter 2 of Title 2.

(10)(A) The personal property of a Qualified High Technology Company for the 10 years beginning in the year of purchase.

(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “qualified property” means any personal property, as defined in § 47-1521(4), which is used or held by a Qualified High Technology Company.

(C) This exemption shall apply to qualified property purchased after December 31, 2000.

(11) Systems using exclusively solar energy as defined in § 34-1431(14)); provided, that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Chief Financial Officer shall transfer $120,000 from the certified revenues deposited in the Renewable Energy Development Fund established by § 34-1436 to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia and shall recognize the $120,000 as local funds revenue in fiscal year 2013 and in each subsequent fiscal year.

(12) Beginning October 1, 2016, cogeneration systems, which shall mean systems that produce both:

(A) Electric energy; and

(B) Steam or forms of useful energy (such as heat) that are used for industrial, commercial, heating, or cooling purposes.

(a-1) Nothing contained within this act, nor any prior act of Congress relating to the District of Columbia, shall be deemed to impose upon any person, firm, association, company, or corporation a tax based upon tangible personal property owned and stored by the person in a public warehouse in the District of Columbia for a period of time no longer than is necessary for the convenience or exigencies of reshipment and transportation to its destination outside the District of Columbia.

(b) The Mayor shall issue rules necessary to carry out the provisions of subsection (a)(3)(A) and (B) [now subsections (a)(4) and (5) (repealed)] of this section in accordance with subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.


(July 1, 1902, 32 Stat. 620, ch. 1352, § 6, par. 10; Apr. 28, 1904, 33 Stat. 564, ch. 1815; Mar. 4, 1913, 37 Stat. 1006, ch. 150, § 10; Sept. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 576, ch. 836, § 3; May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 112, ch. 218, §§ 605, 1001, 1002; Sept. 4, 1957, 71 Stat. 606, Pub. L. 85-281, § 6; Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-212, § 19(a), 34 DCR 850; Oct. 1, 1987, D.C. Law 7-25, § 3, 34 DCR 5068; Sept. 20, 1989, D.C. Law 8-26, § 21, 36 DCR 4723; Sept. 10, 1992, D.C. Law 9-145, § 110(c), 39 DCR 4895; Sept. 26, 1995, D.C. Law 11-52,§ 112, 42 DCR 3684; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575; Apr. 30, 1998, D.C. Law 12-100, § 2(a), 45 DCR 1533; Apr. 5, 2000, D.C. Law 13-75, § 2(a), 46 DCR 10425; Apr. 12, 2000, D.C. Law 13-91, § 156(c), 47 DCR 520; July 18, 2000, D.C. Law 13-148, § 2(a), 47 DCR 4636; Oct. 4, 2000, D.C. Law 13-166, § 3(b), 47 DCR 5821; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-256, § 401, 48 DCR 730; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 202(h), 302(a), 48 DCR 334; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-213, § 33(p), 49 DCR 8140; Mar. 19, 2013, D.C. Law 19-252, § 111, 59 DCR 14932.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-1508.

1973 Ed., § 47-1208.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 47-2501, § 47-2501.01, and § 47-3802.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-75 added par. (8) to subsec. (a).

D.C. Law 13-91 in par. (3) of subsec. (a), struck the subparagraph designations “(A)”, “(B)”, “(C)”, and “(D)” and inserted the paragraph designations “(4)”, “(5)”, “(6)”, and “(7)” respectively in their place and in par. (4) struck the paragraph designation (4) and inserted the subsection designation (a-1) in its place.

D.C. Law 13-148, amended subsec. (a), par. (4), by striking “, electric lighting,” wherever appearing; and added par. (4A).

D.C. Law 13-166 added a new paragraph (9) to subsec. (a).

D.C. Law 13-256 added subsec. (a)(10).

D.C. Law 13-305, in subsec. (a)(1), substituted “individual; provided, that (A) the organization shall have first obtained a letter from the Mayor stating that it is entitled to the exemption, and (B) any personal property used for activities that generate unrelated business income subject to tax under section 511 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall not be exempt.” for “individual, except that the organization shall have first obtained a certificate from the Mayor stating that it is entitled to the exemption”; added subsec. (a)(3A); and repealed subsecs. (a)(4) and (6) which had read:

(a) “(4) The personal property of any gas or telephone company regulated under Subtitle I of Title 34, if the gas or telephone company is subject to a gross receipts tax in force in the District for the period of time or for any portion of the time covered by any return required to be filed by subchapter II of Chapter 15 of this title.”

(a) “(6) The personal property of any cable television company regulated under Chapter 12 of Title 34, if the cable television company is subject to a gross receipts tax in force in the District for the period of time or for any portion of the time covered by any return required to be filed by the Chapter 15 of this title.”

D.C. Law 14-213, in subsec. (a)(1), deleted a period following “exempt”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-252 added (a)(11) and (a)(12).

Cross References

Property exempt from taxation, see § 47-1001 et seq.

Public utility taxes, personal property tax, exemptions, see § 47-2501.

Television, video, or radio service taxes, personal property tax, exemptions, see § 47-2501.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(c) of Lot 878, Square 456 Tax Exemption Clarification Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-423, May 10, 2004, 51 DCR 5182).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(c) of Lot 878, Square 456 Tax Exemption Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-467, July 19, 2004, 51 DCR 7584).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Cogeneration Equipment Personal Property Tax Exemption Emergency Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-414, July 25, 2012, 59 DCR 9349).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(c) of Lot 878, Square 456 Tax Exemption Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Law 15-181, September 8, 2004, law notification 51 DCR 9223).

Section 2 of D.C. Law 19-201 added a new paragraph (a)(11) to read as follows:

“(a) The following personal property shall be exempt from the tax imposed by this act:

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“(11)(A) Beginning on October 1, 2016, cogeneration equipment that serves developments more than one million square feet where the fuel used to generate electricity is already subject to District tax.

“(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘cogeneration Equipment’ means equipment that produces both electric energy and useful heat or steam energy.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 19-201 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

References in Text

The phrase “this act,” referred to in the introductory language of (a) and in (a-1), is Public Law 57-118. July 1, 1902, 32 Stat. 620, ch. 1352.

Editor's Notes

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 12-100 provided that returns or payments due from wireless telecommunication companies for the period beginning May 1, 1997, through the effective date of this act not previously filed or paid shall be due by the 45th day after the effective date of this act.

Section 4(c) of D.C. Law 12-100 provided that beginning in FY 1999, the amount of tax imposed by the act shall not be calculated as gross revenue to which the tax is then applied.

Section 203(b) of D.C. Law 13-305 provided: “(b) Section 202(h) shall apply for tax years beginning after June 30, 2001.”

Section 303(a) of D.C. Law 13-305 provided: “(a) Section 302(a) shall apply for all tax years beginning after June 30, 2001.”

Section 301 of D.C. Law 19-252 provided that the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of the act within 180 days of its effective date [Mar. 19, 2013].

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority pursuant to D.C. Law 7-25, the “Gross Receipts Tax Amendment Act of 1987”, see Mayor’s Order 94-120, May 16, 1994, 41 DCR 3240).