General InformationRegistrationLoginFiling ReturnsPaymentsMandateWage Reporting 
Form W2Form 1099Professional Tax Preparer (PTP)Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status

Please Note: These FAQs are not public written statements of the Department, but are intended to be informational only as described in 830 CMR 62C.3.1(10)(c.)


General Information


Registration


Login


Filing Returns


Payments


Mandate


Wage Reporting


Form W2

Identifying Errors after Validation


Form 1099

Identifying Errors after Validation


Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) 


Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status


General Information

What is WebFile for Business?
WebFile for Business is the Department of Revenue's secure Web-based application that allows business taxpayers to register, file and/or pay certain tax obligations online. The latest version of the program includes many new features designed to provide businesses with more options to access and maintain their tax obligations.

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What does WebFile for Business do?
WebFile for Business allows taxpayers to register their businesses online and generate temporary tax certificates for the necessary taxes. This application allows a business to file returns and make payments for the current tax period. A taxpayer can also file late returns and make late payments for tax periods for the last year. WebFile for Business gives business taxpayers the ability to research, update, amend and maintain their tax accounts with the Department of Revenue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By using this application, a business can reduce both the time and expense involved in generating and handling paper checks and returns. WebFile for Business provides a business with faster, easier and more accurate results than paper processing methods.

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When is WebFile for Business available?
WebFile for Business is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Which tax returns can be filed and paid through WebFile for Business?
Returns that can be filed and paid through WebFile for Business are:

  • Sales tax on services
  • Sales tax
  • Sales tax on meals
  • Room occupancy tax
  • Withholding tax.

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Which payments can be made through WebFile for Business?
Payments that can be made through WebFile for Business are:

  • Corporate estimated tax (Form 355-ES)
  • Gasoline tax
  • Special Fuels and Aircraft (Jet) Fuel
  • Insurance excise
  • Financial institution excise
  • Banks Domestic/Foreign
  • Fiduciary
  • Public Service Corporation Franchise Tax

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What businesses are required to use WebFile for Business?
Currently, businesses that collect trustee taxes and have a combined liability of $5,000 or more must file and pay these taxes electronically.

All new businesses must use WebFile for Business to register for withholding tax, sales and use tax, sales tax on meals, sales tax on telecommunication services and room occupancy tax. These businesses are required to file and pay these taxes via WebFile for Business.

In addition, all zero balance due business returns must be filed via WebFile for Business.

For more information on electronic filing requirements, please see Technical Information Releases 04-30, 04-12 and 10-18. Revised Electronic Filing Requirements and TIR 04-12, Penalty for Failure to File, Report or Pay in the Prescribed Format.

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Can I use WebFile for Business even if my business is not required to file electronically?
Yes. All businesses, regardless of whether they are required to file electronically, can use WebFile for Business to file and/or pay any of the taxes accepted through the application. The business must have a valid Federal Identification number (FID) and register online with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for the appropriate business taxes.

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Can I authorize an accountant to file my returns through WebFile for Business on my behalf?
Yes. However, your accountant, payroll service provider, professional tax preparer, etc., must be registered to use WebFile for Business before you can authorize him or her to electronically file your returns and make payments of any taxes you owe on your behalf.

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How does the Department of Revenue get my payment?
The Department of Revenue (DOR) offers taxpayers two methods of electronic payments.

  1. ACH-Debit. The taxpayer authorizes the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' financial institution to debit the taxpayer's bank account and credits the Commonwealth's bank account for the purpose of making a tax payment. This is the preferred method of payment.
  2. ACH-Credit. The taxpayer authorizes their bank to credit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' bank account by debiting their own account for the purpose of making a tax payment.

All electronic programs are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can choose the payment effective date (the day on which payment will be made) on timely filed transactions in either of these electronic methods. Please note:

  • Payments made up until 11:59p.m. (Eastern Time) will receive a payment effective date of that day. This includes weekends and holidays.

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How does ACH Debit work?
The Department of Revenue's bank electronically sends a debit request to your bank through the National Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. Assuming the funds are available in your bank account, your bank will electronically transfer the funds to the appropriate DOR bank account. If you choose to add an additional bank account to your payment account, you must provide your financial institution's routing number -- the first nine digits located on the bottom left corner of a check from your bank. You may want to contact your bank and confirm their routing number before entering it on the payment screen. You must also provide your account number, which can be up to 17 characters. Do not enter hyphens, spaces or special symbols. Enter the numbers from left to right onto the payment screen. Once you have entered your bank account information it will be saved within your WebFile for Business account. This debit transaction will occur on the payment effective date you request on the WebFile for Business payment screen. If you choose a payment effective date several days or weeks into the future, DOR will store, or "warehouse," your debit request then send it to your bank the day before the payment effective date. Any business taxpayer registered with DOR is eligible to use this option.

Pre-note test: When a taxpayer's application is processed, a pre-note test is automatically generated by the Massachusetts Debit system. The pre-note test is a zero-dollar transaction processed through the ACH network to validate the banking information on your application. If there is a problem, the applicant will be contacted by DOR.

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How does ACH Credit work?
The Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit transaction option requires the taxpayer to instruct its bank to debit its bank account and credit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' bank account. The taxpayer specifies the dollar amount, payment effective date, tax type, and tax period being paid. The taxpayer's bank originates an ACH transfer transaction that must adhere to the Cash Concentration of Disbursement plus the Tax Payment Addendum (CCD+TXP) format defined by DOR in the detail record layout provided after receipt of an ACH Credit Application for Participation.

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Registration

How do I begin using WebFile for Business?
To begin, visit the WebFile for Business section of the Department of Revenue's website at www.mass.gov/dor. Select register and follow the instructions.

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Why must I give DOR my Social Security number when registering for WebFile for Business?
Your Social Security number is used only to verify that you are associated with the company that you are attempting to register. It is a security measure for you and your business, and is not used by DOR for any other purpose.

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What will WebFile for Business accept for usernames and passwords?
Your username can be 3 to 20 characters in length, but it cannot contain any spaces.

For security reasons WebFile for Business passwords are case-sensitive. Passwords must be between 8 and 15 characters in length and contain at least one capital letter, one lower case letter and one number.

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How do I close my Registration?
If the tax types for which you are responsible for filing change, you can update your account through the Account Management section of WebFile for Business. Click on Account Management and then click on Manage Business Locations and Tax Types. This feature allows you to close tax types if your business tax responsibilities change.

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Login

Problems Accessing the Application
 

In order to access a DOR online application, your computer must meet minimum standard requirements. If you are unable to connect to the application this section may help you.

