This Technical Information Release ("TIR") explains increases to the personal exemption amounts for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2005. General Laws chapter 62, section 3, as amended, provides that personal exemptions may increase for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2004 if tax revenues increase. Although there was insufficient tax growth to trigger an increase for the 2004 taxable year, the personal exemptions have been increased for the 2005 taxable year based on application of the statutory formula.

For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2002, the personal exemptions were as follows: $3,300 [1] for a single person or a married person filing a separate return; $5,100 [2] for a head of household; and $6,600 [3]for a married couple filing a joint return. [4]The Commissioner of Revenue has determined that the inflation-adjusted growth in baseline taxes will cause the exemptions to increase for the 2005 taxable year. The personal exemption increases are triggered if inflation-adjusted growth in the baseline tax collections ( i.e., tax collections adjusted for the impact of tax law and administrative changes and annual growth in the Boston Consumer Price Index) for the prior fiscal year exceeds +2.5% and the inflation-adjusted change in baseline taxes for each consecutive 3 month period between August and December of the previous year is greater than 0%. The exemption for a single person or a married person filing a separate return will increase by $275; the exemption for a head of household will increase by $425; and the exemption for a married couple filing a joint return will increase by $550. The new personal exemption amounts, effective for the 2005 taxable year, are as follows:

$3,575 for a single person or a married person filing a separate return;

$5,525 for a head of household; and

$7,150 for a married couple filing a joint return.

The personal exemption amounts will remain at the 2005 level or may increase in future years up to maximums provided in the statute if tax revenues continue to increase. The Department will announce future changes. Updated withholding tables are published in the updated Circular M and are available on the Department's website: www.mass.gov/dor.

/s/ Alan LeBovidge

Alan LeBovidge,

Commissioner of Revenue

AL:LEM:sg

184767

TIR 04-34

December 29, 2004


[1] G.L. c. 62, § 3. B. (b)(1)(A) as amended by St. 2002, chapter 186.

[2] G.L. c. 62, § 3. B. (b)(1A)(A) as amended by St. 2002, chapter 186.

[3] G.L. c. 62, § 3.B.(b)(2)(A) as amended by St. 2002, chapter 186.

[4] Beginning May 16, 2004, same-sex married couples may file as married persons, either jointly or separately, for Massachusetts state income tax purposes. See TIR 04-17, Massachusetts Tax Issues Associated with Same-sex Marriages.