Due Date of a Return

Personal income tax returns are due on or before April 15th following the close of each tax year. When the due date for filing tax returns falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the filing may be made on the next succeeding business day.

The due date for filing 2016 personal income tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.


Extensions

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) provides individual taxpayers, fiduciaries, partnerships, and filers of estate tax returns an automatic extension of time to file their tax returns as long as they have paid at least 80% of the total amount of tax due on or before the payment due date. Taxpayers meeting this payment requirement will be granted a 6-month extension to file their applicable return. See TIR 16-10 for more information.  

Eligible Taxpayers

Eligible taxpayers include taxpayers filing Form 1, Form 1-NR/PY, Form 2, Form 2G, Form 3, Form 3M, Form M-990T-62, and Form NRCR, and estates filing Form M-706. 

Effect of Extension

Once granted, the 6-month extension runs from the original due date for filing the return. A taxpayer may file a return at any point during the extension period. An extension to file a return does not extend the due date for payment of any tax due.

Estates seeking an extension of time to pay the estate tax must still request approval from DOR by filing Form M-4678.  Form M-4678 may be filed electronically using MassTaxConnect.

Extension payments

If an extension payment is required to reach the 80% threshold, taxpayers are encouraged to pay electronically using MassTaxConnect.   

An individual taxpayer who is required to pay $5,000 or more to qualify for an extension must make the payment electronically. For all electronic filing and payment requirements, see TIR 16-9

Penalties and Interest

An extension will be considered void if 80% of the total tax liability is not paid on or before the original due date of the return. Void extensions are subject to penalty and interest charges from the original due date. Any portion of the tax not paid on or before the due date of the return is subject to a late payment penalty of 1% per month of the tax due, up to a maximum of 25%. Additionally, returns not filed on or before the due date are subject to a late return penalty of 1% per month of the tax due, up to a maximum of 25%. Interest will also be charged on any tax not paid on or before the original due date.


Extensions Relating to Farmers and Fisherman

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is following the IRS in its treatment of farmers and fishermen as it relates to the penalty for Underpayment of Estimated Income Tax. Farmers or fishermen who miss the March 1 deadline will not be subject to the penalty if they file and pay by April 15.  This exception to the penalty is explained on Form M-2210  pdf format of Form M-2210
. If you qualify for this exception, be sure to include Form M-2210 with your tax return, whether you file electronically or on paper.  For more information, see IRS Notice 2013-5.


Filing and Payment Deadlines for Taxpayers Serving in a Combat Zone, Including Arabian Peninsula Areas, Kosovo Area and Afghanistan

DOR follows the federal rules for granting an extension of time to file income tax returns and to pay taxes due for those serving in a combat zone, or who are hospitalized as a result of such service, during the period designated as the period of combatant activities. This extension applies to members of the armed forces, as well as individuals serving in support of the armed forces, serving in a combat zone. The extension period is for the time of service in the combat zone area or hospitalization attributable to such service plus 180 days. These extension provisions parallel the federal provisions of I.R.C. Section 7508, as recently amended.

No interest or penalties will be charged during the extension period on taxes due for the tax year. The extension of time to file returns also applies to spouses of personnel serving in combat areas if a joint return is filed. Taxpayers claiming an extension of time to file a return or pay tax under this provision of law should write "COMBAT ZONE" on the income tax envelope and on the top of the income tax return that they submit to the Department of Revenue. If filing electronically, taxpayers should write "COMBAT ZONE" next to their name, or if necessary, on one of the address lines on the form, along with the date of deployment.

The due date for filing Massachusetts income tax returns and for paying tax is the same as the federal date and is calculated as follows:

  1. The starting date is the date of departure from the combat area (or, if applicable, the date of termination of combatant activities in the combat area as designated under section 112 of the Code); plus
  2. At least 180 days after the starting date as stated in 1. above, plus a period of up to 105 additional days, with such additional period representing the number of days remaining in the tax filing period of January 1 through April 15, calculated as of the time the taxpayer entered the combat area during the filing season; plus
  3. The period of qualified hospitalization, if any. Any period of continuous hospitalization as a result of injuries while serving in the Persian Gulf area, including any period of hospitalization outside the United States; and any period for up to five years of hospitalization within the United States (except this provision does not apply to spouses); plus
  4. The period of time in a missing status, if any. Any period during which an individual serving in the Persian Gulf area is missing in action or a prisoner of war, within the meaning of section 6013(f)(3) of the Code.