The following is required to use this application:

  1. Web Browser Encryption
  2. Use of Cookies
  3. JavaScript Enabled

1) Web Browser Encryption 
The application uses secure 128-bit strong encryption in order to connect to our secure server.

How can I tell whether my browser supports 128-bit encryption? 
To determine your browser's encryption level, follow the instructions below.

  1. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer
  2. Select "Help" from the Internet Explorer menu bar.
  3. Select "About Internet Explorer" from the drop-down menu.
  4. The "About Internet Explorer" dialog box will provide information on your browser version and encryption level.

If you need further assistance, please contact your Internet service provider and ask for 128-bit encryption.

2) Use of "Cookies"
Please see the Website Privacy Policy .

3) JavaScript Enabled 
JavaScript should be enabled in your browser in order to fully utilize all the features within the Web Application. JavaScripts are used to enhance usability and interactivity. To enable your browser's JavaScript, follow the instructions below.

If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer

  1. Go To Internet Options. This is under either View or Tools depending on version.
  2. Click Security Tab
  3. Click Custom Level
  4. Scroll Down to Scripting
  5. Active Scripting and Scripting of Java Applets should be checked as enabled. If it is not, please check it.
  6. Click OK to Exit

If you need further assistance, please contact your Internet service provider for support to enable JavaScript. 

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How do I install the Microsoft Root Certificates Update?

Please visit the Microsoft website to install root certificate updates.

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What do I enter in the user name and password area?

  • User name: Your user name is the name that you chose when signing up for DOR's WebFile for Business (WFB) to serve as your WFB identity.
  • Password: Your password is the private combination of letters and numbers you chose when signing up for WebFile for Business. Your password must contain at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter and one number.
  • Overall: The combination of user name and password verifies that you are a registered WebFile for Business user and is necessary to gain access to your account.

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What do I do if I forget my user name?
 

If you forget your user name, click Forgot User Name in the Log In section of the WFB home page.

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What do I do if I forget my password?
If you forget your password, click Forgot Password in the Log In section of the WFB home page.

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I do not know what role I have, how do I reset my password?
If you do not know what role you are registered as, contact DOR's Customer Service Bureau at 617-887-6367, or toll-free in Massachusetts at 1-800-392-6089 for assistance.

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How will I know what my new password is?
An e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address on file. Upon clicking the link in the e-mail you will be prompted to create and confirm a new password.

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Filing Returns

Which tax returns can be filed through WebFile for Business?
Returns that can be filed through WebFile for Business are:

  • Sales tax on services
  • Sales tax
  • Sales tax on meals
  • Room occupancy tax
  • Withholding tax.

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How do I file a return?
You can electronically file a return for any tax type that has FILE NOW button next to it. Only the tax types that you are registered for will be available. To file a return, click on the FILE NOW button next to the corresponding tax type you want to file. Select the tax period for which you are filing and enter the information in the online form.

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How will I know that my return was accepted?
Once your return has been successfully filed, you will receive a confirmation number. This number will serve as a record of filing a tax return. You should print out a copy of the confirmation for your records.

You also will be able to view your account history, which will clearly identify all of the returns and payments that you filed electronically within seven days of submission.

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Must I file a return even if no tax was due for a given period?
Yes. You must file a return for all periods, even when no tax is due. Just enter zero in the appropriate places. This is necessary for record keeping purposes. It will help avoid requests from DOR for filing information and will reduce processing time when you are owed money.

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What happens if I file late?
WebFile for Business allows you to file returns and make payments for the current period and any preceding period within the last 60 months. If you file and pay the tax after the due date, interest and penalties will be automatically calculated and assessed. The penalty for failure to file a tax return by the due date is 1 percent of the tax due per month (or fraction thereof), up to a maximum of 25 percent. The penalty for late payment is 0.5 percent of the tax due per month (or fraction thereof), up to a maximum of 25 percent.

See Technical Information Release (TIR) 92-6, Statutory Charges in Calculation of Interest and Penalties, for an explanation of how interest is compounded in Massachusetts.

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What happens if I do not file and pay electronically if I meet the requirements?
If you are required to file and pay electronically and do not do so, you may be subject to a penalty for each instance where you failed to file or pay in the appropriate format. The penalty may be up to $100 for each improper return, document or data transmission, or improper payment made for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2005. For more information, please see, TIR 04-12, Penalty for Failure to File, Report or Pay in the Prescribed Format.

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Are there any other penalties I may be liable for?
Businesses with annual withholding liabilities in excess of $25,000 who fail to make timely deposits of withholding tax are liable for a 5 percent penalty on the amount of underpayment. The amount of underpayment is any portion of a tax payment or weekly deposit that was due but not paid on time.

You should also be aware that willful evasion of taxes is a felony punishable by a fine up to $100,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations and/or imprisonment for up to five years. Willful failure to collect and pay taxes is also a felony and is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

If a corporation or partnership fails to pay to the Commissioner any required trustee taxes of the corporation or partnership, the person or persons with the duty and authority to collect and remit the firm's trustee taxes may be held personally liable for any sums due the Commissioner, including tax, penalties and interest, even if the interest and penalties accrue prior to the date personal liability is established.

An employer, including any officer, employee or member of a corporation or partnership who is under a duty to withhold and pay over taxes is personally and individually liable for the tax required to be deducted and withheld.

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What if I made an error on a previously filed return?
WebFile for Business allows taxpayers to make corrections to withholding tax, sales and use tax, sales tax on meals and room occupancy tax returns, regardless of filing frequency, whether the change results in an increase or decrease to tax.

You can electronically amend any tax type that has an AMEND button next to it. Only the tax types that you are registered for will be available. If you need to correct a return, log into WebFile for Business, select "File Return" and select AMEND for the tax type you need to correct.

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If I filed an amended return and am owed money, how do I get my refund?
Refunds issued as a result of an amended return are sent via the U.S. Postal Service as a paper check.

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Can I view previous returns?
If the tax return was filed through WebFile for Business, there will be a button next to the history information, which will allow you to view the return.

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What does the history show me?
The HISTORY option lists the tax period, date filed and a break down of tax, penalty, interest, payments and balance for each tax type for which you are registered.

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What do I do if the tax types that I am responsible for filing changes?
If the tax types for which you are responsible for filing change, you can update your account through the account management section of WebFile for Business. Click on Account Management and then click on Manage Business Locations and Tax Types. This feature allows you to add or remove tax types if your business tax responsibilities changes.

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Can I authorize an accountant to file my returns through WebFile for Business on my behalf?
Yes. However, your accountant, payroll service provider, professional tax preparer, etc., must be registered to use WebFile for Business before you can authorize him or her to electronically file your returns and make payments of any taxes you owe on your behalf.

