I. Introduction

This Technical Information Release (TIR) explains a change of the rules of the Department of Revenue, expanding the length of the period for which taxpayers filing personal income tax returns under General Laws Chapter 62, may request an automatic extension of time to file their tax returns from four months to six months, beginning with 1992 income tax returns.

II. Statutory Authority

Pursuant to G.L. c. 62C, § 19, the Commissioner of Revenue is authorized to grant for good cause a reasonable extension of time for filing tax returns, provided that on or before the due date for payment of the tax, the taxpayer files a tentative return in such form as the Commissioner may require and pays the tax reasonably estimated to be due. The Application For Automatic Extension (Form M-4868) is the "tentative return" under G.L. c. 62C, § 19. In Regulation 830 CMR 62C.19.1, as amended in 1985, the Commissioner established an automatic extension period of four months for filing income tax returns, with an additional period of two months under certain circumstances for good cause. Regulation 830 CMR 62C.19.1 will be amended again to provide for this new automatic six month extension period, effective for filing 1992 income tax returns.

III. Discussion

Taxpayers filing an individual income tax return (Form 1, 1-NR, or ABC); a fiduciary income tax return (Form 2); a partnership income tax return (Form 3); a corporate trust income tax return (Form 3F); or any other return of income subject to taxation under G.L. c. 62, may obtain an automatic six month extension of time to file. An income tax return (with a copy of the extension application form) may be filed at any time within the six month extension period. For example, for an individual, a personal income tax return may be filed any time on or before October 15, 1993. Also, there is no longer a need to file an additional application for the period August 15 through October 15, 1993.
In order to obtain an automatic six month extension to file income tax returns, a taxpayer must file an Application For Automatic Extension, Form M-4868 (revised 1992), on or before the original due date of the income tax return. The six month extension is automatically granted upon the proper and timely filing of Form M-4868 and payment of the estimated tax due.

The six month automatic extension will be considered void, however, if 80% of the total tax liability is not paid on or before the original due date of the return. If an extension is void, interest and penalty provisions apply. If an extension is granted, interest is still due on any unpaid tax from the original due date of the return. Further extensions are generally not available to taxpayers residing in the United States.

If no tax is due, an automatic extension request may be filed on or before the original due date of the income tax return either by filing Form M-4868 or by submitting a copy of the federal extension application, which in most cases is U.S. Form 4868.

If U.S. Form 4868 or other federal form is submitted as a substitute for Massachusetts Form M-4868, "For Massachusetts purposes" should be written on the top of the form.

For information on extension of time to file other tax returns, see Regulation 830 CMR 62C.19.1, as amended in 1993.

/s/ Mitchell Adams
Mitchell Adams
Commissioner of Revenue

TIR 93-4

March 26, 1993