The Department of Revenue uses two types of barcodes on many of its forms. These barcodes allow the Department to identify documents, their source, and even capture the contents of entire tax returns by simply scanning them.


1-Dimensional (1-D) barcodes
1-D barcodes appear on Department-generated forms and schedules, as well as on forms and schedules generated by tax preparation software and Web applications. These barcodes contain information about the documents such as form type, tax year and origin. 1-D barcodes are similar in appearance to UPC symbols that appear on everyday products from CDs to laundry detergent.
2-Dimensional (2-D) barcodes
All personal income and corporate excise tax forms and schedules also use 2-D barcodes. Unlike 1-D barcodes, 2-D barcodes appear after these forms are prepared using certain tax preparation software packages (for information on which packages see Important things to keep in mind ). These barcodes are generated by the software when forms are printed and contain vast quantities of data gathered directly from the completed forms. When the forms arrive at the Department of Revenue, the data are captured in seconds using a 2-D barcode scanner.


2-D barcodes will appear in the top right-hand corner of software-generated forms: on income tax returns they will print on the first page of the return (for the entire return); on corporate excise returns they will print on each page of the return and on the major schedules.


Important things to keep in mind

  • Certain tax preparation software packages support 2-D barcodes:

  • Handwritten and typewritten changes and/or corrections made to forms with 2-D barcodes delay processing. All changes and/or corrections must be made using the tax preparation software package and the forms must be reprinted so that all changes are incorporated into the 2-D barcodes.

  • Income tax forms with 2-D barcodes must be sent to the following addresses to avoid processing delays:

2-D barcoded income tax refund returnsMassachusetts Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 7001
Boston, MA 02204-7001
2-D barcoded income tax payment returnsMassachusetts Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 7002
Boston, MA 02204-7002
  • Forms with 2-D barcodes will be prioritized and processed first.