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How do I e-file my corporate return using WebFile for Business?
You cannot file your corporate return using WebFile for Business. See DOR-Approved Commercial Tax Software Vendors.

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Payments

Which taxes can be filed and/or paid through WebFile for Business?
The taxes that can be filed and/or paid through WebFile for Business are:

  • Sales tax on services
  • Sales tax
  • Sales tax on meals
  • Room occupancy tax
  • Withholding tax.

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Which payments can be made through WebFile for Business?
Payments that can be made through WebFile for Business are:

  • Corporate estimated tax (Form 355-ES)
  • Gasoline tax
  • Insurance excise
  • Financial institution excise
  • Banks Domestic/Foreign
  • Fiduciary
  • Public Service Corporation Franchise Tax

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What happens when I click on PAY?
The transaction will be posted to your account and you will receive a confirmation number. Be sure to print out a copy of your confirmation number to keep for your records.

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How will I know that my payment has been accepted?
You can view the status of your payment by clicking on the "check on the status of my request" link under the "I want to…" menu on the login page. You will need to enter the confirmation number to check on the payment status.

You also will be able to view your account history, which will clearly identify all of the returns and payments that you filed electronically within seven days of submission.

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Can I authorize an accountant to file my returns through WebFile for Business on my behalf?
Yes. However, your accountant, payroll service provider, professional tax preparer, etc., must be registered to use WebFile for Business before you can authorize him or her to electronically file you returns and make payments of any taxes you owe on your behalf.

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When is the payment due if the due date falls on a weekend?
If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment is due on the next business day.

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Am I supposed to pay before a certain time before the due date?
Payments made up until 11:59p.m. (Eastern Time) will receive a payment effective date of that day. This includes weekends and holidays.

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Can I pay penalties and interest online?
If you have received a bill, login to WebFile for Business, select Pay Taxes, click on Pay a Specific Bill, enter the Bill Number to be paid, then enter the dollar amount. This procedure will work if the due date of the bill has not passed. If you are filing late and you have calculated the penalty and interest and have not received a bill, login to WebFile for Business, select Pay Taxes, click on Pay Tax for a Single Period, then enter the dollar amount.

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Can I move an overpayment from one period to another?
No. An overpayment can only be moved from one period to another by Department of Revenue personnel.

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I already made a payment, why do I still have a balance?
You may still have a balance if the payment was received late, the tax reported is greater than the payment made or a payment made was applied to a different period.

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Why does a particular period show as a credit balance?
A particular period may show as a credit balance if the return has not been filed, the return has not posted, a payment has posted to the wrong period or the payments made are greater than the tax reported.

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 Can I file now, but make a payment later?
Yes. You can file now and pay at a later date, but it is recommended that you file and pay at the same time.

If a taxpayer does not have the money to submit with the return at the time of filing, the Department will send out a bill for the tax plus any interest and applicable penalties. Payments not received by the due date will be considered to be late.

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Can I use different bank accounts for different taxes?
Yes. You can use different bank accounts to pay different tax types.

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When a bill is paid online, what screen can I see the payment made on my account?
Login to WebFile for Business, select File Returns and click on History. The payment column will show you a cumulative total of all payments received. To see a payment made on a specific bill number, select make a payment then select Bill Payment History.

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How do I pay a bill?
Login to WebFile for Business, select Pay Taxes, click on Pay a Specific Bill, enter the Bill Number to be Paid, then enter the dollar amount. This procedure will work if the due date of the bill has not passed.

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Can I pay with a credit card?
No. You cannot make a payment with a credit card for WebFile for Business.

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Can I file the return on WebFile and pay with a check?
No. Any taxpayer that files electronic returns is also required to make any payments electronically.

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 How do I cancel a payment?
A payment can be canceled anytime prior to being posted in the WFB system (i.e., as long as the status is "pending"). You can cancel a payment as long as the Cancel button is available.

To cancel a payment, choose Single Period Payment, click on the History button for the tax type that you wish to cancel a payment for, then click on the Cancel button next to the pending status. This will bring you to a more descriptive screen, which will allow you to cancel the payment or return back to the payment history screen. As long as the Cancel button is available, you may cancel the payment.

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What happens if I pay late?
WebFile for Business allows you to file returns and make payments for the current period and any preceding period within the last year. If you file and pay the tax after the due date, interest and penalties will be automatically calculated and assessed. The penalty for failure to file a tax return by the due date is 1 percent of the tax due per month (or fraction thereof), up to a maximum of 25 percent. The penalty for late payment is 0.5 percent of the tax due per month (or fraction thereof), up to a maximum of 25 percent. See Technical Information Release (TIR) 92-6, Statutory Charges in Calculation of Interest and Penalties, for an explanation of how interest is compounded in Massachusetts.

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What happens if I do not file and pay electronically if I meet the requirements?
If you are required to file and pay electronically and do not do so, you may be subject to a penalty for each instance where you failed to file or pay in the appropriate format. The penalty may be up to $100 for each improper return, document or data transmission, or improper payment made for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2005. For more information, please see, TIR 04-12, Penalty for Failure to File, Report or Pay in the Prescribed Format.

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Are there any other penalties I may be liable for?
Businesses with annual withholding liabilities in excess of $25,000 who fail to make timely deposits of withholding tax are liable for a 5 percent penalty on the amount of underpayment. The amount of underpayment is any portion of a tax payment or weekly deposit that was due but not paid on time.

You should also be aware that willful evasion of taxes is a felony punishable by a fine up to $100,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations and/or imprisonment for up to five years. Willful failure to collect and pay taxes is also a felony and is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

If a corporation or partnership fails to pay to the Commissioner any required trustee taxes of the corporation or partnership, the person or persons with the duty and authority to collect and remit the firm's trustee taxes may be held personally liable for any sums due the Commissioner, including tax, penalties and interest, even if the interest and penalties accrue prior to the date personal liability is established.

An employer, including any officer, employee or member of a corporation or partnership who is under a duty to withhold and pay over taxes is personally and individually liable for the tax required to be deducted and withheld.

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What do I do if the tax types that I am responsible for paying changes?
If the tax types for which you are responsible for paying change, you can update your account through the account management section of WebFile for Business. Click on Account Management and then click on Manage Business Locations and Tax Types. This feature allows you to add or remove tax types if you business tax responsibilities changes.

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 How does the Department of Revenue get my payment?
The Department of Revenue (DOR) offers taxpayers two methods of electronic payments.
 

