For Immediate Release - May 26, 2016

Massachusetts Tax Amnesty Ends May 31

Now is the Time to Catch Up on Back Taxes Before Tough Penalties Kick In

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) reminds the Commonwealth’s businesses and residents that the 2016 Tax Amnesty Program ends Tuesday, May 31. The Department urges those with unpaid taxes and past due returns to file an amnesty return online before the deadline to avoid costly penalties. The last time a similar amnesty program was offered was in 2002 and there are no plans for offering this opportunity anytime in the near future.

“Thousands of Massachusetts individuals and businesses have taken advantage of the amnesty program to get current and pay their back taxes, it’s the right thing to do,” said Revenue Commissioner, Michael J. Heffernan. “DOR’s new computer system will be online soon and will be even more efficient in tracking nonfilers who will may face double the amount of tax due and stiff penalties.”

Amnesty Highlights:

  • File delinquent returns or amend prior tax filings all online at mass.gov/TaxAmnesty. DOR will calculate the interest for each tax period and provide the total amnesty balance due. Filers will submit an electronic payment for the balance due with the amnesty.
  • Pay only the tax and interest owed. Tax penalties and any interest due on those penalties will be waived.
  • Non-filers may benefit from a three-year limited look-back period.

Consequences After MA Tax Amnesty 2016
DOR’s new state-of-the-art integrated tax system will make it easier to identify those who have not complied with Massachusetts tax laws. Consequences and enforcement actions might include: 

  • Assessment of double the amount of tax due and other penalties.
  • Loss of the limited look-back period for unfiled returns. There is no statute of limitations on unfiled returns.
  • Risk a six-year audit period with additional penalties on a previously filed return if certain underreporting criteria are identified.
  • Face escalating enforcement efforts, including potential criminal prosecution.

Eligibility
Amnesty is available to any individual or business who has not currently registered with the Department of Revenue, or who has not filed a tax return that was due on or before December 31, 2015, or who has failed to report the proper tax due on a previously filed return for any tax return due on or before December 31, 2015.

Eligible Tax Types
All tax types administered by DOR are included, with the exception of the preferred provider excise, the deeds excise, abandoned bottle deposits, and other taxes where DOR does not have the sole authority to waive penalties, such as taxes covered under the International Fuels Tax Agreement.

For additional information about the 2016 Tax Amnesty Program, including eligibility, the limited look-back period, and a full list of exceptions and limitations, see mass.gov/TaxAmnesty.