For Immediate Release - January 20, 2017

State Tax Filing Season Begins on January 23

New E-File Options Available

(Boston, MA) The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) announced today that the state tax filing season opens on Monday, January 23, and the deadline to file is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

As the Commonwealth’s residents start to focus on getting ready for tax season by organizing and collecting documents, many resources including free e-file options, where to go for help, and frequently asked questions are available on the Department’s website mass.gov/efile.

“The Department of Revenue encourages all Massachusetts residents to e-file their tax returns. Not only is it the quickest way to get your refund, it’s the safest and most accurate method to file your state and federal tax return,” said Michael J. Heffernan, Commissioner of Revenue. “Protecting taxpayers from refund fraud is our top priority and we have deployed our new revenue system to ensure that fraudulent refunds are detected and that legitimate refunds are released as soon as possible.”

E-File & Free File Options
To expand the free-filing options for Massachusetts residents, the Bay State has joined the Free File Alliance, a nonprofit partnership between tax software companies, the IRS, and state revenue departments, to help taxpayers securely prepare and file both federal and state tax returns online using approved software. The Free File Alliance options replace the former WebFile for Income program.

Joining the Free File Alliance, gives 2.35 million Massachusetts residents the opportunity to file their state and federal returns for free while enhancing fraud protection. The Free File Alliance offers do include income eligibility requirements; additional information about other e-filing options* is available at mass.gov/efile.

Protecting Taxpayers from ID-Theft-Related Refund Fraud 
Selecting e-file and direct deposit for refunds is the fastest and safest way to file an accurate state income tax return. DOR estimates that 75% of online returns will continue to be processed in two to three days, and anticipates issuing most refunds in less than two weeks from the time returns are received. Refund turnaround times for e-filed returns could take up to four to six weeks if additional information is needed to verify a filer’s identity to protect against refund fraud. If taxpayers choose to file by paper, refunds could take up to eight to 10 weeks to process.

Once your tax return has been filed, DOR’s 24/7 Where’s My Refund? application is the best resource to find out when you can expect to receive your refund.

Earned Income Tax Credit Increased this Year
The Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was increased by 50 percent by a law signed by Governor Charlie Baker in August 2015. This is the first year the increased rate, 23% of the federal EITC, is available for eligible working families to claim. Extending the maximum state credit from $951 to $1,442 means nearly $500 in additional support for those who qualify.

Help for Taxpayers
Taxpayer help is always available on DOR’s website, with topics ranging from how to find a tax preparer to tax law changes. The IRS offers free tax help for taxpayers who qualify with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs; locations are available across Massachusetts.

* Please note that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue does not endorse or recommend any particular tax preparation software.