  1. ACH-Debit. The taxpayer authorizes the Commonwealth's financial institution to debit the taxpayer's bank account and credits the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' bank account for the purpose of making a tax payment. This is the preferred method of payment.
  2. ACH-Credit. The taxpayer authorizes their bank to credit the Commonwealth's bank account by debiting their own for the purpose of making a tax payment.

All electronic programs are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can choose the settlement date (the day on which payment will be made) on timely filed transactions in either of these electronic methods. Please note:
 

  • Payments made up until 11:59p.m. (Eastern Time) will receive a payment effective date of that day. This includes weekends and holidays.


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How does ACH Debit work?
The Department of Revenue's bank electronically sends a debit request to your bank through the National Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. Assuming the funds are available in your bank account, your bank will electronically transfer the funds to the appropriate DOR bank account. If you choose to add an additional bank account to your payment account, you must provide your financial institution's routing number -- the first nine digits located on the bottom left corner of a check from your bank. You may want to contact your bank and confirm their routing number before entering it on the payment screen. You must also provide your account number, which can be up to 17 characters. Do not enter hyphens, spaces or special symbols. Enter the numbers from left to right onto the payment screen. Once you have entered your bank account information it will be saved within your WebFile for Business account. This debit transaction will occur on the payment effective date you request on the WebFile for Business payment screen. If you chose a payment effective date several days or weeks into the future, DOR will store, or "warehouse," your debit request then send it to your bank the day before the settlement date. Any business taxpayer registered with DOR is eligible to use this option.

Pre-note test: When a taxpayer's application is processed, a pre-note test is automatically generated by the Massachusetts Debit system. The pre-note test is a zero-dollar transaction processed through the ACH network to validate the banking information on your application. If there is a problem, the applicant will be contacted by DOR.

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How does ACH Credit work?
The Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit transaction option requires the taxpayer to instruct its bank to debit their bank account and credit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' bank account. The taxpayer specifies the dollar amount, payment effective date, tax type, and tax period being paid. The taxpayer's bank originates an ACH transfer transaction that must adhere to the Cash Concentration of Disbursement plus the Tax Payment Addendum (CCD+TXP) format defined by DOR in the detail record layout provided after receipt of an ACH Credit Application for Participation.

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Will the state automatically go into my account and take the money?
No, You must authorize the Department of Revenue to withdraw a specific amount for a specific tax type.

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If I am required to file trustee taxes electronically, do I have to make corporate estimated payment electronically, too?
TIR 04-30 states that "A filer that must file and/or pay one type of return or tax by electronic means is not necessarily required to use electronic means for other returns or payments, unless a separate electronic requirement applies." Currently, corporation with more than $500,000 in gross receipts or sales must pay electronically.

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Mandate

Will I have to start WebFiling immediately when I'm at the $10,000 limit or do I wait until the first of the following year?
The requirement will start the following year, however, we encourage you to start as soon as possible. As stated in TIR 04-30, "Once the tax liability of an employer, operator, or vendor reaches the electronic filing threshold in one taxable year, the filing entity must E-File in all subsequent years regardless of the amount due, as long as it has an obligation to file one of the three categories of taxes in Massachusetts."

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Were payroll services required to both file and pay as of July 2003? Because they are not: some are paying but filing paper.
Third-party bulk filers must file and pay withholding taxes electronically for all returns due on or after July 1, 2003.

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Is forcing people to WebFile constitutional?
The Commissioner has the authority to mandate the method of filing.

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Does a Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) have to set up one client at a time? Is there a way to Batch register clients because many of these clients will not register on their own. We will be doing it for them. What about Batch paying? The IRS provides templates to upload batch transfers of Wage reporting. How do payroll services transmit to DOR. Why can't we? 

Professional Tax Preparers have the ability to set up clients. PTP's are granted the right to upload files.

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Wage Reporting

How do I file wage reports? 

The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is now responsible for collecting wage reporting data. Employers, including employers who do not have unemployment tax obligations, must file their Quarterly Wage Reports via DUA's QUEST system beginning in January 2010. Visit www.mass.gov/uima for more information.

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Form W2

What is Mapped Data Upload?
Mapped Data Upload (MDU) is a simple "copy and paste" method for filing your W-2 report.

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Why must I "Map Data" within my file?
Mapping data from a columnar type spreadsheet allows Webfile for Business to identify the exact columns that are applicable for uploading to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

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How do I "Map Data" within my file?
Mapping data is a term used to declare or define the groups of columns of information (data) to be extracted from your source file and how to identify these columns. To map data successfully you must pre-define the location of (10) columns synonymous with the required column names below:

For the W2 Payee:

EMPLOYEE SSN, EMPLOYEE FIRST NAME, EMPLOYEE LAST NAME, EMPLOYEE STREET ADDRESS, EMPLOYEE CITY, EMPLOYEE STATE/PROVINCE, EMPLOYEE POSTAL CODE, EMPLOYEE COUNTRY, TAXABLE STATE WAGES and TAX WITHHELD

Mapping data with less then ten (10) columns is not permitted.

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My source file or spreadsheet has only one field for both, "first name" and "last name" combined?
First name and last name are required to be in separate columns and both columns must be available when mapping or re-defining each column.

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Must I Map my data every time I use this application?
No, once you define the column locations, your pre-defined mapped settings will be saved for future uploads. However, should your file be modified and/or the formatting change, then mapping or re-defining your data may be necessary.
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I finished mapping my data and now my ten columns are identified. What is the next step?
From your records, spreadsheet or database, COPY the entire file and paste onto the upload page to validate your data before processing. Be mindful to use the copy function only. DO NOT CUT from your source file or spreadsheet. Cutting may cause you to lose data.

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Do I "copy and paste" the entire spreadsheet, including column headers?
You are not limited to pasting only the ten columns of required data. You are allowed to paste the entire file or spreadsheet. Only the columns that you have pre-defined get exported to WFB. DO NOT include any column headings.

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Identifying Errors after Validation 

After validating data I found incorrect records with red highlighted data fields?
Fields highlighted red are "Warnings" and data must be corrected before continuing. You may correct formatting errors by clicking in the field highlighted red and making edits or changes to data within that record. Be certain the data is exactly that of what you copied.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE SSN field?
This field may not be left blank and must contain 9 numeric characters (999999999). Social security numbers with or without dashes are permitted.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE FIRST NAME field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 15 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE LAST NAME field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 20 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE STREET ADDRESS field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 22 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE CITY field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 22 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE STATE/PROVINCE field?
This field may not be left blank and must contain up to 2 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE POSTAL CODE field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 9 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the EMPLOYEE COUNTRY field?
This field may be left blank and may contain up to 20 characters of text, if applicable.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the TAXABLE WAGES field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain a dollar amount up to 11 characters (999999999.99). Be certain the data type from your source is set to "currency". If there is no amount to report for "TAXABLE WAGES", you must enter zero (0).

