Procedures
601.1. Customer Service
601.2. Contacting Customer Service-Helpful Hints
601.3. Community Outreach Programs
601.4. Requesting Copies of Previously Filed Returns
601.5. Disclosure of Return Information
601.6. Public Information
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601.1. Customer Service

            Taxpayers may request oral and written advice and assistance from DOR.  The Customer Service Bureau (CSB) and other bureaus within DOR will give taxpayers general information and help in the areas listed below.  However, only a formal written statement, such as a letter ruling, will bind DOR.  See AP 615, Public Written Statements, for information on requesting a formal written statement.

            For general assistance, see the Department’s website at www.mass.gov/dor, call CSB at (617) 887-MDOR (6367) or toll-free within Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089 or write to: DOR, Customer Service Bureau (CSB), P.O. Box 7010, Boston, MA 02204.

601.2. Contacting Customer Service-Helpful Hints

            When calling or writing to the CSB office for assistance, please keep in mind the following:

Telephone Calls.  Have all relevant information handy, e.g., identification number(s) (social security number or federal identification number), tax return(s) and notice(s) received.

Correspondence.  Include the following information, as applicable, in any correspondence: full name(s) of affected individual(s) or business(es), identification number(s) (social security number or federal identification number), complete address(es) (both old and new addresses if the address has changed since the last contact with DOR), tax type(s), and tax period(s) involved.  Including a daytime telephone number and e-mail address as contact information are often helpful.

When writing about a payment, if available, include a legible photocopy of both sides of the cancelled check or cash payment receipt.

Please keep letters simple and to the point.  State the most important issue first and highlight or underline other important points.  Attach copies of any relevant documents or recent correspondence from DOR. 

Other. Taxpayers may also visit the Department’s website at www.mass.gov/dor and search the online abatement guide for procedures on how to file abatement claims and/or correspondence with DOR.  Self-help centers are located in each of the Department’s district offices that are located throughout the state.  The address of each district office is listed on the Department’s website at TaxProfessionals/DORDirectory. 

601.3. Community Outreach Programs

            In an effort to make DOR's tax services more accessible, DOR hosts a number of Community Outreach programs.  Through bilingual staff members and the use of interpreters, DOR is also able to assist non‑English‑speaking taxpayers.  The following is a brief discussion of each program.  For more information and schedule information, call DOR’s Taxpayer Advocate’s Office at (617) 626-2201 or see TaxProfessionals/Workshops&Seminars on the Department’s website, www.mass.gov/dor 

            Small Business Workshops.  These sessions are held regularly at DOR offices for those thinking about starting a new business.  Topics include registering as a new vendor, collecting and remitting business taxes and filing the correct returns. 

            Tax School for Practitioners.  DOR staff annually updates tax practitioners statewide on changes in tax laws through a series of sessions sponsored by the University of Massachusetts.

601.4. Requesting Copies of Previously Filed Returns

            The following describes the procedures for requesting a photocopy of a return, schedule or other supporting document that has been filed with DOR.  Because the location of stored returns and the information that DOR needs to access a return differ from tax to tax, the procedure is broken down by type of return.  Please note that DOR is only required to retain returns for six years after the date the return was filed or the date it was due, whichever occurs later.  DOR may retain returns for a longer period.  The forms mentioned below are available at TaxForms/Miscellaneous/AdditionalForms on the Department’s website, www.mass.gov.dor

            A photocopying fee of 20 cents per page may be imposed by DOR.  Generally, this fee is imposed only if the total cost of copying documents exceeds $25.00.  Do not send money with your photocopy request.  DOR will contact you if any fees apply.

Individual Income Tax Returns


            Form M-4506, Request for Copy of Tax Form, should be used by taxpayers to request a copy of their income tax returns.  A written and signed request will be accepted as an alternative to Form M-4506 if it contains the same information requested on Form M-4506:

  • Taxpayer's name (as shown on return) and current name, if different;
  • Current name and mailing address and address shown on the return, if different;
  • Social security number and spouse's social security number, if applicable;
  • Name or number of return filed, e.g., Form 1, Form 1-NR/PY;
  • Relevant tax period(s); and
  • Daytime telephone number.


            Form M-4506 or a written request must be signed by the taxpayer who signed the return. If the request is signed by someone other than the taxpayer, the request must be accompanied by a valid power of attorney.  See AP 614, Power of Attorney.  Send to: Mass. DOR, Customer Service Bureau, P.O. Box 7010, Boston, MA 02204, or call (617) 887-MDOR (6367) or toll-free within Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089.

Estate Tax Returns

            A written request must be submitted which includes the decedent's name, social security number, the date of death and daytime telephone number of the requester.  The request must be signed by the individual who signed the original return.  If the request is signed by someone other than the individual who signed the return, the request must be accompanied by a valid power of attorney from the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.  If there is a new personal representative, executor or administrator of the estate, a copy of the appointment, certified by the probate court, must be submitted with the request.  See AP 614, Power of Attorney.  Send requests to: DOR, Estate Tax Unit, P.O. Box 7023, Boston, MA 02204; or call the Estate Tax Information line at (617) 887-6930.

Fiduciary Returns

            A written request must be submitted which includes the fiduciary’s name, federal taxpayer identification number, tax period for which the photocopy is requested, the name and address of the requester, and the requester’s daytime telephone number.  If someone other than the fiduciary requests the photocopy, the letter must be accompanied by a valid power of attorney.  See AP 614, Power of Attorney.  Send the request to: Mass. DOR, Customer Service Bureau, P.O. Box 7010, Boston, MA 02204, or call (617) 887-MDOR (6367) or toll-free within Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089.

Other Returns 

            Written requests for miscellaneous excise returns (cigar, cigarette, gasoline, fuels, and alcoholic beverage) and all other returns, such as corporate excise, sales, use, withholding, room occupancy, and meals, should be sent to DOR, Customer Service Bureau, P.O. Box 7010, Boston, MA 02204. Oral requests may be made by calling (617) 887-MDOR (6367) or toll-free within Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089.

            A written request filed with DOR must include the following information for all other returns:

  • Taxpayer's name (as shown on return) and current name, if different;
  • Current name and mailing address and address shown on the return, if different;
  • Social security number and spouse’s social security number, if applicable:
  • Name or number of return filed, e.g., Form 1, Form 1-NR/PY;
  • Tax period(s) requested; and
  • Daytime phone number.


     The request must be signed by the taxpayer or individual that signed the return. If it is signed by someone other than the taxpayer or individual who signed the return, the request must be accompanied by a valid power of attorney. See AP 614, Power of Attorney.  If the request is for a corporation, it must be signed by a current corporate officer.  If the request if from a partnership, it must be signed by a partner.  If the request is from an LLC, it must be signed by the current manager of the LLC.   

601.5. Disclosure of Return Information

     G.L. c. 62C, § 21(a) generally prohibits DOR employees from disclosing return information (as defined in 830 CMR 62C.21.1) to anyone but the taxpayer or his or her authorized representative.  The principal exceptions to this provision are listed in G.L. c. 62C, § 21(b) and 830 CMR 62C.21.1.

            Requests for records other than actual returns (e.g., audit files) should be made by writing to a Disclosure Attorney at P.O. Box 9565, Boston, MA 02114-9565.  In addition, requests may be sent by fax to (617) 626-3245.

            To ensure that return information is disclosed only to the appropriate parties, taxpayers will be required to provide as much information as is necessary to verify their identity.  If proof of identity is requested, a photo ID is required.

     A valid power of attorney or other written authorization that is acceptable to DOR and meets the requirements of 830 CMR 62C.21.1(4)(a)4 must be filed for any representative wishing to discuss a taxpayer's case.  See AP 614, Power of Attorney.  Any questions involving the validity of a power of attorney or written authorization should be referred to a Disclosure Attorney in the Litigation Bureau by writing to P.O. Box 9565, Boston, MA 02114-9565 or by sending a fax to (617) 626-3245.

601.6. Public Information


     Requests for public records should be made in writing to a Disclosure Attorney at P.O. Box 9565, Boston, MA 02114-9565.  In addition, requests may be sent by fax to (617) 626-3245.  Generally, tax returns are not public records.  Examples of public records maintained by DOR include contracts and statistical information.

     Requests for documents relating to the Underground Storage Tank Program should be made to the Director of UST by calling (617) 626-2600 or by writing to Massachusetts Department of Revenue-Underground Storage Tank Program, 100 Cambridge Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.  Additional information can also be found at the UST Program’s website at http://www.mass.gov.ust.

     Requests for documents relating to municipal finances should be made to the Public Information Officer of DOR's Division of Local Services by calling (617) 626-2300 or by writing to P.O. Box 9569, Boston, MA 02114-9569.

     Requests for documents relating to child support information should be made directly to the Disclosure Officer of DOR's Child Support Enforcement Division by calling 1 (800) 332-2733 or (617) 626-4164, or by writing to P.O. Box 9561, Boston, MA 02114-9561.  In addition, requests may be sent by fax to (617) 626-4059.

            Information requests from the media must be made to DOR's Communications Office by calling (617) 626-2369, or by writing to P.O. Box 9550, Boston, MA 02114-9550. In addition, requests may be sent by fax to (617) 626-2299.

     In each case, appropriate DOR personnel will determine whether or not the document sought is a public record.”


 

REFERENCES:
G.L. c. 62C, §§ 21(a), (b)
830 CMR 62C.21.1
830 CMR 62C.21.1(4)(a)(4)
AP 614, Power of Attorney
AP 615, Public Written Statements
Form 1, Resident Income Tax Return
Form 1-NR/PY, Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return
Form M-4506, Request for Copy of Individual Income Tax Form