Trustee taxes are taxes that are collected and remitted by an organization on behalf of the individuals who actually pay the taxes. In essence, the organization collecting and remitting the tax is serving as a trustee or agent. Sales, use, meals, withholding, and room occupancy taxes are trustee taxes.

You are required to register with the Department of Revenue if you:

  • Have people working for you in Massachusetts;
  • Withhold from a pension or annuity plan or from retirement distributions;
  • Sell or rent taxable items in Massachusetts;
  • Sell taxable telecommunications services in Massachusetts;
  • Serve meals and/or beverages in Massachusetts;
  • Provide lodgings in Massachusetts subject to the room occupancy excise;
  • Make regular or frequent out-of-state purchases on which a use tax must be paid;
  • Seek exemption from the Massachusetts sales and use tax as a charitable, nonprofit or governmental organization;
  • Are licensed by any city or town in Massachusetts to sell alcoholic beverages and are organized under Chapter 180 of Massachusetts General Laws;
  • Collect any of the convention center financing surcharges; or
  • Sell, acquire or import cigars and/or smoking tobacco or hold cigars or smoking tobacco for sale or consumption in Massachusetts.

Important Note: Electronic filing requirements are in place for trustee taxes. Refer to Technical Information Release (TIR) 04-30 for detailed information. Learn more electronic filing and payment methods, visit MassTaxConnect

Things to remember:

  • You must register all business locations.
  • You also need to register to collect any taxes you were not originally registered to collect. For example, if you operate a motel and you are adding a restaurant to the motel, you must register for the meals tax.
  • You are required to re-register if the way your business is owned or organized changes. For example, if you start your business as a sole proprietorship and later decide to become a partnership, you must cancel your registration as a sole proprietorship and reregister as a partnership. You may do so using MassTaxConnect.

If you are registering for sales tax, meals tax, or room occupancy excise, MassTaxConnect will allow you to print a temporary registration certificate. The temporary certificate will allow you to operate your business until the you receive your official registration certificate(s) from the Department of Revenue. You must display the certificate(s) in a conspicuous location on your business premises. Note, if you are only registering for withholding tax, you will not receive a registration certificate.

If any of the principal officers of the business do not have a Social Security number, but have applied for a Taxpayer Identification number through the Internal Revenue Service, you must contact Customer Service for information on registering your business.

All trustee and excise taxes discussed here must be remitted to Department of Revenue. Additional details on filing requirements are provided below in Overview of Filing Requirements and Options, and in this Guide's Table of Contents under the heading Specific Trustee and Excise Taxes Requiring Registration.