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Administrative Procedure

Administrative Procedure AP 615: Public Written Statements

Date: 01/31/2018
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Administrative

Administrative Procedures

615.1. In General.

615.2. Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMRs).

615.3. Technical Information Releases (TIRs).

615.4. Directives (DDs).

615.5. Letter Rulings (LRs).

615.6. Informational Guideline Releases (IGRs), Local Finance Opinions.

615.7. Other Written Materials.

615.8. MASSTAX Guide.

615.9. Copies of Documents.

615.1. In General

            The Department of Revenue (DOR) provides general assistance in various tax matters. See AP 601. However, because taxpayers often need information of a more technical nature, DOR issues a number of Public Written Statements designed to communicate the Massachusetts tax laws and administer those laws consistently. These Public Written Statements include Regulations, Technical Information Releases, Directives and Letter Rulings, as well as Informational Guideline Releases and Local Finance Opinions (pertaining to local taxes and municipal finance). The following is a brief discussion of Public Written Statements issued by DOR and information on how to obtain copies of these documents or request that one be issued in response to a particular concern.

 

            Taxpayers and practitioners should pay special attention to the legal effect of each of these documents, i.e., whether they can be relied upon to support a position. For that information, readers are referred throughout this administrative procedure to regulation 830 CMR 62C.3.1, Department of Revenue Public Written Statements.

615.2. Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMRs)

            Regulations are issued in accordance with G.L. c. 30A to interpret the statutory provisions governing taxation and to communicate departmental procedures. See 830 CMR 62C.3.1(4) for more information.

 

            Taxpayers and practitioners may request that DOR adopt, amend or repeal a regulation by writing to DOR's Rulings and Regulations Bureau. Once DOR has given the required public notice of a proposed regulatory action, taxpayers and practitioners have the opportunity to submit written comments or attend a public hearing and offer suggestions for that regulation. A taxpayer or practitioner wishing to be notified of all proposed adoptions, amendments or repeals of regulations may request by mail, FAX, or e-mail to be put on an electronic mailing list with the Rulings and Regulations Bureau.

 

For more information, contact:

 

Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Rulings and Regulations Bureau

P.O. Box 9566

Boston, MA 02114-9566

FAX (617) 626-3290.

e-mail: rulesandregs@dor.state.ma.us

 

See also, AP 615.9 Copies of Documents.

615.3. Technical Information Releases (TIRs)

            Technical Information Releases are issued to communicate changes in federal or Massachusetts tax laws, DOR's response to those changes and to court decisions affecting federal or Massachusetts tax laws. TIRs will be issued within four months of a final court decision interpreting Massachusetts tax law except where the decision relates solely to jurisdiction, confirms a long standing DOR policy or affects the interest of the immediate taxpayer only. See 830 CMR 62C.3.1(5)(d) for the legal effect of TIRs.

 

            TIRs are generally issued in response to an area that DOR determines needs clarification; however, suggestions for future TIRs may be sent to the Rulings and Regulations Bureau.

615.4. Directives (DDs)

            Directives are released to clarify ambiguities, resolve inconsistencies or explain issues concerning DOR policy, practice or interpretation. See 830 CMR 62C.3.1(5)(d) for the legal effect of Directives.

 

            Ideas for Directives are generated within DOR after identification of an area needing clarification; however, suggestions for future Directives may be sent to the Rulings and Regulations Bureau.

615.5. Letter Rulings (LRs)

            A Letter Ruling is a statement issued at the discretion of DOR upon a taxpayer's request that interprets and applies Massachusetts tax laws to a specific set of facts. If DOR determines that a Letter Ruling request is actually a request for more general information, it may instead issue an Information Letter. An Information Letter merely calls attention to a well-established principle of tax law without applying it to a specific set of facts. See 830 CMR 62C.3.1(6)(i) for the legal effect of Letter Rulings.

 

            Letter Rulings must be requested according to the rules set forth in 830 CMR 62C.3.1(6)(e). The request must contain:

 

            Taxpayer's name, address, taxpayer identification number;

            A complete statement of the relevant facts, including the taxpayer’s view as to the correct result;

            Copies of all documents relevant to the requested Letter Ruling;

            A statement that the same issue is not currently under review by DOR;

            A power of attorney if the request is submitted by a third party; and

 Any other information requested in 830 CMR 62C.3.1(6)(g).

 

            When requesting the ruling a taxpayer or practitioner may request a conference to informally discuss the issues raised by the ruling request with DOR.

 

615.6. Informational Guideline Releases (IGRs), Local Finance Opinions

            Informational Guideline Releases are issued on matters pertaining to assessment, classification and administration of local taxes and municipal finance. See 830 CMR 62C.3.1(7)(c) for the legal effect of IGRs. Local Finance Opinions are issued to clarify DOR policy, practice, or interpretation pertaining to specific local tax or finance questions not addressed in another Public Written Statement. See 830 CMR 62C.3.1(8)(c) for the legal effect of Local Finance Opinions.

 

 To request a copy of a previously issued IGR or Local Finance Opinion, contact:

 

 Massachusetts Department of Revenue

 Division of Local Services

 Public Information Office

 P.O. Box 9569

 Boston, MA 02114-9569

 (617) 626-2300

 

 Recent IGRs and some Local Finance Opinions are available on the DOR’s Division of Local Services Gateway application.

615.7. Other Written Materials

            DOR will from time to time issue other written materials or publications to assist taxpayers in meeting tax obligations or to explain a special program or procedure. These materials are available on the Department’s website. Generally, these materials are informational only. They do not have the force of law, and are not to be confused with Public Written Statements as official statements of Department policy. They do not alter, supersede or otherwise affect any provision of the Massachusetts General Laws or other sources of law. For more information on materials that are not Public Written Statements, contact DOR's Communications Office, P.O. Box 9550, Boston, MA 02114-9550, (617) 626-4247.

615.8. MASSTAX Guide

            The MASSTAX Guide is published by the DOR and Thomson Reuters. A complete collection of Regulations, Technical Information Releases, Directives, and Letter Rulings is contained in the MASSTAX Guide. Any comments or suggestions may be sent to:

 

Massachusetts Department of Revenue

MASSTAX Guide

Rulings and Regulations Bureau

P.O. Box 9566

Boston, MA 02114-9566

e-mail: rulesandregs@dor.state.ma.us

615.9. Copies of Documents

 Regulations, Technical Information Releases, Directives and Letter Rulings ("Public Written Statements") are currently available on DOR's website. The Department's Public Written Statements are also available by e‑mail when issued. Anyone wishing to be included on the Rulings and Regulations Bureau e‑mail list should subscribe by e-mail at rulesandregs@dor.state.ma.us. . Individual copies of documents may be obtained via email or by sending a written request to Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Rulings and Regulations Bureau, PO Box 9566, Boston, MA 02114-9566.

 

            All of the Department's Public Written Statements are contained in the MASSTAX Guide. Many of these documents are also available in publications such as: The State Tax Reporter, Mass. Volume 2, published by Commerce Clearing House; and are also available through computer search systems such as LEXIS, WESTLAW and CD-ROM Libraries. Some or all of these services are available at libraries.

 

            Full sets of DOR regulations are available from the Massachusetts Secretary of State, State Bookstore, Room 116 State House, Boston, MA 02133 (617) 727-2834. A fee is charged to cover the cost of photocopying.

G.L. c. 30A

G.L. c. 62C, § 3

830 CMR 62C.3.1

830 CMR 62C.3.1(4)

830 CMR 62C.3.1(5)(d)

830 CMR 62C.3.1(6)(e)

830 CMR 62C.3.1(6)(g)

830 CMR 62C.3.1(6)(i)

830 CMR 62C.3.1(7)(c)

830 CMR 62C.3.1(8)(c)

AP 601, Assistance, Service, Obtaining Information

Referenced Sources:

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