The Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board ("Board") is a quasi-judicial agency within the executive branch "but not subject to its control in the conduct of its adjudicatory functions." G.L. c. 58A, 1. It is devoted exclusively to hearing and deciding cases on appeal from any state or local taxing authority. The Board was established by the Legislature in 1929 to relieve the Superior Court of the large volume of tax appeals, and to provide taxpayers with a less expensive and more expedient means of appeal. Since the Board handles appeals related to virtually all state taxes and excises as well as appeals of local property taxes from all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth, it is at the center of the entire system of revenue production for the Commonwealth.

Ninety percent of the petitions filed at the Board are appeals of local property taxes. The remaining cases are appeals by taxpayers regarding all state taxes, including: income tax, sales and use tax, corporate excise, bank excise and others. In addition, the Board has jurisdiction to hear appeals by cities and towns of valuations set by the Department of Revenue that are used in computing local aid and state assessments. Although appeals involving state taxes and excises comprise on average only six to ten percent of the total number of cases filed with the Board, they generally require more time and resources because they often involve issues of first impression regarding the interpretation of state tax statutes and may affect a great number of taxpayers.

The Board is committed to maintaining an appeal process which is fair, understandable and accessible to all litigants, including pro se taxpayers, and which resolves tax appeals in an expeditious fashion. Toward that end, the Board has aggressively scheduled pending appeals so that most cases are heard within 6 to 12 months of filing. In addition, the Board has uniformly issued decisions within 3 to 6 months of all hearings and has promulgated written findings of fact and report within 3 to 6 months of the completion of the hearing process.

The majority of Board hearings are conducted in Boston. However, as a convenience to taxpayers and boards of assessors located in areas distant from Boston, the Board travels to such cities and towns as Pittsfield, Springfield, New Bedford, Falmouth, and Northampton to hold hearings.

The Board's website contains the Board's rules, printable copies of its common forms and other information helpful to taxpayers and taxing authorities. For the convenience of tax practitioners, local boards of assessors, the Department of Revenue, legal publishers, and other interested parties, the Board electronically transfers copies of its Findings of Fact and Report to anyone requesting placement on the Board's e-mail distribution list. To request electronic updates of the Board Findings of Fact and Report, please call the Board or send an e-mail to Janice.D.Brown@state.ma.us.

This information provided by the Appellate Tax Board.