The Department of Revenue (DOR) is committed to enforcing the tax laws of the Commonwealth in a fair, impartial and consistent manner. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate was established at the executive level to help ensure that the Department meets this goal. The Taxpayer Advocate assists taxpayers and their representatives in the resolution of their problems as quickly as possible, and ensures that all taxpayers are aware of and afforded their rights in all communications with the Department. The Taxpayer Advocate is also responsible for identifying departmental procedures that create a hardship for taxpayers and proposing solutions that will assist them with meeting their tax compliance obligations.
The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate serves as DOR's ombudsman, and acts as an independent voice in reviewing protracted individual cases. While the Taxpayer Advocate is not the first step in resolving a problem, the office can intercede on a taxpayer's behalf when all other efforts to reach a remedy have been exhausted.
The Advocate's Office also provides assistance to custodial and non-custodial parents in resolving protracted issues relating to DOR's Child Support Enforcement Division.
The objectives of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate are to:
- Provide assistance to taxpayers in resolving problems with DOR;
- Advise executive management regarding identified areas in which taxpayers are having problems working with DOR;
- Propose solutions, including administrative changes to DOR practices and procedures;
- Identify and recommend legislative remedies to address problems when appropriate;
- Preserve and promote the rights of the taxpayer; and
- Foster open, honest communications.
Authority to Act
The Taxpayer Advocate is authorized to act on behalf of the Commissioner in matters where it appears that a taxpayer is suffering or is about to suffer a significant hardship as a result of the manner in which the tax laws of the Commonwealth are being administered. The Advocate is empowered to cut through any bureaucratic "red tape" to find a resolution to a taxpayer's problem. However, the Advocate has no authority beyond those granted by statute to the Commissioner.
Form M-911, Taxpayer's Application for Relief Due to Hardship
Assistance to Taxpayers
Protracted taxpayer cases brought to the attention of the Taxpayer Advocate will be addressed as quickly as possible. The Problem Resolution Office will be responsible for working the case and reporting back to the Advocate. When appropriate, cases will be referred to the Office of Appeals.
Problem trends identified by the Taxpayer Advocate will be reported to DOR's executive management. Administrative solutions will be proposed and, where appropriate, implemented. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate may also recommend legislative changes.
Open Honest Communication
To foster open, honest communication between DOR and the public, the office annually compiles a calendar of speaking engagements. The Advocate and appropriate DOR managers are available to meet with business groups and trade organizations to listen to their concerns, identify problem areas leading to non-compliance, and educate participants about the services and programs offered by DOR.
Your Ideas Count
The Taxpayer Advocate also welcomes feedback from taxpayers and encourages them to contact the office with comments and suggestions on ways to improve operations. See below for information on how to contact the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.
Taxpayer Rights & Responsibilities
All taxpayers have certain rights and responsibilities in the administration of the Commonwealth's tax laws. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is responsible for ensuring that you, as a taxpayer, are aware of, and afforded your rights, as well as for being aware of your responsibilities in all communications with DOR.
- DOR must be objective, impartial, professional and ethical in its administration of the tax laws.
- Any information you provide to the Department will be handled with the utmost confidentiality and professionalism.
- DOR will maintain a Problem resolution Office and an Office of Internal Affairs to safeguard taxpayers' rights.
- DOR may not establish or enforce individual collection quotas for its employees.
- If you are unable to satisfy a tax liability in full, the Commissioner of Revenue may enter into a payment agreement if the Commissioner determines that it will facilitate the collection of the tax.
- You may obtain representation at any point in your dealings with the Department (e.g., during an interview).
- You are entitled to appeal any DOR decision regarding your tax liability. DOR is obligated to make abatement decisions as promptly as possible and issue any resulting refunds within 30 days of such decision.
- You will not be subject to statutory penalties if you make a mistake because you relied on written advice from a DOR representative acting in an official capacity.
- Knowing your tax reporting obligations and seeking guidance when you have questions.
- Filing returns and paying taxes in a timely manner.
- Ensuring the accuracy of the information entered on your tax return.
- Registering any business with DOR, and applying for and maintaining all applicable tax permits required for its operation.
- Promptly notifying the DOR, and paying all taxes when closing or transferring a business.
|Office of the Taxpayer Advocate|
|Taxpayer Advocate:||Dennis Buckley|
|Telephone Number:||(617) 626-2280|
|Address:||Massachusetts Department of Revenue|
Office of the Taxpayer Advocate
100 Cambridge Street, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02210
|Other Important Telephone Numbers:|
|Taxpayer Service Division:||(617) 887-MDOR, or|
toll-free in Massachusetts 1-800-392-6089;
TTY (617) 887-6140
|Problem Resolution Office:||(617) 626-3833|
|Collections Bureau:||(617) 887-6400|