What is intangible property?

Intangible property is property whose value stems not from its physical attributes, but from what it represents.
by Randy Ellis Published: October 29, 2012
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At A Glance

So what is this thing called intangible property?


Even experts have a difficult time explaining it.

Tangible property is much easier to understand, said Wade Patterson, Garfield County assessor. Tangible property is property a person can touch like a building, home, manufacturing equipment, car or furniture.

Intangible property is property whose value stems not from its physical attributes, but from what it represents. Cash, for example, is often considered intangible property because its value stems not from the value of the paper, but from the value of items that can be purchased with it.

Other examples of intangible property are stocks, bonds, promissory notes, annuities, patents, inventions, licenses, contracts, land leases, mineral interests, insurance policies, custom computer software, trademarks and brand names.

The Oklahoma Constitution specifically exempts certain types of intangible property from taxation including cash, stocks, bonds, promissory notes, gold, silver, certificates of deposit and more than a dozen other categories of property.

Numerous other categories of intangible property aren't specifically exempted from taxation by the Oklahoma Constitution and potentially could be taxed. Examples include patents, inventions, trade secrets, licenses, contracts, land leases, mineral interests, insurance policies, custom computer software, trademarks and brand names.

Randy Ellis, Staff Writer


by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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