Administrative Procedure

Administrative Procedure  AP 629: Appeals from Denial or Deemed Denial of Application for Abatement to the Appellate Tax Board

Date: 01/29/2024
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

A taxpayer whose application for abatement has been denied in whole or in part by the Commissioner of Revenue (“Commissioner”) under G.L. c. 62C, §§ 36 or 37, or deemed denied under G.L. c. 58A, § 6 (collectively, an “Abatement Denial”), may appeal the Abatement Denial to the Appellate Tax Board (“ATB” or “Board”) by filing a petition within 60 days of the date of the Commissioner's notice of abatement determination, provided by G.L. c. 62C, § 39, or within six months of a deemed denial, as provided by G.L. c. 58A, § 6See also 831 CMR 1.00. A taxpayer may appeal an Abatement Denial to the ATB regardless of whether the tax being contested has been paid.  See AP 627.2.  In most instances, filing a petition will stay collection of the tax, but interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balance.  See G.L. c. 62C, § 32.

The ATB is an administrative board within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and is independent of the Department of Revenue (DOR).  An ATB hearing is open to the public and is conducted in accordance with the ATB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.  See 831 CMR 1.00.  The ATB has jurisdiction to hear all appeals of Abatement Denials for taxes assessed under General Laws chapters 60A, 62 through 64K, 65A through 65C, and chapters 121A, § 10, and 138, § 21. The ATB has exclusive jurisdiction over Abatement Denials of any tax assessed under the foregoing statutes, except for the estate tax (G.L. c. 65C) and the inheritance tax (G.L. c. 65).

Taxpayers seeking an abatement or refund of tax from the Commissioner that is related to any tax or excise specified in G. L. c. 62C, § 2 may have their case heard under the small claims procedure of the ATB.  G.L. c. 58A, § 7B.  See 831 CMR 1.10.

For purposes of G.L. c. 58A, § 7B, the amount of any tax or excise in dispute does not include any interest, penalty, or addition to tax imposed by G.L. c. 62C or any statute referred to in G.L. c. 62C, § 2.  Decisions issued under the small claims procedure will not be reviewed by any court and may not be used as precedent in any other case.  

With respect to the estate tax, the ATB has exclusive jurisdiction to hear appeals of Abatement Denials regarding the value of an asset of the estate.  See G.L. c. 62C, § 39(a).  For all other matters arising under G.L. c. 65C (other than the valuation of an asset), a taxpayer may appeal an estate tax Abatement Denial either to the ATB or to the probate court having jurisdiction over the decedent’s estate.  A taxpayer must file an appeal to the ATB or probate court within sixty days of the date on the notice of abatement determination, or within six months from the date of a deemed denial.  The same procedures apply as described above for filing a petition with the ATB.  To initiate an appeal to the probate court, a taxpayer must file a complaint with the probate court and then serve a summons and complaint upon both the Commissioner and the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as provided by the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(d)(3).

Effective January 1, 1976, the inheritance tax (G.L. c. 65) was suspended for estates of decedents dying after that date, but remains in force and effect for the estates of decedents dying before that date.  See St. 1975, c. 684, § 97.  Inheritance tax issues are exempt from the mandatory abatement application/ATB appeal process.  See G.L. c. 62C, § 37.  The probate court, having jurisdiction over the estate of the decedent, is granted jurisdiction over all questions relative to the inheritance tax, except for questions regarding the valuation of an asset of the estate.  See G.L. c. 65, § 25.  The taxpayer may apply to the Commissioner for an abatement, in which case the decision of the Commissioner is final with no further right of appeal.  See G.L. c. 65, § 27A.  Within two months of the date of the Commissioner’s determination of the value of an asset of an estate, the taxpayer may request the Commissioner to alter the determination, and the Commissioner’s failure to act on such a request within two months is deemed a denial.  See G.L. c. 65, § 26.  The taxpayer may then appeal to the ATB which will appraise the value of the property and, in addition to notifying the taxpayer and the Commissioner, the ATB shall make a return thereof to the probate court.  The ATB’s factual findings are binding on the probate court, unless vitiated by error of law.  See Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Co. v. Commissioner of Revenue, 13 Mass. APP. Ct. 492 495 (Mass. App. Ct. 1982).  The taxpayer must file a written objection to the ATB’s return with the probate court, and serve the Commissioner and the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as provided by the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(d)(3).

For more information on filing a petition with the ATB, refer to the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Appellate Tax Board.  For information on appealing ATB decisions, refer to AP 630, Appeals from Appellate Tax Board Decisions.  Information about the ATB can be found at

For information about filing a complaint or an objection to the ATB’s value determination under G.L. c. 65, § 26, contact the equity section of the Registrar of Probate’s Office at the probate court that has jurisdiction over the estate of the decedent, or the original decedent in the case of inheritance taxes.  Contact information for probate courts can be found at:


G.L. c. 7, § 3B
G.L. c. 58A, §§ 1 et seq.
G.L. c. 60A
G.L. c. 62 through 64K
G.L. c. 65A through 65C
G.L. c. 121A, § 10
G.L. c. 138, § 21
831 CMR 1.00 et seq, Rules of Practice and Procedures of Appellate Tax Board
AP 627, Applications for Abatement
AP 630, Appeals from Appellate Tax Board Decisions
Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure

Table of Contents

Referenced Sources:

Help Us Improve  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.