Hearing before Abatement Denial

For cases in which a taxpayer is seeking to have a previously assessed tax partially or fully abated, the taxpayer has the right to an abatement hearing before the abatement is denied in full or in part. Generally, such hearings are conducted by the Office of Appeals.

The Customer Service Bureau (CSB) will review the taxpayer's application and transfer the matter to the Office of Appeals, unless it determines that the abatement should be granted without the need for a hearing. CSB may request that the taxpayer provide additional information during the course of its review and may provide an opportunity for the taxpayer to meet with a CSB tax specialist in order to resolve the issue. If a taxpayer still requests a statutory hearing, then CSB will transfer the case file containing all necessary information to the Office of Appeals.

A hearing is granted only if the taxpayer requests it in writing and if there is a possibility that a claim will be denied in full or in part. A taxpayer may request a hearing on Item 9 of Form CA-6, Application for Abatement by writing "Hearing requested".

If a taxpayer did not request a hearing on the application for abatement, a request may be made in writing to CSB which must be received before any formal determination has been made on the application.

The Form CA-6 should include a statement of the facts and issues in dispute and, if appropriate, should cite relevant statutory references. The taxpayer should attach to his or her application any exhibits which substantiate the claim for abatement.

Limitation on Abatement Hearings for Abatement Applications Filed on or after July 1, 2003:
Taxpayer will be entitled to either a pre-assessment hearing or an abatement hearing, but not both, unless:

  • the taxpayer establishes that there is new factual information or new legal precedent that was not available to the taxpayer at the time of the pre-assessment hearing; or
  • the taxpayer raises a new issue not considered at the pre-assessment hearing.

A taxpayer filing an abatement application, who has previously had a pre-assessment hearing and wishes to request a new abatement hearing must submit in writing, and file with the CA-6 form either:

  • a statement and supporting documentation of the specific additional facts that will be relied upon at the abatement hearing and an explanation as to why these facts were not available at the pre-assessment hearing; or
  • the name and citation of the recently decided court case, Appellate Tax Board opinion, or other legal precedent that was issued subsequent to the pre-assessment hearing and a written explanation as to why that legal authority should control the outcome of the abatement application.

Note: A decision that is either under appeal by the Department or may be appealed by the Department will not be considered a new legal precedent for purposes of this section. Taxpayers who have had a pre-assessment hearing who do not meet these requirements will not be granted an abatement hearing and the Department will grant or deny their abatement application based on the written information provided and information in the Department's records or provided to the Department from third party sources.

Hearing before Penalty Abatement Denial, Including Section 28 and Interest

Hearings before penalty, including Section 28 and interest, abatement denials are also held by the Office of Appeals. Please note that interest is mandated by law and cannot be abated.

Hearing before Assessment

A taxpayer who has received notice of the Commissioner's intention to assess a deficiency may confer with the Commissioner within thirty days after the date of the issuance of the notice of intention to assess. A taxpayer or the taxpayer's representative must send a written request for a conference to the Commissioner at the address shown on the notice of intention to assess.

Timely Request for a Conference:
A timely request in writing for a conference must be received by the Commissioner by the thirtieth day following the issuance of the notice of intention to assess. A request for a conference received after the thirtieth day following the issuance of the notice of intention to assess will be considered solely at the discretion of the Commissioner.

Conference to Be Held within Thirty Days:
Any taxpayer who submits a timely request for a conference must be available to confer within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of intention to assess. The Commissioner may, at the discretion of the Commissioner, hold the requested conference after the thirtieth day. If the taxpayer is not available to confer with the Commissioner within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of intention to assess and wishes to confer with the Commissioner after the thirtieth day and the Commissioner grants the request for a conference, the Commissioner may require as a prerequisite to granting a conference that the taxpayer sign a consent to extension of time agreement, as provided in 830 CMR 62C.26.1(19).

Taxpayer's Right to One Conference with the Commissioner:
The Commissioner or the Commissioner's duly authorized representative will confer once with any taxpayer who makes a timely request for a conference and who is available to confer within the thirty days. The Commissioner may grant additional conferences with the taxpayer at the sole discretion of the Commissioner.

Limitation of Hearings:
Abatement hearings for abatement applications filed on or after July 1, 2003 - generally, a taxpayer is entitled to either a pre-assessment hearing or an abatement hearing, but not both.
Hearing before Correction of Return Assessment Based on Third Party Information

For returns filed on or after July 1, 2003, a taxpayer who disagrees with the change described in the Notice of Change to Your Tax Return "Notice" may elect to either:"
  • File for an expedited abatement within the time limitations prescribed by law :
    • Taxpayer can sign and return the appropriate portion of the "Notice" to the Department; or
    • Taxpayer can file an application for abatement on Form CA-6.

      For purposes of filing an expedited abatement, the date of assessment will be the date of the "Notice." A taxpayer that timely files an abatement application may challenge the correctness of the assessment but not the method of assessment under Section 26(C).

      Request for an abatement hearing may be made on either of the above forms; or
  • Challenge the "Notice" and request that the Commissioner assess the additional tax under section 26(b). In that situation, the "Notice" will be treated as the Notice of Intention to Assess required by G.L. c. 62C, Section 26(b).

    Request a pre-assessment conference in accordance with Section 26(b) within the thirty-day period set out in the "Notice." If the taxpayer and the Department can agree upon the correct tax liability without a Section 26(b) conference, then either the taxpayer's original return or that return, as mutually corrected, will serve as the taxpayer's self-assessment. If the taxpayer that has challenged the Department's correction fails to timely request a pre-assessment hearing or supply further information for consideration by the Department, the Department will assess the tax as proposed in the Notice

Documentation to Submit with Abatement/Amended Tax Return:
Massachusetts References: