241.1. Requirement to Make Estimated Income Tax Payments
Taxpayers are generally required to pay at least 80% of their annual income tax liability before the year's return is filed. This requirement is met through withholding and by making estimated tax payments on any income that is not subject to withholding.
Taxpayers who expect to owe more than $400 in Massachusetts tax on income not subject to withholding must pay estimated taxes. This requirement applies to individual residents and non‑residents, fiduciaries, clubs or any other entity subject to taxation under G.L. c. 62.
Income from which taxpayers may not have had taxes withheld includes but is not limited to the following:
- Salaries and wages from employment not subject to Massachusetts withholding;
- Unemployment compensation (if you did not elect voluntary Massachusetts withholding);
- Dividends and interest income;
- Gains from the sale or exchange of capital assets;
- Income from a trade, business, profession, partnership or S corporation;
- Income from an estate or trust;
- Certain Lottery or gambling winnings;
- Income from certain pensions or retirement savings plans;
- Rental income; and
- Illegal income.
241.2. Making Estimated Income Tax Payments
Taxpayers filing the following Massachusetts income tax forms should use Massachusetts Form 1-ES to make estimated tax payments, or may pay electronically online at MassTaxConnect.
- Form 1, Resident Income Tax Return
- Form 1-NR/PY, Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return
- Form MA NRCR, Nonresident Composite Return (must be filed electronically)
Note: Non-resident composite filers using Form MA NRCR, other than professional athletic teams, are required to file electronically. See TIR 16-9 for electronic mandate information.
Taxpayers filing the following Massachusetts income tax forms should use Massachusetts Form 2-ES to make estimated tax payments or may pay online. In fact, certain taxpayers are required to make payments by electronic means based on certain income thresholds. To make a payment online or to check the thresholds requiring electronic payment visit www.mass.gov/dor/masstaxconnect:
Form 2, Massachusetts Fiduciary Income Tax Return
Form 3M, Income Tax Return for Clubs and Other Organizations Not Engaged in Business for
Form M-990T-62, Exempt Trust and Unincorporated Association Income Tax Return
Taxpayers are urged to pay estimated taxes by electronic means to ensure fast and accurate processing.
Instead of making estimated payments, individual income taxpayers may request that their employers withhold additional amounts from their salaries to cover taxes on income that is not subject to withholding. Taxpayers may make such a request on the Massachusetts Employees Withholding Exemption Certificate, Form M-4.
Taxpayers may also apply any refund they are due on an annual return to their estimated account for the following year.
An interactive application is available through DOR’s website at MassTaxConnect that allows taxpayers to review their quarterly estimated payment histories at their convenience 24 hours a day.
241.3. When Payments Are Due
Calendar year taxpayers (January 1-December 31) must file the first payment voucher, Form 1-ES or Form 2-ES, on or before April 15 of the taxable year. The estimated tax may be paid in full with the first payment voucher or in four installments on or before April 15, June 15, September 15 of the taxable year and January 15 of the following year. A completed voucher must accompany each payment unless payment is made electronically on-line.
Fiscal year taxpayers must file their first payment voucher, Form 1-ES or Form 2-ES, or pay using electronic means at MassTaxConnect, on or before the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the fiscal year. The estimated tax may be paid in full with the first payment voucher or in four equal installments on or before the fifteenth day of the fourth, sixth and ninth months of the fiscal year and the fifteenth day of the following fiscal year. A completed voucher must accompany each payment that is not made electronically.
Taxpayers who must make estimated payments because of a change in their income or deductions after the due date of the first payment voucher should adhere to the following schedule:
|Date of Change in Income or Deductions
||Due Date of First Payment Voucher
||Remaining Payment Date(s)
Between April 1 and May 31
||September 15, January 15 of the following year
Between June 1 and August 31
||January 15 of the following year
|September 1 and thereafter
||January 15 of the following year
241.4. Underpayment of Estimated Income Taxes
Taxpayers who have not paid at least 80% of their annual Massachusetts tax liability through Massachusetts estimated payments and/or withholding are, with certain exceptions, liable for an addition to tax. The addition to tax or underpayment penalty is generally calculated at a rate based on the federal short term rate plus four percentage points per year on the amount of the underpayment for the period of that underpayment. Taxpayers who fail to meet the 80% requirement must complete and attach Massachusetts Form M-2210, Underpayment of Estimated Income Tax Return, to calculate the addition to tax. The 80% requirement is reduced to 66 2/3% for individuals who receive two‑thirds of their income from fishing or farming.
No underpayment penalty is imposed if the taxpayer qualifies for one of the following exceptions:
Exception 1 - The tax due after withholding and credits is $400 or less.
Exception 2 - The taxpayer is a qualified farmer or fisherman and is paying the full amount of tax due on or before the first day of the third month of the following year. To qualify, the taxpayer's gross income from farming or fishing must be two‑thirds of the annual gross income.
Exception 3 - The taxpayer was a Massachusetts resident and was not liable for taxes during the previous taxable year and the taxable year was 12 months.
Exception 4 - The taxpayer's estimated payments and withholding equal or exceed the total tax due for the previous taxable year and the taxable year was 12 months.
A waiver of the underpayment penalty is also available for one or more installments if:
1. The underpayment was by reason of casualty, disaster or unusual circumstance; or
2. The taxpayer retired after reaching age 62 or became disabled during the taxable year for which the payments were due or during the taxable year preceding the year for which the payments were due and the underpayment was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.
For more information on estimated income tax payments, contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Customer Service Bureau, P.O. Box 7010, Boston, MA 02204, (617) 887-MDOR, toll-free within Massachusetts at 1-800-392-6089 or visit our website.