General Rules

A deduction is allowed for rent paid by the taxpayer during the taxable year for a principal residence located in Massachusetts. This deduction is limited to 50% of the rent paid not to exceed a total deduction of $3,000. The deduction must be for rent that the taxpayer paid to a landlord for the rental or lease of taxpayer's principal residence in Massachusetts.

Rent Paid by Third Party on Taxpayer's Behalf:
If the rent is paid by a third party (such as by a parent) who maintains a principal residence elsewhere, no 50% rental deduction is allowed for either party.

Joint Rental of A Unit:
If two or more persons jointly rent a unit, each occupant using it as his or her principal residence is entitled to a deduction based on the amount of rent each person paid.

Example: two unrelated individuals rent a two bedroom apartment for $1,500 per month. Since they split the rent, e.g. each pays half, or $750 per month, each is entitled to the full $3,000 rental deduction ($750 x 12 = $9,000)

A Principal residence includes: 

  • mobile home, mobile home site or a trailer park site rental if it is the taxpayer's principal residence;
  • hotel, motel, or rooming house occupancy if a rental agreement exists, written or oral, creating a landlord-tenant relationship;
  • nursing home or a retirement home for the elderly if a rental agreement exists, written or oral, creating a landlord-tenant relationship.

A Principal residence does not include: 

  • apartment or house of a student or faculty member who has a principal residence elsewhere;
  • apartment or house of a nonresident who has a legal residence in another state or country;
  • apartment for a person on a temporary assignment in Massachusetts;
  • dorm room;
  • hotel, motel, or rooming house occupancy where no rental agreement exists;
  • nursing home or a retirement home for the elderly where no rental agreement exists;
  • vacation home.

Payments that constitute rent: 

  • only amounts paid specifically as rent are allowed; and
  • amounts paid for utilities, furnishing and parking if the landlord makes no separate charges for these items.

Payments that do not constitute rent: 

  • amounts paid for condominium fees;
  • separately stated amounts paid for utilities, furnishing and parking;
  • advance payments (such as a security deposit, last month's rent, etc.) until actually applied as rent.


Married filing separate taxpayers are limited to a rent deduction equal to 50% of the rent each pays, not to exceed $1,500 per return. However, a married couple filing separate may allocate the rent deduction differently (1) provided the amount taken by each spouse does not exceed 50% of the rent actually paid by that spouse, and (2) provided their combined rent deduction does not exceed $3,000.

The spouse claiming a deduction in excess of $1,500 must attach to his/her return a statement signed by the other spouse giving consent to the allocation. The statement must list the name, address, social security number of the consenting spouse and the amount of rental deduction taken by that spouse. 

Nonresidents and part-year residents are allowed a deduction equal to 50% of the rent paid (up to $3,000) if their residence is located in Massachusetts and it is the taxpayer's principal residence.

Nonresidents entitled to this deduction would be individuals who have no domicile, for example migrant workers, who come to Massachusetts and pay rent while they are working here.


Where to Report on Original Tax Return; What to Enclose:

  • Residents and part-year residents, enter the total amount of rent on either Mass Form 1, Line 14a, or Form 1-NR/PY, Line 18a. Divide this amount by 2 and enter allowable amount on either Mass Form 1, Line 14, or Form 1-NR/PY, Line 18.
  • For Married Filing Separately - A spouse claiming a deduction in excess of $1,500 must enclose a statement signed by the other spouse agreeing to allocate some or all of the other spouse's portion of the deduction. The statement must list the name, address and Social Security number of the consenting spouse and the amount of rental deduction taken by that spouse.

Documentation to Submit with Abatement/Amended Tax Return:

  • Landlord's name;
  • Written consent signed by your spouse agreeing to allocate some or all of spouse's portion of the deduction to you if married filing separate.

Massachusetts References:


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