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the INCOME TAX WITHHELD field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain a dollar amount up to 11 characters (999999999.99). Be certain the data type from your source is set to "currency". If there is no amount to report for "INCOME TAX WITHELD", you must enter zero (0).

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Why do I have entire columns highlighted in red stating "value required" which contain partial or no data?
Please check to see if the correct data and the correct columns were selected.

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Can I see and confirm what was filed after I transmit data to Massachusetts Department of Revenue?
Yes, after a successful upload you will be prompted to a confirmation screen with a corresponding confirmation number. Please keep a copy for your records. After 1 business day has passed, you will be able to view the date and the status code of the upload by consulting the View Submission History screen then accessing "File Upload History Details".

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Is this the only "upload" option available for my financial institution?
Yes. Please note that MDOR recommends using the Bulk File Upload option for filers with 600 or less payees. MDOR also recommends the taxpayer uses secure Shell Protocol (SSH) to transfer files that are larger than 2MB in size.

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Form 1099

What is Mapped Data Upload?
Mapped Data Upload (MDU) is a simple "copy and paste" method for filing your annual Form 1099 report.

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Why must I "Map Data" within my file?
Mapping data from a columnar type spreadsheet allows Webfile for Business to identify the exact columns that are applicable for uploading to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

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How do I "Map Data" within my file?
Mapping data is a term used to declare or define the groups of columns of information (data) to be extracted from your source file and how to identify these columns. To map data successfully you must pre-define the location of (10) columns synonymous with the required column names below:

For the 1099 Payee:

PAYEE NAME, PAYEE SSN/TIN, PAYEE TYPE, PAYEE STREET ADDRESS, PAYEE CITY, PAYEE STATE/PROVINCE, PAYEE POSTAL CODE, PAYEE COUNTRY, PAID AMOUNT and WITHHELD AMOUNT

Mapping data with less then ten (10) columns is not permitted.

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My source file or spreadsheet has separate fields for "first name" and "last name". Do they need to be combined?
Yes, first name and last name values are required to be together in the same field. These values must be available in this format when mapping or re-defining each column.

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Must I map my data every time I use this application?
No, once you define the column locations, your pre-defined mapped settings will be saved for future uploads. However, should your file be modified and/or the formatting change, then mapping or re-defining your data may be necessary.

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I finished mapping my data and now my ten columns are identified. What is the next step?
From your records, spreadsheet or database, COPY the entire file and paste onto the upload page to validate your data before processing. Be mindful to use the copy function only. DO NOT CUT from your source file or spreadsheet. Cutting may cause you to lose data.

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Do I "copy and paste" the entire spreadsheet, including column headers?
You are not limited to pasting only the ten columns of required data. You are allowed to paste the entire file or spreadsheet. Only the columns that you have pre-defined get exported to WFB. DO NOT include any column headings.

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Identifying Errors after Validation

After validating data I found incorrect records with red highlighted data fields?
Fields highlighted red are "Warnings" and data must be corrected before continuing. You may correct formatting errors by clicking in the field highlighted red and making edits or changes to data within that record. Be certain the data is exactly that of what you copied. 

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE NAME field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 40 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE SSN/TIN ( taxpayer identification number) field?
This field may not be left blank and must contain 9 numeric characters (999999999). Social security numbers with or without dashes are permitted.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE TYPE field?
This field may not be left blank and must have 1 character of text. It must either be a "B" (business) or "I" (individual).

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE STREET ADDRESS field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 40 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE CITY field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 29 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE STATE/PROVINCE field?
This field may not be left blank and must contain up to 2 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE POSTAL CODE field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain up to 9 characters of text.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAYEE COUNTRY field? 
This field may be left blank
and may contain up to 20 characters of text, if applicable.

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the PAID AMOUNT field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain a dollar amount up to 11 characters (999999999.99). Be certain the data type from your source is set to "currency". If there is no amount to report for "PAID AMOUNT", you must enter zero (0).

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What do I do if I receive a "warning" within the WITHHELD AMOUNT field?
This field may not be left blank and may contain a dollar amount up to 11 characters (999999999.99). Be certain the data type from your source is set to "currency". If there is no amount to report for "WITHHELD AMOUNT", you must enter zero (0).

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Why do I have entire columns highlighted in red stating "value required" which contain partial or no data?
Please check to see if the correct data and the correct columns were selected.

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Can I see and confirm what was filed after I transmit data to Massachusetts Department of Revenue?
Yes, after a successful upload you will be prompted to a confirmation screen with a corresponding confirmation number. Please keep a copy for your records. After 1 business day has passed, you will be able to view the date and the status code of the upload by consulting the View Submission History screen then accessing "File Upload History Details".

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Is this the only "upload" option available for my financial institution?

Yes. Please note that MDOR recommends using the Bulk File Upload option for filers with 600 or less payees. MDOR also recommends the taxpayer uses secure Shell Protocol (SSH) to transfer files that are larger than 2MB in size.

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Professional Tax Preparer (PTP)

Can the PTP fill out the business registration for the BMA?
If the taxpayer is in the presence of the professional tax preparer, the PTP may register on the taxpayer's behalf. 

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An accounting supervisor is a BMA of a company and his SSN was used to fill out the business registration. He now wants to also be a PTP on his own. He does not want the PTP registration to be linked to the company. How will this affect his application if he puts his SSN in the Social Security field?
It will not affect his/her application at all, because they are two separate registrations. The SSN is used as verification and for security purposes.

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Can the BMA just give PTP access to view the account but not make changes so that the PTP can check on the BMA's filings?
The PTP or accountant if given the ability to view an account will have the ability to file and pay the taxes but will not have the ability to make account changes.

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Can a Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) sever its ties with a client on the WebFile system?
Yes. To do so, a PTP would go into Manage Accounts and select delete client.

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Can a Practitioner use his TIN (taxpayer identification number) issued by the federal government instead of his/her SSN when registering as a PTP?
No.

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Does my client have to put their phone number on the WebFile screens? It's not on the TA-1.
Yes. DOR requires the phone number so DOR can contact the client if we have a question concerning the registration.

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Can a client authorize a practitioner to get clients E-Mail?
E-mail is currently only used to send the result of the registration process and password resets. We use the Secure Inquiry/Contact feature of WebFile for Business to communicate to users. This inquiry feature is accessible to anyone with Manage Accounts rights to a business.