Designated combat zones include/have included: the Persian Gulf, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Examples:

Example 1. Taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area on February 1, 2014, and served there through May 28, 2014, when she returned to the United States. She has 254 days after her date of departure from the Persian Gulf area to file her 2013 income tax return and to pay her taxes. The 254 days are computed as follows: 180 days from the date the taxpayer left the Persian Gulf area plus an additional 74 days, which represent the number of days that were left in the tax filing period ending April 15, 2014 from the date the taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area during the filing season. The taxpayer's 2013 return is due by February 6, 2015. 

For 2013, the 74 days are computed as follows:
February 1, 2014, the departure date, through 28=28
March 1- 31=31
April 1 - 15, the last day for filing=15
Subtotal=74
Plus 180 days=180
Total=254
For 2013, Due Date of Return, February 6, 2015 is computed as follows:
May 29, the return date, through 31, 2014=3October, 2014=31
June, 2014=30November, 2014=30
July, 2014=31December, 2014=31
August, 2014=31January, 2015=31
September, 2014=30February 6, 2015=6
 Total=254
Example 2. Taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area on January 5, 2014, and was injured on February 15, 2014. He was flown to a U.S. hospital and was hospitalized through April 20, 2014 when he returned to the United States. He has 281 days after his date of departure from the hospital to file his 2013 income tax return and to pay his taxes. The 281 days are computed as follows: 180 days from the date the taxpayer left the Persian Gulf area plus an additional 101 days, which represent the number of days that were left in the tax filing period ending April 15, 2014, from the date the taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area. The taxpayer's 2013 return is due by January 26, 2015.
For 2013, the 101 days are computed as follows:
January 5, 2014, the departure date, through 31=27
February 1 - 28=28
March 1- 31=31
April 1 - 15, the last day for filing=15
Subtotal=101
Plus 180 days=180
Total=281
For 2013, Due Date of Return, January 26, 2015 is computed as follows:
April 21, the return date, through 30, 2014=10September, 2014=30
May, 2014=31October, 2014=31
June, 2014=30November, 2014=30
July, 2014=31December, 2014=31
August, 2014=31January 26, 2015=26 
 Total=281
Example 3. Taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area on March 15, 2015, and served there through May 31, 2015, when she returned to the United States. For the 2013 return, she has 212 days after her date of departure from the Persian Gulf area to file her 2013 income tax return and to pay her taxes. The 212 days are computed as follows: 180 days from the date the taxpayer left the Persian Gulf area plus an additional 32 days, which represent the number of days that were left in the tax filing period ending April 15, 2014 from the date the taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area. The taxpayer's 2010 return is due by December 29, 2015.

For the 2014 return, the taxpayer has 286 days after her date of departure from the Persian Gulf area to file her 2014 income tax return and to pay her taxes. The 286 days are computed as follows: 180 days from the date the taxpayer left the Persian Gulf area plus an additional 106 days, which represent the number of days that were left in the tax filing period ending April 15, 2015 from the date the taxpayer entered the Persian Gulf area. The taxpayer's 2014 return is due by March 13, 2016.
For 2013, the 32 days are computed as follows:
March 15, 2014, the departure date, through 31=17
April 1 - 15, the last day for filing=15
Subtotal=32
Plus 180 days=180
Total=212
For 2013, Due Date of Return, December 29, 2015 is computed as follows:
June 1, the return date, through 30, 2015=30October, 2015=31
July, 2015=31 November, 2015=30
August, 2015=31 December 29, 2015=29
September, 2015=30   
 Total=212
For 2014, the 106 days are computed as follows:
Taxpayer was overseas for the entire filing period.
January 1 - 31, 2015=31
February 1 - 29 (leap year)=29
March 1 - 31=31
April 1 - 15, the last day for filing=15
Subtotal=106
Plus 180 Days=180
Total=286
For 2014, Due date of Return, March 13, 2016 is computed as follows:
June 1, the return date through 30, 2015=30November, 2015=30
July, 2015=31December, 2015=31
August, 2015=31January, 2016=31
September, 2015=30February, 2016=28
October, 2015=31 March 13, 2016= 13
 Total=286

Tax Relief for Taxpayers Affected by a Presidentially Declared Disaster: 
Effective retroactively to September 1, 2008, DOR grants automatic extensions of time for (affected taxpayers) to file returns and submit payments of tax as the result of any declaration by the President of the United States of a disaster area within the United States. The specific relief granted by DOR for each disaster is generally that as provided and announced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The due date and payment date for returns and payments required to be filed by affected taxpayers is extended for a specified period of time as announced by the IRS, unless the Department publicly announces otherwise. The extension covers the filing of tax returns, the payment of tax (including payment of estimated tax), and the filing of tax extension forms with DOR.


Massachusetts References: