Guide  Guide to DOR: Taxpayer Bill of Rights

The purpose of this publication is to provide taxpayers with general information about Massachusetts tax laws and Department of Revenue (DOR) policies and procedures. It is not designed to address all questions which may arise nor to address complex issues in detail. Nothing contained herein supersedes, alters or otherwise changes any provision of the Massachusetts General Laws, DOR Regulations, DOR rulings or any other sources of the law. This guide is published annually in accordance with Section 6 of Chapter 14 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Date published: May 12, 2022

Taxpayer Bill of Rights

  • DOR must be objective, impartial, professional and ethical in its administration of the tax laws; any information that you as a taxpayer provide to DOR will be handled with the utmost confidentiality and professionalism.
  • DOR must maintain a Problem Resolution Office and an Office of Internal Affairs to safeguard taxpayers' rights.
  • DOR may not establish or enforce individual collection goals or collection quotas for its employees.
  • If you're unable to satisfy a tax liability in full, the Commissioner of Revenue may enter into a payment agreement if the Commissioner determines it'll facilitate the collection of the tax.
  • You may obtain representation at any point in your dealings with DOR.
  • You generally are entitled to appeal a DOR decision regarding your tax liability. DOR is obligated to make abatement decisions as promptly as possible and to issue any refunds resulting from abatement decisions within 30 days of such decisions.
  • You won't be subject to statutory penalties if you make a mistake because you relied on erroneous written advice from DOR representatives acting in their official capacities.


Paying tax shouldn’t be an overly confusing or intimidating experience. Understanding how the system works is every taxpayer's right.

You should know your rights. DOR believes that most people want to pay what they owe on time and in full. An important part of our job is to explain your responsibilities as taxpayers as clearly as possible.

We want you to know how the system works if you have a problem with your taxes or disagree with how much we say you owe in taxes. If you are well-informed, you can get faster results by knowing your options and exercising them quickly.

You also may need to know what will happen if you don’t pay any undisputed taxes that you owe. State law provides for an escalating series of sanctions - from interest and penalty charges to court actions - designed to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. These enforcement tools, carefully used, encourage voluntary compliance while assuring honest taxpayers that they aren’t shouldering an unfair burden.

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