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How does the client show up on the PTP's list? The owner's name or the business name? Do we have a choice?
Once a taxpayer chooses you to be their PTP, their business name will be listed along with your other clients. You do not have a choice as to how the information is listed.

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Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status

What is the purpose of the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status? 
This annual certification enables the Commissioner of Revenue to provide local assessors with a comprehensive and up-to-date list of all entities classified, as of January 1 of each year, as corporations for tax purposes and subject, as corporations, to property tax under G.L. Chapter 59 and corporate excise tax under G.L. Chapter 63. See G.L. c. 58, § 2. The List of Corporations Subject to Taxation in Massachusetts (also called the “Corporations Book”) is published on-line each spring and assists local assessors in determining whether a particular entity owning personal property as of January 1 of the publication year is entitled to certain property tax exemptions as a corporation. G.L. c. 59, § 5(16). The Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status is essential to determining or verifying your company’s status. The DOR historically has compiled the list from a combination of corporate excise and other tax returns, as well as corporate registrations with the Secretary of State.  However, at the time the list is published each year, this information may not indicate the current corporate or non-corporate tax status of every entity, e.g., a recently formed entity may not yet have filed any returns or an entity may have changed its tax status.

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What is personal property?
Personal property generally includes tangible items that are not firmly attached to land or buildings and are not specially designed for or of such a size and bulk to be considered part of the real estate. This includes merchandise, furnishings and effects, machinery, tools, animals and equipment. Such personal property will be taxable unless a specific exemption provision applies.

All personal property situated in the commonwealth is subject to tax, unless specifically exempt by law. Property is situated in a particular city or town in the commonwealth if it is present on January 1 with the owner's intention that it remain with some degree of permanence. Property that is frequently moved from place to place or intended for use temporarily at different places is considered situated where the owner is an inhabitant or has a principal place of business (if the property is business personal property).

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What entities must file the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status?
Existing and recently formed (1) corporations, and (2) other business entities, including limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships, business trusts, certain entities organized in foreign countries and other unincorporated entities, that are classified as corporations for federal and Massachusetts tax purposes, must file if they have personal property in a Massachusetts city or town as of January 1 and want to ensure they are listed in the Corporations Book as an entity eligible for specific local property tax exemptions as a corporation. See DOR Directive 12-05.

Business entities that (1) have changed their entity tax status since the prior year’s certification or (2) are no longer treated as corporations for federal and Massachusetts tax purposes but were listed in the prior year’s Corporations Book, also must file.

Non-profit corporations or entities that may be eligible for local property tax exemptions under G.L. c. 59, § 5 as charitable, religious, veteran or other organizations are not required to file the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status. Local boards of assessors make those exemption decisions based on information provided in exemption applications and annual returns the organizations file with them.

Sole proprietors also are not required to file the Annual Certification of Entity Status.

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What is a corporation?
A corporation is an organization formed in accordance with state law to act as an artificial person to carry on business (or other activities), which can sue or be sued, and (unless it is non-profit) can issue shares of stock to raise funds with which to start a business or increase its capital.

If you intend to form a Massachusetts-based corporation, you must file "Articles of Organization" with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, in addition to fulfilling all applicable federal Internal Revenue Service, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance registration requirements. The Articles of Organization contain administrative information a corporation must furnish to officially establish identity in the Commonwealth. Corporations organized in Massachusetts are "domestic corporations."

Corporations organized or chartered in another state or country are "foreign corporations." They must file a foreign registration certificate with the Secretary of the Commonwealth within 10 days of commencing business in Massachusetts.

In addition, all foreign and domestic corporations registered in Massachusetts are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of the Commonwealth within two and one-half months after the close of their fiscal year.

For more information about this reporting requirement, or about incorporation in general, contact the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Corporations Division at 617-727-9640 or visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth website.

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What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?
A limited liability company (LLC) is a non-corporate business whose owners are protected against personal liability for the organization's debts and obligations.  The LLC is a hybrid legal entity that has both the characteristics of a corporation and a partnership. An LLC provides its owners with corporate-like protection against personal liability. It is, however, usually treated as a non-corporate business organization for local property tax purposes.

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What is a Partnership?
A partnership is an association of two or more persons engaged in a business enterprise in which the profits and losses are shared proportionally.  The formation of a partnership requires a voluntary "association" of persons who "own" the business and intend to conduct the business for profit. Persons can form a partnership by written or oral agreement, and a partnership agreement often governs the partners' relations to each other and to the partnership. The term person generally includes individuals, corporations, and other partnerships and business associations. Accordingly, some partnerships may contain individuals as well as large corporations.

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What is a Business Trust?
A business trust is an unincorporated business organization created by a legal document, a declaration of trust, and used instead of a corporation or partnership for the transaction of various kinds of businesses with limited liability. It differs from a corporation in that it does not receive a charter from the state giving it legal recognition; it derives its status from the voluntary action of the individuals who form it. The trust instrument is similar to a corporate charter, however, in that the trustees manage the business like a corporation's board of directors. They hold the assets of the business for the benefit of those holding shares. The shareholders have limited personal liability and receive distributions of the profits of the business.

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What is a Non-Profit Corporation?
A non-profit corporation is an incorporated organization created by statute, government or judicial authority that is not intended to provide a profit to the owners or members but instead uses them to help pursue its goals.  A non-profit corporation is usually created with a specific purpose, such as for educational, charitable or related to other enumerated purposes, it may be a foundation, a charity or other type of non-profit organization.

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What is a Sole Proprietor?
A sole proprietor is a form of business in which one person owns all the assets of the business, in contrast to a partnership or a corporation.  A person who does business for himself or herself is engaged in the operation of a sole proprietorship. Anyone who does business without formally creating a separate business organization is a sole proprietor. Many small businesses operate as sole proprietorships. Professionals, consultants, and other service businesses that require minimum amounts of capital often operate this way.

A sole proprietorship is not a separate legal entity, like a partnership, limited liability company, trust or corporation. No legal formalities are necessary to create a sole proprietorship, other than appropriate licensing to conduct business and registration of a business name if it differs from that of the sole proprietor. Because a sole proprietorship is not a separate legal entity, it is not itself a taxable entity. The sole proprietor reports the income and expenses from the business on Schedule C of her or his personal federal income tax return.

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What is the deadline for filing the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status?
April 1. Certifications of entity tax status as of January 1 of each year must be filed on or before the following April 1. For example, the certification of your company’s status as of January 1, 2014 must be filed by April 1, 2014. Shortly after April 1, 2014, the 2014 Corporations Book will be released on-line to assist local boards of assessors determine the tax status of business entities within their communities for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2014 (Fiscal Year 2015).

