What are the time limits for filing an appeal?

Every type of appeal has strict time limits which must be met in order to start the appeals process.

I. For Pre-Assessment appeals:
Generally, a Form DR-1: pdf format of Form DR-1
Office of Appeals Form must be received by the Department of Revenue within thirty (30) days of the date of the Notice of Intent to Assess. If mailing the Form DR-1, it must be postmarked within twenty-five (25) days of the date of the Notice of Intent to Assess.

II. For Post- Assessment appeals and Filing Amended Returns/Abatements:
Generally, an Application for Abatement/Amended Return must be filed by the latest of:
1) within three years from the date of filing the return;
2) within two years from the date the tax was assessed or deemed to be assessed; OR
3) within one year from the date the tax was paid.

III. Appeal of Abatement Denial to the Appellate Tax Board:
Generally, a petition to appeal an abatement determination must be filed with the Appellate Tax Board within sixty (60) days of the date of the Notice of Abatement Determination or within 6 months of the date of deemed denial. For more information please see the Appellate Tax Board website.

I’ve been audited, and I do not agree with what the auditor says I owe. What can I do now?

If after the completion of your audit, exam, or review the Department of Revenue proposes an adjustment with which you disagree, you may arrange a conference with the audit staff. The conference is an opportunity for you to gain a thorough understanding of the basis for the proposed adjustment and to make sure that the facts of your case are developed as fully as possible. This conference may help you avoid entering into the appeals process altogether.

If matters are not resolved at the conference, a Notice of Intent to Assess will be issued. If you disagree with the Notice of Intent to Assess, you may request a conference and/or settlement consideration with the Department of Revenue’s Office of Appeals.  

How do I appeal a Notice of Intent to Assess?

If you disagree with a Notice of Intent to Assess, you can request a conference and/or settlement consideration with the Department of Revenue’s Office of Appeals. To request a pre-assessment conference or settlement, you must complete and file Form DR-1: pdf format of Form DR-1
Office of Appeals Form, with the initiating Audit bureau. The request must be received by the Department of Revenue within thirty (30) days of the date of the Notice of Intent to Assess. If mailing the Form DR-1, it must be postmarked within twenty-five (25) days of the date of the Notice of Intent to Assess. You should submit with your conference or settlement request a complete and accurate written statement of the facts and legal questions involved. You may also submit to the initiating Audit bureau a Form B-37: pdf format of Form B-37
Special Consent Extending the Time for Assessment of Taxes, which extends the time period for making an assessment. A Form B-37 must be submitted if you request settlement consideration. For more information regarding settlement, please see Settlement Options FAQs.

I have received a Notice of Assessment, and I don’t agree with it. How do I appeal this notice?

If you receive a Notice of Assessment that you want to contest, you must file an Application for Abatement/Amended Return within the statute of limitations. An application for abatement must be filed (1) within three years from the date of filing the return, (2) within two years from the date the tax was assessed or deemed to be assessed, or (3) within one year from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. For more information, please see Administrative Procedure 627: Applications for Abatement Section 627.1.

Any taxpayer filing for abatement has the right to request an abatement hearing. A hearing is granted only when the Department of Revenue intends to deny the claim, in part or in full, and if the taxpayer requests a hearing in writing on the original abatement application or prior to the Department of Revenue making any formal determination on that application. These hearings are conducted by the Office of Appeals. If the taxpayer previously had a conference on the same matter following the issuance of a Notice of Intent to Assess, a hearing on the matter will only be granted if the taxpayer establishes that a further hearing is necessary based on the availability of new factual information or a new legal precedent that was not available to the taxpayer at the time of the conference. For more information, please see , Section 628.2.2.

For information about settlement consideration during the abatement stage of a tax dispute, please see Settlement Options FAQs.

How long will my appeal take?

The amount of time it takes to resolve an appeal varies based on the facts, circumstances, and complexity of each individual case. Generally, personal income tax cases are resolved within six months of receipt by the Office of Appeals. Approximately two-thirds of all appeals are resolved within one year of receipt by the Office of Appeals.

Your appeal will move more quickly if you provide a complete statement of the issues in dispute and all documents necessary to support your position at the time your appeal is filed. If you are interested in settling your tax dispute, a reasonable settlement may be reached more quickly if you provide a detailed settlement proposal with your Form DR-1: pdf format of Form DR-1
Office of Appeals Form. If you request and qualify for expedited settlement consideration, a settlement generally will be completed within four months.

Can I appeal if I don’t pay?

You may request a conference or hearing, and/or settlement; however, interest will continue to accrue while the matter is being appealed.

May a tax be forgiven based on my inability to pay?

The Office of Appeals cannot forgive tax based on inability to pay. For more information on hardship claims, please see the Collections Bureau and Administrative Procedure 634: Offers in Final Settlement.

Will the information in my records be kept confidential?

Yes. Your information will be kept confidential during the appeals process at the Office of Appeals. For more information, see G.L. c. 62C § 21. If you appeal to the Appellate Tax Board, your information pertaining to the issue at hand may become a matter of public record.