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 2014 personal income tax returns is Wednesday, April 15, 2015.


Extensions

General Rules:
Taxpayers who are unable to meet their income tax filing deadlines may apply for automatic six months extensions of time to file Massachusetts personal income tax returns and to make payments.

Note: The federal automatic extension of time to file is also six-months.

Taxpayers request extensions via the web or by filling out a paper form:

For Individuals, Extension must be filed electronically if taxpayer:

  • owes no tax; or
  • is making a payment of $5,000 or more with the extension and will be filing a return for the period January 1 - December 31, 2014.

Automatic Extension Granted if 100% Tax Due is Paid by Tax Return Due Date
If the amount of tax due is "0" and 100% of the tax due for the taxable year has been paid through: withholding; timely estimated payments of tax; credits or a refund from the prior tax year applied to the current year's tax liability, taxpayer is no longer required to file Form M-4868 or Form M-8736. See TIR 06-21 .

For more information, see Automatic Extensions on the Web.

An extension is valid only if a taxpayer pays at least 80% of the total tax liability by the original due date. 80% of the total tax liability is the combination of withholding, estimated payments and payment made with the extension.

Military Personnel Stationed in a Combat Zone and Taxpayers Residing Abroad:

An exception to allow an extension beyond the six-month period may apply to military personnel stationed in a combat area and the extension generally corresponds to the U.S. Extension Guidelines.

The exception may also apply to certain taxpayers residing abroad and who qualify for a longer extension under U.S. Guidelines pursuant to I.R.C. § 6081. Such a request is filed in duplicate on Form M-4868 on or before the original due date and is accompanied by any estimated tax due. This non-automated extension is generally limited to two months when granted in writing by the Commissioner.

Late file and late pay penalties are not imposed if the return is filed by the extended due date and the extension is valid. Interest remains due on any amount not paid by the original due date.

An invalid extension may be subject to Late File/Late Pay Penalties - Calculation.

Underpayment of Estimated Tax - Calculation (M2210 Penalty) may be imposed regardless of a valid extension
 


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.


Filing Web Extension for Personal Income Tax
Taxpayers can apply for an automatic Six-Month extension to file their Personal Income Tax returns and to make payments.


Extensions by Paper

The following taxpayers must file paper extensions; they may not PC file extensions as described below:

  • Massachusetts Form 3, Partnership Return of Income;
  • Massachusetts Form 3F, Income Tax Return of Corporate Trust;
  • individuals who do not meet the criteria to file an extension by PC.

Paper extensions on Form M-8736 or M-4868 should be mailed to:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
PO Box 7070
Boston, MA 02204

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

  • The amount of payment made with extension is reported on Mass Form 1, Line 39 or 1-NR/PY, Line 44. 

Massachusetts References: