Chapter 488 of the Acts of 1986 changed the laws on levy upon property for non-payment of taxes. These changes were effective January 23, 1987 and apply to levies made upon property and rights to property on or after January 23, 1987. This Technical Information Release explains the changes, introduces the new DOR levy forms, and describes the penalties imposed for failure to comply with the levy laws.

The new law creates a continuous levy and a six month levy. A levy upon a taxpayer's wages, salary, or other income for services performed is now continuous from the date of service until the liability is paid or becomes unenforceable by reason of lapse of time, whichever occurs first. A levy upon a taxpayer's other property or rights to property remains in effect for six months from the date of service, or until the liability is paid or becomes unenforceable by reason of lapse of time, whichever occurs first.

In connection with the new law, DOR is using new levy forms. Form M-668W is for the continuous levy on wages, salary and other income, and Form M-668A is for the six month levy on other property. Both levy forms contain detailed instructions for the taxpayer and the holder of the property subject to levy.

The new law changes what items of property are exempt from levy to conform more closely to the items exempt from federal levy under IRC § 6334(a). General Laws Chapter 62C, Section 55A(a) contains a list of exempt property.

Under the statute a taxpayer is entitled to exempt from levy a certain amount of wages, salary, or other income. If a taxpayer is paid weekly, the exempt amount is described in G.L. c. 62C, § 55A(d)(1). For all other pay periods, Massachusetts State Tax Administration Regulation on Determination of Amount Exempt From Levy, 830 CMR 62C.55A, describes the exempt amounts.

Any person who is required to surrender property or rights to property which are the subject of a levy and who fails or refuses to surrender the property will be personally liable to the Commonwealth for an amount equal to the value of the property not surrendered, in addition to any costs and interest on the amount at a rate of eight per cent per annum from the date of service of the levy. G.L. c. 62C, § 54(c). Any person who fails to surrender the property without reasonable cause will be personally liable for payment of a penalty equal to fifty percent of the value of the property. G.L. c. 62C, § 54(c). These penalties are in addition to any other penalties provided by law.

Ira A. Jackson
Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue

June 18, 1987

TIR 87-6