The Voluntary Disclosure Program for the Settlement of Uncertain Issues is a pilot program designed to give business taxpayers the chance to voluntarily come forward and propose a settlement related to any uncertain tax issues, resulting in the waiver of all penalties associated with those issues. 

Uncertain Tax Issues

Generally, uncertain tax issues are those where a business taxpayer has no clear-cut guidance from case law and no written guidance from the Department of Revenue (DOR).

Eligibility

This Program is available to business taxpayers with a potential uncertain tax liability of at least $100,000 (not including interest and penalties).  However, if a taxpayer has been notified of an audit or is currently being audited, the tax issues related to the audit would not be eligible. 

How to Get Started

A taxpayer, or authorized representative, may get the process started by submitting a letter anonymously to the Department, to the address below, describing the uncertain tax issue (s) and requesting participation in the Program. See a description of the program for details of information required. 

Decision

DOR will review the information submitted and send a notification generally within 30 days indicating whether the matter has been accepted into the Program. If accepted, the taxpayer has 45 days to notify the DOR in writing whether it wishes to proceed with the Program.  If so, the taxpayer’s identity must be disclosed at this time.

Application Process

In addition to accepting the opportunity to move forward with the Program, the taxpayer will also provide information and documentation related to the uncertain tax issues to DOR within the 45 days. See AP 637 for a detailed list of what is required. 

Settlement Process

The taxpayer will include a settlement proposal for the tax periods in question (and may also include a proposal for future tax periods) as part of its acceptance letter.  While not mandatory, a conference may be requested by the taxpayer or DOR and will take place in person or by telephone.  After completing the review of the taxpayer’s request, DOR will prepare a settlement recommendation.  The taxpayer will be notified of the decision and will be given the opportunity to discuss the case with DOR and negotiate a final settlement.  

If settlement is not reached, the case will be closed and a letter will be issued to the taxpayer to that effect.  If the taxpayer’s returns are audited for the tax periods at issue and tax is assessed for the uncertain tax issues disclosed through the Program, any penalties related to the uncertain tax issues will be waived, provided the taxpayer acted in good faith.

This is an overview of the Voluntary Disclosure Program for the Settlement of Uncertain Tax Issues, see AP 637 for program details. 

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Voluntary Disclosure Unit
200 Arlington Street - Room 4300
Chelsea, MA 02150