Procedures
604.1. Valid Extensions
604.2. Income Tax Returns
604.3. Corporate Excise Returns
604.4. Estate Tax Returns
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Although every tax return required to be filed has a fixed due date, it is possible to obtain extensions of time to file certain returns. Generally, extensions must be filed on or before the original due date of the return and must be accompanied by payment of the tax estimated to be due.

To obtain an extension in Massachusetts, you must file the proper state extension form with the Commonwealth. Massachusetts requirements do not correspond to Federal requirements on extensions. Extension forms and most other DOR tax forms are available at local offices, through the DOR website at www.mass.gov/dor or by calling the 24-hour Forms Line at (617) 887-6367 or toll-free in Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089. Certain taxpayers are required to file an extension electronically. See TIR 04-30, TIR 05-22 and TIR 09-18.

604.1. Valid Extensions

Extensions of time to file must be accompanied by payment of the tax estimated to be due. For all returns except corporate returns, the extension becomes void if 80% of the total tax liability is not paid on or before the original due date of the return. For corporate returns, the extension becomes void if 50% of the total tax liability is not paid on or before the due date of the original return. A void extension will subject the return to both a late filing penalty and a late payment penalty. Any portion of the tax not paid by the original due date of the return is subject to interest from that due date.

604.2. Income Tax Returns

Massachusetts has an automatic six‑month extension of time to file income tax returns. For individuals the extension is granted upon the timely filing of Form M-4868 on or before the original due date of the return. Form M-4868 should be accompanied by the payment of any tax due. The return may be filed at any time within the six‑month extension period.

Individuals serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or serving in support of such Forces in areas designated as "combat zones" shall qualify for a special deadline extension as detailed in G.L. c. 62C, § 81. See, also, Internal Revenue Code § 112.

Taxpayers who want to file an Application For Automatic Extension of Time to File Massachusetts Income Tax Return, Form M-4868, may do so by mail or via the Department's website. Certain taxpayers are required to file their extensions electronically. See below for more information on those requirements.
Website: www.mass.gov/dor

Mailing Address: Massachusetts Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 7070, Boston, MA 02204. For more information on these options, see Form M-4868 or visit the Department's website at www.mass.gov/dor .

Any extension requests made by or on behalf of a taxpayer filing Forms 1 or 1-NR/PY must be made by electronic means if no payment is determined to be due with the extension request or a payment of $5000 or more accompanies the extension request. See TIR 04-30. Certain individuals, fiduciaries, and partnerships may be eligible for an automatic six month extension of time to file a tax return, without the need to apply for one, provided certain criteria are met. See TIR 06-21 for more details.

Composite filers must file extensions electronically per TIR 09-18. Professional athletic teams that file composite return(s) are exempt from this mandate. They will, however, follow the income mandate that requires extensions with a payment of $5,000 or more or, no payment, to file their extension via the web.

Fiduciaries, partnerships and other unincorporated organizations can request an automatic six‑month extension of time to file via Form M-8736, Application for Extension of Time to File Fiduciary or Partnership Return. Form M-8736 must be filed on or before the original due date of the return and accompanied by the payment of any tax due.

Some fiduciaries with taxable income within certain thresholds must make payments electronically. See TIR 04-30 for more information on electronic payment requirements of fiduciaries. Electronic payments by fiduciaries may be made via the Department's website at www.mass.gov/dor.

604.3. Corporate Excise Returns

For corporate excise returns, two types of extensions of time to file are available. The automatic extension, or Type A, is for six months. It must be filed on or before the original due date of the corporate return and accompanied by payment of the tax estimated to be due. The Type B extension is for a period longer than six months. A Type B extension is not automatic and the application must contain a detailed explanation of why the extension is needed. If DOR denies the Type B extension, it will approve the corporation's application as a Type A request if the application was filed and estimated taxes were paid on time.

In TIR 03-15, the Commissioner required all corporations to use electronic means to request extensions and make the accompanying payments as of January 1, 2005. In TIR 04-30, the Commissioner modified that requirement. Currently, extension requests for corporate excise must be made electronically if the taxpayer is required to file and pay electronically. Corporations with more than $100,000 in gross receipts or sales must make extension requests and any accompanying payment electronically as of January 1, 2005. In addition, TIR 04-30 and TIR 05-22 require any corporation making a payment of $5,000 or more with its corporate excise extension request to file the request and make the payment using electronic means as of January 1, 2005. Financial institutions, insurance companies, and utility corporations are not included in the electronic extension requirements. For tax years ending on or after December 31, 2006, certain corporations may be eligible for an automatic six month extension of time to file a tax return, without the need to apply for one, provided certain criteria are met. The new extension rules do not apply to financial institutions, insurance companies, utility companies and urban redevelopment companies. See TIR 06-21 for more details.

604.4. Estate Tax Returns

An extension of time to file an estate tax return may be requested by filing Form M-4768 in duplicate. Extensions are usually granted for a six‑month period. Further extensions will also be considered if properly substantiated.

Under limited circumstances DOR may allow an extension of time to pay the estate tax. The extension of time to pay is authorized by G.L. c. 65C, § 10, and is limited to the estate tax. This extension is requested by filing Form M-4768A in duplicate. Even if an extension of time to pay is granted, interest accrues on the unpaid tax from the original due date of the return.

For more information see Form M-4768 or Form M-4768A or contact the Customer Service Bureau, estate tax information line at (617) 887-MDOR or toll‑free within Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089.


REFERENCES:
G.L. c. 62C, §§ 19, 81
G.L. c. 65C, § 10
I.R.C. § 112
830 CMR 62C.19.1
TIR 03-15
TIR 04-30
TIR 05-22
TIR 06-21
TIR 09-18
Form 1, Resident Income Tax Return
Form 1-NR/PY, Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return
Form M-4768, Application for Extension of Time to File Massachusetts Estate Tax Return
Form M-4768A, Application for Extension of Time to Pay Massachusetts Estate Tax
Form M-4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File
Form M-8736, Application for Extension of Time to File Fiduciary or Partnership Return