If you plan to sell:
  • tangible personal property items;
  • meals; or
  • certain telecommunications services;

you must register with Department of Revenue as a sales tax vendor and collect a 6.25 percent Massachusetts sales tax.


Sa les/Use Tax on Tangible Personal Property
The Massachusetts sales and use tax applies to sales of tangible personal property. Even if you are selling tangible personal property items at a wholesale level (i.e., for eventual resale at the retail level), you still must register as a sales tax vendor.

Certain items are exempt from sales tax, such as items of clothing under $175 and food not purchased for immediate consumption. See A Guide to Sales and Use Tax for more information on the sales tax, including what is exempt.

*Sales/Use Tax, Personal Property:
Summary of Filing Requirements & Payment Options

*Important Note: Electronic filing requirements are in place for this tax type. Refer to Technical Information Release (TIR) 04-30 for detailed information. Learn more electronic filing and payment methods, visit and select, "Tour WebFile for Business."

Annual amount collected Filing frequency and
payment requirements
Return filing methods Payment methods
CheckEFT:
ACH Credit
EFT:
ACH
Debit
$0-$100

Annually, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., January 20. Payment is due with return.

List Item
List Item
Form ST-9A List Item
List Item
List Item
$101-$1,200Quarterly, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., April 20, July 20, October 20, and January 20. Payment is due with return.
List Item
List Item
Form ST-9Q List Item
List Item
List Item
$1,201 or moreMonthly, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., February 20, for the January filing period, and so on. Payment is due with return. List Item List Item
Form ST-9 List Item List Item List Item

Sales Tax on Meals
The Massachusetts sales tax also applies to meals, which Massachusetts law defines as any food or beverage that has been prepared for immediate consumption, including items sold on a take-out basis. Meals can be purchased from restaurants, any part of a store considered by Massachusetts law to be a restaurant, and other venues such as street carts and vending machines. The tax is 6.25 percent of the sales price of the meal.

*Sales Tax on Meals:

Summary of Filing Requirements & Payment Options

*Important Note: Electronic filing requirements are in place for this tax type. Refer to Technical Information Release (TIR) 04-30 for detailed information. Learn more electronic filing and payment methods, visit and select, "Tour WebFile for Business."

Annual amount collected Filing frequency and
payment requirements
Return filing methods Payment methods
CheckEFT:
ACH Credit
EFT:
ACH
Debit
All amounts

Monthly, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., February 20, for the January filing period, and so on. Payment is due with return.

List Item
List Item
Form ST-MAB-4
List Item
List Item
List Item


Sales Tax on Telecommunications Services
Telecommunications services include telephone and other transmissions of information (such as beeper services, cellular telephone services, and telegram services). Cable television and Internet access are exempt from the sales tax. Generally, the tax on the sale or use of telecommunications services is a tax on the transmission of messages or information by various electronic means, but not on the sale or use of information itself.

*Sales/Use Tax, Telecommunication Services:
Summary of Filing Requirements & Payment Options

*Important Note: Electronic filing requirements are in place for this tax type. Refer to Technical Information Release (TIR) 04-30 for detailed information. Learn more electronic filing and payment methods, visit and select, "Tour WebFile for Business."

Annual amount collected Filing frequency and
payment requirements
Return filing methods Payment methods
CheckEFT:
ACH Credit
EFT:
ACH
Debit
$0-$100

annually, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., January 20. Payment is due with return.

List Item
List Item
Form ST-9A List Item
List Item
List Item
$101-$1,200Quarterly, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., April 20, July 20, October 20, and January 20. Payment is due with return.
List Item
List Item
Form STS-Q List Item
List Item
List Item
$1,201 or moreMonthly, 20 days after the end of the filing period, i.e., February 20, for the January filing period, and so on. Payment is due with return. List Item List Item
Form STS-M List Item List Item List Item


Use Tax
The use tax is 6.25 percent of the purchase price or rental charge on tangible personal property (including mail order items or items purchased over the Internet) on which no sales tax, or a sales tax less than 6.25 percent, was collected, and which are to be used, stored or consumed in the Commonwealth. Unlike the regular sales tax, the purchaser generally pays the use tax directly to the Commonwealth. For example, if you purchase furniture for your Massachusetts business from an out-of-state firm and pay no sales tax, you are required to pay the 6.25 percent use tax. If you are registered to collect sales taxes, you can report and pay use taxes on your regular sales and use tax return.

Otherwise, if you only make occasional purchases subject to use tax, you can file and pay use taxes using the ST-10, Business Use Tax Return. See A Guide to Sales and Use Tax for additional details.


Exempt Sales
In addition to exempting specific items, like articles of clothing under $175, from sales tax, the law exempts other types of purchases. For example:

  • Sales where the purchaser intends to resell the item in the regular course of business are exempt. Purchasers must be registered sales/use tax vendors to obtain this exemption, and must present a Form ST-4, Resale Certificate at the time of purchase. All sellers are required to retain Forms ST-4 for their records as proof such sales are exempt. Sellers are invited to use the Department of Revenue's Sales Tax Resale Certificate Verification System to verify the purchaser's resale status on the Internet with the understanding that they are still required to required to retain Forms ST-4.
  • Sales of materials, tools, fuel, machinery and replacement parts, which will be used directly and exclusively in the manufacture, processing or conversion of tangible personal property to be sold, are exempt in many cases. The vendor must receive from the purchaser a Form ST-12, Exempt Use Certificate, and maintain proper records on such sales.
  • Sales to organizations that have tax-exempt status are generally exempt from sales tax. The purchaser must present the seller with the appropriate exempt purchaser certificate to obtain the exemption. The two basic categories of tax-exempt purchasers are governmental organizations and charitable and nonprofit organizations. To obtain an exempt purchaser certificate, purchasers must register with the Department of Revenue by contacting the Customer Service Bureau at 617-887-6367. Please note: Tax-exempt organizations that sell tangible personal property or telecommunications services on a regular basis are considered vendors and are required to collect sales/use tax.

Because of the complexity of the law, some guidelines listed here may not apply to every transaction. Be sure to consult A Guide to Sales and Use Tax for additional information on other types of exempt sales and details on the examples above. See also Massachusetts Regulation 830 CMR 64H.8.1, which discusses resale and exempt use certificates. To avoid any interest or penalty charges on sales tax that was not collected properly, taxpayers with questions about the taxability of any sale should contact the Department of Revenue.