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When will access to the DOR website for filing the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status be available for each year’s filing?
Generally, it is available in September of the year before the certification year. For example, access to the DOR website for filing the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status as of January 1, 2015 would begin in September 2014 and end on April 1, 2015.

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What if my company changes its tax status as of January 1 in a given year after filing the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status as of that same January 1, such that its prior filing is now erroneous?
By April 1, your company must amend its certification so that it properly reflects its entity tax status as of the preceding January 1. For example, suppose that on November 15, 2013, your company files an Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status as of January 1, 2014 stating it is classified as a corporation for federal and Massachusetts tax purposes. Then, in January 2014, your company’s federal (and thus Massachusetts) tax status changes, by election, reorganization, or otherwise, such that your company is no longer classified as a corporation for tax purposes as of January 1, 2014. Your company must file an amended certification by April 1, 2014 declaring that it was not treated as a corporation for tax purposes as of the preceding January 1.

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What if my company changes its tax status after April 1?
Your company will show that change in tax status in its Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status as of the following January 1. For example, suppose that in its Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status as of January 1, 2014, your company certified that it was classified as a corporation for federal and Massachusetts tax purposes. Then, in July 2014, your company’s federal (and thus Massachusetts) tax status changes, by election, reorganization, or otherwise, such that as of the succeeding January 1 the entity will not be classified as a corporation for tax purposes. In your company’s Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status as of January 1, 2015, your company would certify that it is not treated as a corporation for federal tax purposes.

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Does my company have to submit the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status if it files as part of a combined report (member of a combined group) for corporate excise tax purposes, see G.L. c. 63, § 32B, but is not the principal reporting company that submits the combined report?

Yes. Each individual company included in the combined report must submit an Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status using its federal identification number because it will be listed or excluded from the Corporations Book based on its individual entity tax status.

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What is a member of a combined group?
A member of a combined group is a corporation that is required to be included in a combined report filed pursuant to G. L. c. 63, § 32B.  A member of a combined group may or may not be a corporation that is subject to Massachusetts tax; but in all instances a member’s income and apportionment data are required to be reported in the context of the combined report for purposes of determining the income component of the corporate excise that is due from each taxable member of the combined group.  See generally 830 CMR 63.32B.2.

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What is the principal reporting corporation?
In the event that there are two or more members of a combined group required to file a combined report pursuant to G. L. c. 63, § 32B, the principal reporting corporation is the taxable member of the group that is required to make the filing. See 830 CMR 63.32B.2(11)(a) .  The principal reporting corporation also is charged with acting as the agent of the taxable members of the combined group for purposes of all tax matters relating to the combined report.

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If my company files a corporate excise return as a manufacturing company and submits the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status, will it be listed as a manufacturing corporation in the Corporations Book?
It depends. In order to be listed in the Corporations Book as a  manufacturing corporation (“M”), a company must file a Form 355Q pdf format of    355q.pdf  and be affirmatively classified by DOR as a manufacturing corporation. A company that does not file a Form 355Q pdf format of    355q.pdf  and is not classified as a  manufacturing corporation may be entitled to  manufacturing corporation “status” for corporate excise purposes if it is a manufacturer in fact. However, it cannot receive local property tax exemptions for a manufacturing corporation unless it has applied for and obtained DOR classification as a manufacturing corporation. Once a company applies and has been classified as a manufacturing corporation, it retains its classification, unless it changes its name, merges with or is taken over by another company, or has its manufacturing classification revoked in a prior year, or its facts materially change such that it no longer qualifies to be classified as a manufacturing corporation. For further information about manufacturing corporation classification, see 830 CMR 58.2.1 Manufacturing Corporations .

In any event, a manufacturing corporation also must file an Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status to ensure that it will be included in the Corporations Book. Further information relating to the determination of manufacturing corporation status in the case of S Corporations that have one or more Qualified Subchapter S Subsidiaries (QSubs) may be found below.

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What is Manufacturing?
Manufacturing is a process that transforms raw or finished materials by hand or machinery, and through human skill and knowledge, into a new product possessing a new name, nature and adapted to a new use. Many cases have been decided delineating what constitutes manufacturing.  What constitutes manufacturing is a facts and circumstances decision, and it is best to review the case histories to determine whether an action qualifies as manufacturing.

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How does a corporation get a designation as manufacturing in Massachusetts?
DOR classification as a manufacturing corporation for property tax purposes is done by application, according to the procedures detailed in the Manufacturing Corporations regulation, 830 CMR 58.2.1.  An entity that is taxed as a business corporation in Massachusetts, that is engaged substantially in manufacturing must apply to and be classified as a manufacturer by the Commissioner of Revenue in order to receive the manufacturing corporation property tax exemptions. In addition, a corporation must be classified as a research and development corporation in order to receive the research and development corporation exemptions in a city or town which has accepted that exemption.

Application for classification as a manufacturer must be made on or before January 31 in order to be classified as of January 1 of the same year, the fiscal year assessment date. For example, an application for manufacturing classification filed November 1, 2013 may be approved as of January 1, 2014. An application for classification filed January 15, 2014 may be approved as of January 1, 2014 as well. However, an application for classification filed February 15, 2014 may be approved as of January 1, 2015, but not as of January 1, 2014. Application is made on Form 355Q pdf format of 355q.pdf pursuant to 830 CMR 58.2.1. Taxpayers and assessors may appeal the denial or approval of manufacturing classification.

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What is a C Corporation?
C Corporation is the most common type of corporation (named after Subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code) and is taxed as a separate business entity.

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What is an S Corporation?
An S Corporation is a type of corporation (named after Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code) that for tax purposes has characteristics of both a pass-through entity and a corporation.  S Corporations generally have owners who are individual taxpayers, and an S Corporation is limited in the number of shareholders it may have.  An S Corporation passes through its income, deductions, losses and credits to shareholders, who must report these items on their individual income tax returns.  S Corporations also are subject to an entity-level tax.

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What is a QSub?
A Qualified Subchapter S Subsidiary, or QSub, is a specific type of subsidiary owned by an S Corporation, subject to rules in the federal Internal Revenue Code. Once an S Corporation parent makes an election to treat a qualifying subsidiary as a QSub, the QSub is treated as a division of its S Corporation parent, and the parent S Corporation takes into account the QSub’s income, assets, and other attributes in determining the parent S Corporation’s Massachusetts tax liability.

