Facts: Ms. Adams and Ms. Baker are two single women who jointly rent their principal residence, an apartment located in Massachusetts, from Mr. Landlord for a monthly cost of $500. Ms. Adams and Ms. Baker each contribute $250 a month for their rent. For the current taxable year, Ms. Adams and Ms. Baker each file a Massachusetts income tax return as a single person.

Issue: To what extent may Ms. Adams and Ms. Baker, single filers who are jointly renting their principal residence, deduct the rent paid during the taxable year on their Massachusetts returns?

Discussion: An individual who pays rent for his principal place of residence is entitled to a deduction equal to fifty (50) percent of the rent paid during the taxable year if such residence is located in Massachusetts. G.L. c. 62, § 3B(a)(9). This deduction, however, may not exceed $2,500. If two or more unmarried persons rent a unit together, each person is entitled to a deduction based on the amount of rent that each paid.

Ms. Adams and Ms. Baker pay $6,000 a year in rent, each contributing $3,000. Ms. Baker and Ms. Adams may each deduct $1,500, which is 50% of the rent paid by each, within the $2,500 limitation.

In computing the 50% rental deduction, the taxpayer must list the address of each residence lived in during the taxable year, the dates rented and the amount paid for each residence, as well as the landlord's name and address.

Directive: Ms. Adams and Ms. Baker may each deduct $1,500 on their Massachusetts returns. They also must list their address, the dates rented and the amount of rent paid for their residence, as well as the name and address of Mr. Landlord.

Reference: G.L. c. 62, § 3B(a)(9).

/s/Ira A. Jackson
Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue

20 August 1986

DOR-D 86-17

This Directive represents the official position of the Department of Revenue on the application of the law to the facts as stated. The Department and its personnel will follow this Directive, and taxpayers may rely upon it, unless it is revoked or modified pursuant to 830 CMR § 62C.01(5)(e). In applying this Directive, however, the effect of subsequent legislation, regulations, court decisions, Directives, and TIRs must be considered, and Department personnel and taxpayers may rely upon this Directive only if the facts, circumstances and issues presented in other cases are substantially the same as those set forth in this Directive.