605.1. Amending Tax Returns
Taxpayers often discover after filing a return that information was omitted or a mistake was made. To adjust information reported on a prior return, a taxpayer must file an amended return with the Department of Revenue (DOR).1 An amended return must be filed to increase previously reported tax; to decrease previously reported tax; to report an increase to tax resulting from a federal or state change; to report a decrease in tax resulting from a federal or state change and to make amendments that have no net effect on tax. See 830 CMR 62C.26.2; TIR 16-13. An amended return should also be filed if a taxpayer failed to include necessary information with the original return, e.g., a properly completed Schedule HC, a Form W-2 or a Form 1099.
Most taxpayers are required to amend their returns electronically using MassTaxConnect (MTC) and/or third-party software. See TIR 16-9. Personal income taxpayers, corporations filing a combined report and certain other C and S corporations are encouraged to file amended returns electronically if the return is prepared through third-party software and e-file is available. Taxpayers filing amended returns on paper will manually complete the same tax form as used for the original or prior amended return, whichever is filed later, and check the box indicating whether the return is either an amended return or a federal/state change (as applicable). Please note: the amended return must include all forms and schedules included with the original return to be processed correctly. Do not include any additional documents, like a copy of the original return or an application for abatement.
Taxpayers must pay any tax due on an amended return at the time of filing or they will be subject to applicable interest and penalties. Interest on any refunds will be subject to the provisions of G.L. c. 62C, § 40.
- Purchasers seeking a refund of sales/use tax under power of attorney from a vendor should follow the procedures in TIR 16-12.
605.2. Amended Returns are Subject to DOR Review
Regardless of the manner of filing, an amended return, in general, will be processed as an amended self-assessment under G.L. c. 62C, subject to potential DOR audit review. See 830 CMR 62C.26.2. An amended return showing a reduction in tax liability must be filed within the time limits specified for abatements of tax as applicable in G.L. c. 62C, §§ 30 (federal change), 30A (state change) and/or 37 (for abatement generally) in order to be processed. Any overpayments and refunds resulting from an amended return are subject to statutory limitations (including those contained in G.L. c. 62C, §§ 30, 30A, 36, 37, and 40) and refunds are subject to any allowable offset or intercept.
In certain instances an amended return that shows a reduction of tax may be treated by DOR as an Application for Abatement to protect the abatement and appeal rights of the taxpayer and to allow DOR an adequate opportunity to review the changes. For additional information on the abatement process, see AP 627, Applications for Abatement.
The processing of an amended return by DOR does not indicate approval of the changes reported on the amended return. As with an original return, an amended return may be selected for review by DOR during processing or at a later time. All amended returns, including where refunds have been issued, remain subject to additional review in accordance with statutory time limitations (including those contained in G.L. c. 62C, §§ 26, 29, 30, 30A, 36, 37, and 40). In the event of an erroneous refund, the provisions of G.L. c. 62C, § 36A will apply. See 830 CMR 62C.26.2; TIR 16-13.
605.3. Commissioner Deems an Amended Return to be an Application for Abatement
Where DOR receives an amended return and deems the amended return to be an abatement application, DOR will provide the taxpayer with notice of such treatment. The notice will provide instructions, including directions regarding hearing rights, and will ask for a response and any necessary documentation. The taxpayer’s amended return showing a reduction of a prior self-assessment will be treated as an application for abatement in the amount indicated and, for the protection of the taxpayer’s rights, the taxpayer will be deemed to have consented to extend the statute of limitations contained in G.L. c. 58A, § 6 when the taxpayer filed its amended return. A taxpayer may withdraw such consent at any time by contacting the DOR in writing. See 830 CMR 62C.26.2, TIR 16-11, and AP 627 for more information.
605.4. Amended Return to Adjust a Credit
A taxpayer seeking to adjust the amount of Massachusetts credit claimed on a prior return should also file an amended return reporting the change. Any overpayments and refunds resulting from a credit adjustment are likewise subject to statutory limitations (including those contained in G.L. c. 62C, §§ 30, 30A, 36, 37, and 40) and refunds are subject to any allowable offset or intercept. These amended returns are also subject to further DOR review, as stated in 605.2 above.
If any portion of the credit amount being reduced was previously refunded to the taxpayer, the taxpayer must repay that amount with the filing of the amended return. The most common example of this situation is a federal change reducing the amount of Massachusetts Earned Income Credit. See, DD 17-3 for more information.
For more information on amending tax returns, visit DOR's website. You may also write or call the following:
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Customer Contact Center
P.O. Box 7010
Boston, MA 02204
(617) 887-MDOR or toll‑free within Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089.