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COVID-19 Response from DOR

DOR will report on changes, including tax relief measures, resulting from the ongoing pandemic.

Updated: March 1, 2021

Table of Contents

Overview

Since the onset of COVID-19, various tax relief measures for individuals and businesses impacted by the ongoing pandemic have been implemented. The Department of Revenue (DOR) will continue to communicate current changes on this page and through the DOR Legal Library.

Legal guidance

Filing and payment due date extensions

Extensions for filing returns and making payments for room occupancy excise and sales and use taxes (including meals tax and local option)

Due dates of March 20, 2020 – April 30, 2021 for filing returns and making payments are extended to May 20, 2021. For sales and use taxes (including meals tax and local option) and room occupancy excise (including local option), this applies to vendors or property operators with cumulative liability under $150,000 in the 12-month period ending February 29, 2020. The extended due date does not apply to intermediaries.

Penalty Waiver for those with over $150,000 of cumulative liability

For vendors or property operators and intermediaries with cumulative liability for meals taxes or room occupancy excise of $150,000 or more during the 12-month period ending February 29, 2020, penalties will be waived for late filing and late payment with respect to returns and payments due March 2020 through April 2021. Interest will continue to accrue.

Tax or debt resolutions

DOR is providing relief through several compliance actions outlined below designed to ease the burden on people facing tax issues. Additionally, the vast majority of payment agreements will not be canceled for missing payments due to the COVID emergency. DOR continues to accept hardship applications. Learn more about hardship status.

DOR’s Office of Appeals

Taxpayers filing a new appeal, whether pre-assessment or post-assessment, are encouraged to use MassTaxConnect. Choose “file an appeal” after logging in. At this time, Appeals Officers continue to work their cases. Although the Office of Appeals is not currently holding in-person conferences with taxpayers, conferences may be held over the telephone. To the extent they can, taxpayers are encouraged to promptly respond to any outstanding requests for information from the Office of Appeals. Responses through MassTaxConnect or secure e-mail are recommended. If the documents requested are not available at this time, taxpayers are encouraged to contact Appeals Officers to request additional time to respond. 

Petitions to Appellate Tax Board if DOR Issues an Abatement Denial Notice, and Taxpayers Continue to Disagree with DOR

If DOR issues an abatement denial notice (Notice of Abatement Determination), taxpayers who disagree may file a petition with the Appellate Tax Board (ATB), an entity separate and independent from DOR. For more information, please see the ATB website. A petition to the ATB must be in writing and a copy of the petition must be sent to DOR. Sending a copy to DOR helps ensure that collection action is put on hold in a timely manner. You may e-mail your DOR copy to DORCopiesofATBPetitionsFiled@dor.state.ma.us, however, this does not satisfy your requirement to file your appeal with the Appellate Tax Board. With limited or no walk-in service available for the ATB or DOR, sending petitions to the Appellate Tax Board by mail is recommended. The Notice of Abatement Determination has mailing addresses for both the ATB and DOR’s Litigation Bureau and we’ve included them below:

Appellate Tax Board
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
Commissioner of Revenue
Litigation Bureau
PO Box 9565
Boston, MA 02114-9565


Litigation

Although Litigation Bureau attorneys are not meeting with taxpayers or their representatives in face-to-face meetings, they continue to work to resolve cases and are available to discuss their cases by email and by scheduled telephone calls. The Litigation Bureau also suggests that you consult the websites of the courts and the Appellate Tax Board concerning their respective operations.  All orders issued by the trial and appellate courts in response to the pandemic, and information concerning the  United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, can be found online.

Audit

The Department is conducting field audits of businesses by appointment on a limited basis, although most audits are being done by mail. Taxpayers are encouraged to exchange information with DOR electronically and are urged to contact the auditor directly to discuss available options. Taxpayers who are unable to obtain the needed documentation due to current circumstances are asked to contact the auditor by e-mail as soon as possible to discuss options for a postponement. Contact information is included in any correspondence from an auditor, or taxpayers can call the Contact Center at 617-887-6367 for help.

