This TIR announces that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (“Department”) will grant automatic extensions of time until February 1, 2013 for certain tax filings and payments otherwise required to be made by certain non-resident individual and business taxpayers and other affected taxpayers, as described below, between October 29, 2012 and January 31, 2013. As of November 3, 2012, the President of the United States declared a disaster area for certain counties and municipalities in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island due to Hurricane Sandy which struck those areas in late October, 2012. Following that declaration, the Internal Revenue Service (”IRS”) announced extensions of time for certain federal tax filing and payment deadlines. See IRS Release IR-2012-83 (Nov. 2, 2012) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Provides-Tax-Relief-to-Victims-of-Hurricane-Sandy;-Return-Filing-and-Tax-Payment-Deadline-Extended-to-Feb.-1,-2013. See also G.L. c. 62C, § 87. The Department will grant a similar extension to affected taxpayers with respect to certain tax filings and payments, as explained below.
II. Grant of Relief
A. Taxpayer Extensions
The due date for certain returns and tax payments required from affected taxpayers, as described below, will be extended until February 1, 2013. Subject to the exclusions described below, this extension applies to tax returns and tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or an extended due date occurring between October 29, 2012 and January 31, 2013. For example, this extension applies to the filing of corporate excise or unrelated business income tax returns in the instance of a business corporation or non-profit corporation with a fiscal year-end that has a filing due date within the extension period described in this TIR, and to estate and trust income tax returns, estate tax returns, partnership returns, and S corporation returns that have filing due dates within this extension period, as well as to payments that are due with such returns. The extension also applies to estimated corporate excise tax payments that would normally be due within this extension period and estimated personal income tax payments that would normally be due by January 15, 2013. However, as described below, this extension does not apply to trustee tax returns and payments, including those relating to sales or use taxes, meals taxes, room occupancy taxes, and employer and other withholding taxes. Further, this extension does not apply to taxpayers that have previously filed their returns but not yet made payment. See, further, Paragraph II.B. below.
B. Exclusions; Other Relief Criteria
The extensions for affected taxpayers, as described below, that are provided pursuant to this TIR do not apply to trustee tax returns and payments, including sales or use tax returns and payments, meals tax returns and payments, room occupancy tax returns and payments, and employer and other withholding tax returns and payments. However, the Department expects that late-file and late-pay penalties will generally be waived with respect to such trustee tax returns and payments where the taxpayer has reasonable cause for the late filing and payment under existing Departmental procedures for reasonable cause. See AP 633.
In addition, the extensions do not apply to taxpayers that have previously filed their returns but not yet made payment.
During the time of the extensions, when applicable, no interest or penalties will accrue. However, a taxpayer that does not meet the extended February 1, 2013 due date will owe interest and penalties dating back to the original tax return or tax payment due date.
The extension of time granted under this TIR shall not affect tax deficiencies existing prior to the period beginning October 29, 2012, nor will it apply to claims for refund or abatement, the making of elections, the filing of any other tax documents with the Department, or filings with the Appellate Tax Board or tax appeals filed with Massachusetts Courts.
III. Affected Taxpayers
For purposes of this TIR, “affected taxpayers” are any individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in any of the federally-declared disaster areas named in connection with Hurricane Sandy. Affected taxpayers also include individuals and businesses whose tax records, including records needed for tax payments, are located in these counties or municipalities, and relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster areas.
IV. To Claim the Extension
Generally the Department’s computer systems will identify taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and apply automatic filing and payment relief for electronically-filed returns. If for some reason the taxpayer is unable to file electronically, the taxpayer’s paper forms and returns should be marked at top in red ink with the notation “2012 Hurricane Sandy.” Any affected taxpayer who files and pays by the extended deadline and still receives late filing or payment penalties or other charges inconsistent with this TIR should electronically file Form CA-6 to request an abatement of such charges through the Department’s website at www.mass.gov/dor, using either Webfile for Income or Webfile for Business.
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In the event that the President of the United States declares additional disaster areas in connection with Hurricane Sandy after the date of issuance of this TIR, the provisions of this TIR will also apply to taxpayers in the affected counties or municipalities in those areas.
With respect to taxpayers affected by Hurricane Sandy, this TIR supersedes all earlier TIRs and public written statements issued by the Department to the extent that such TIRs or other public written statements may relate to extensions of time for complying with Massachusetts tax obligations of taxpayers affected by a Presidentially-declared disaster or similar event.
Commissioner of Revenue
November 8, 2012