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Are Qualified Subchapter S Subsidiaries (QSubs) includable in the Corporations Book, and must an Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status be filed for each QSub?
Yes and yes. First, some background on QSubs: A QSub is a Qualified Subchapter S Subsidiary as defined under the federal Internal Revenue Code, and QSub status for an eligible subsidiary of an S Corporation requires a special federal election on the part of the S Corporation. In order to be eligible to be treated as a QSub, the S Corporation subsidiary must be either a corporation in fact (i.e., organized as a corporation within the U.S.) or have elected to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. Once an S Corporation parent makes an election to treat a qualifying subsidiary as a QSub, the QSub is treated as a division of its S Corporation parent, and the parent S Corporation is the only entity then required to file a Massachusetts corporate excise return.

Because a QSub must first be classified as a corporation for federal income tax purposes (which classification is followed for Massachusetts corporate excise tax purposes) in order to be eligible to be treated as a QSub, a QSub’s assets may qualify for local property tax exemptions available to corporations. For that reason, even though a QSub’s income, assets, and other attributes are treated as those of its parent S Corporation for corporate excise tax purposes, a QSub may be included in the Corporations Book, and must be so included to ensure the availability of property tax exemptions for corporations. Accordingly, an Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status must be filed for each QSub.

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How is manufacturing company classification claimed and determined in the case of an S Corporation with one or more Qualified Subchapter S Subsidiaries (QSubs)?
In the case of an S Corporation with one or more QSubs, manufacturing status is determined on the basis of the assets, activities, and other attributes of the S Corporation and all QSubs considered in the aggregate. Therefore, the parent S Corporation must file the Form 355Q pdf format of    355q.pdf  and be classified as a manufacturing corporation in order for the assets of a QSub to be eligible for property tax exemptions available to a manufacturing corporation. This is because  manufacturing corporation status is determined under the corporate excise, G.L. c. 63, § 42B, and for that purpose any QSubs are not separate filing entities and all of their assets and other attributes are treated as those of the parent S Corporation. (See prior question and answer for more information on QSubs.) If an S Corporation with one or more QSubs, considered in the aggregate, qualifies for manufacturing corporation classification, then all of the property of the S Corporation and its QSubs will be eligible for property tax exemptions available to manufacturing corporations. Conversely, if an S Corporation considered together with any of its QSubs does not qualify for manufacturing corporation classification, then none of the assets of the S Corporation and any of its QSubs will be eligible for such manufacturing company exemptions, irrespective of whether the S Corporation or any QSub might be engaged in substantial manufacturing if it were considered in isolation.

Note that submission of the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status for an S Corporation and for each QSub also is necessary in order that each such entity may be listed in the Corporations Book as a corporation, and may be designated as a manufacturing corporation (when qualifying for classification as such). Also, note that in order for the S Corporation or a QSub to be listed as a manufacturing corporation in the Corporations Book, the parent S Corporation must have submitted Form 355Q pdf format of    355q.pdf  in a timely manner and be classified as a manufacturing corporation as of January 1. See DOR Directive 12-05 . Thus, where a QSub was formerly classified as a manufacturing corporation based solely on the QSub’s manufacturing status, a new Form 355Q pdf format of    355q.pdf  must now be filed by the S Corporation parent of the QSub in order to seek manufacturing corporation classification for the parent and any and all QSubs considered in the aggregate. Similarly, any S Corporation and its QSubs that have not qualified for manufacturing status in the past may potentially qualify for such status now based on the manufacturing activities of the S Corporation and its QSubs considered in the aggregate, and a Form 355Q pdf format of    355q.pdf  may be filed by the parent S Corporation to obtain that classification for it and its QSubs. For further information about applying for manufacturing corporation classification, see Q&A8 and 830 CMR 58.2.1 .

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If an entity is incorporated in Massachusetts, or in another state or foreign country, and is registered with the Secretary of State to do business in Massachusetts, does it still have to submit the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status to be included in the Corporations Book?
Yes. Any legal entity with property in a Massachusetts city or town that wants to ensure that it is listed in the Corporations Book as an entity eligible for specific local property tax exemptions for corporations must submit the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status. In addition, every entity qualifying to be listed as a corporation is asked to verify whether it is taxable in Massachusetts as a business corporation, manufacturing corporation, financial institution or insurance company. The extent of local property tax exemptions depends in large part on this particular Massachusetts corporate tax treatment.

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If my company submits the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status and appears as a listed corporation, does it still have to file a local return to the boards of assessors in the communities in which it has personal property?
Yes. The purpose of the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status is to verify that the Corporations Book compiled to assist local boards of assessors is a complete and accurate listing of all companies treated as corporations for federal and Massachusetts tax purposes as of each January 1. However, most corporations or other entities treated as corporations are still liable for local personal property taxes on underground and aerial assets and, except for manufacturing corporations, certain machinery. If liable for local property taxes, these entities have a legal obligation to file a return of those taxable assets (Form of List, State Tax Form 2) with the assessors of the community where the property is situated under G.L. c. 59, § 29, or with DOR for pipeline or telephone property subject to central valuation under G.L. c. 59, §§ 38A or 41.

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If my company does not submit the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status and does not appear in the Corporations Book, does it have any right to appeal the failure to be listed?
Yes. Publication of the Corporations Book will ordinarily take place shortly after April 1 of each year. You should monitor the DOR’s Corporations Book website to see if your company appears on the published list. If your company is not listed and you believe it should be treated as a corporation and included in the Corporations Book, or if your company is listed but you believe it has been erroneously classified, it may appeal to the Appellate Tax Board. That appeal must be filed on or before April 30, or 30 days after the Corporations Book is released to local assessors, whichever is later. G.L. c. 58, § 2. The release date of the Corporations Book is found on-line.  Local boards of assessors also may challenge, in this same manner, the listing of companies that do appear in the Corporations Book where the local assessors believe the listing is inaccurate.

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If my company appears as a listed corporation, but gets a property tax bill that includes exempt personal property, does it have a right to contest the assessment?
Yes. If your company claims overassessment of its property tax for any reason, it may apply to the local board of assessors for abatement of the tax. Abatement applications (State Tax Form 128) must be filed with the assessors on or before the due date of the first installment of the actual tax bill. Your property tax bill states the abatement application due date for the year.

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Who should my company contact with specific questions about its local personal property tax obligations?
The board of assessors of the community in which the property is situated. Local assessors are the tax administrators for their communities and make all personal property tax assessment, abatement and exemption decisions based on information gathered from their own sources, supplied by property owners in returns and provided by the Corporations Book. On our website you will find FAQs that provide general information about local personal property taxes. However, the FAQs are not intended to answer taxpayer- or fact- specific personal property tax questions. Those questions must be directed to the local assessors who address them.

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