Certificates of Good Standing

If you need a certificate of good standing for a small business loan or for any other reason, see Request a Certificate of Good Standing-Tax Compliance or a Corporate Tax Lien Waiver. If you are missing recent tax returns specifically due to recent COVID-related due date extensions, you may not be able to obtain a certificate online. Here are 3 possible alternative options for obtaining a certificate:

  1. Send us a message through your MassTaxConnect account and let us know that you need a Certificate of Good Standing and why you need it.
  2. Print the paper application and fax it to us at 617-660-3611. Write coronavirus across the top.
  3. Call the Certificate Unit staff at 617-887-6400.

Support tools for taxpayers

Taxpayers can take advantage of some of the support tools and measures offered:

Communicating with DOR

Avoid pandemic-related paper delays and choose an electronic option for communicating with us. The essential staff currently in the office may not have the chance to open correspondence promptly. In the event mail service is delayed, you can ensure that returns, payments, and refunds are received if you submit them or receive them by electronic means.

To make tax payments, check on your refund, and more, visit MassTaxConnect.

If DOR requests information from you, please respond by uploading the information through MassTaxConnect if that option is offered in the notice you receive. It’s fast, it’s easy and no account is required. You can always upload documents through MassTaxConnect by attaching them to a message sent through your account.   

If you are not registered with MassTaxConnect, start by choosing “Sign up” under the Log in button and follow the prompts. You’ll find links at the bottom of the MassTaxConnect homepage for both FAQs and how-to videos about MassTaxConnect. If you need help submitting your documents, call us at (617) 887-6367.

You can find more contact information for DOR on the website.

Refunds

We highly recommend that taxpayers who are owed a refund file as soon as possible. Taxpayers should file electronically and request direct deposit for the quickest way to get a refund.

Important updates

To get all important updates from DOR, just sign up with your email.

Offices and counters

All DOR tax (including Estate Tax walk-in service) and child support walk-in centers are currently closed until further notice. If you need assistance, please visit the DOR and CSE websites.

Division of Local Services

Local officials, and those working on behalf of municipalities, should consult with local counsel for legal advice. Local officials with urgent municipal finance and regulatory compliance questions should email COVID19DLS@dor.state.ma.us. Before submitting questions, please check the DLS website and review our DLS Alerts notifications for the latest information.

Child Support Enforcement

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, child support staff are available to meet with you remotely rather than in person. If you need child support assistance, you can: 

  •  Call CSE with questions at (617) 660-1234 or (800) 332-2733. 
  • You can send us a secure email, see specific information about your case, or update your information by visiting CSE’s website and clicking on “Login to your Case Manager account” under the Online section. (If you don’t already have an account, you will be able to create one.)
  • Call our Interactive Voice Response Phone System at (800) 332-2733 and follow the prompts to get automated information that is available 24/7.
  • Visit  CSE’s website

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I still get my child support payments?  

Yes. Child support payments are still being processed. There may be some delay if you are still receiving paper checks by mail.  We recommend that you sign up for direct deposit or a debit card whenever possible. You can do this by calling (617) 660-1234 or (800) 332-2733 or online using the Case Manager

What if my financial situation changed and I am unable to afford my child support?  

Contact us at (617) 660-1234 or (800) 332-2733 or email. To email us, please choose the “Email us” link in the Contact Us section. We will work together with you to determine if your child support order is no longer consistent with the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines and if it isn’t, assist you with returning to court. 

Can DOR still help me in establishing a child support order? 

Yes, DOR and the Probate and Family Court still hold block time sessions. DOR will send instructions explaining how to appear by video or telephone. We also hold several Case Conferencing sessions per week. If you receive notice of a Case Conferencing session, you are required to appear the same as a hearing. If you are unable to join either a hearing or Case Conference session, please call the number provided on the notice or the CSE Customer Service Bureau at (800) 332-2733

How can I apply for services?  

Go to our website for information on how to apply online or by mail.  

How can I make a payment?  

Go to our website for information on how to make payments by mail, online or over the phone. 

Federal Stimulus Payments

Visit Child Support FAQs About the intercept of Economic Impact Payments to learn more.

For the latest CSE and COVID-19 updates, please visit CSE’s website. Daily Alerts and Notices will be highlighted at the top of the page.

Last updated: February 11, 2021
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