DOR offers a wide range of free services to taxpayers - both individuals and businesses. Most taxpayers can now use MassTaxConnect to instantly access their accounts and perform many other functions online and at any time. Many questions can be answered easily online or over the phone. Forms and general information can be accessed through mass.gov 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Telephone assistance is available to taxpayers Monday through Friday during business hours.
Oral advice from DOR is offered as a public service and does not replace or supersede the Commonwealth's General Laws on taxation or DOR's official statements on policy. Taxpayers who have complicated questions, on issues driven by their own particular facts and circumstances, should seek out DOR's written position on the matter. DOR has addressed many legal issues in its public written guidance. All of this information is available online on our website. Taxpayers may also request further written advice from DOR. Please see "My tax situation is very complicated. How can I get guidance on my responsibilities from the Department?" for more information.
Where can I get help in figuring out my income tax situation?
Most taxpayers, and their Power of Attorney if given permission, can use MassTaxConnect to instantly access account information and perform many functions online and at any time. MassTaxConnect is often the fastest and best way to perform many tasks, like making payments, updating personal information, determining the status of a refund, disputing an assessment, and more. The mass.gov website is also a valuable resource for taxpayers as it contains extensive information on Massachusetts taxes. In addition, the website has many online forms and applications taxpayers may use in their dealings with the Department.
DOR's Contact Center also can assist taxpayers with all aspects of complying with the Commonwealth's personal income tax laws, including determining which forms and schedules to use; answering technical tax questions; locating a refund that is overdue; explaining estimated tax requirements; and responding to inquiries about bills, notices and abatement requests.
Please see the end of this section for a complete list of other resources available to taxpayers who have particularly complicated tax issues.
Does DOR have the right to ask for my Social Security number?
DOR has the right to require an individual to furnish his or her Social Security number on a state tax return under the authority of 42 USC § 405(c)(2)(C)(i) and MGL c. 62C, § 5. This information is mandatory. DOR uses Social Security numbers for taxpayer identification to assist in processing and keeping track of returns and in determining and collecting the proper amount of tax due. The taxpayer's identifying number is required to process a refund of overpaid taxes under MGL c. 62C, § 40. Although tax return information generally is confidential, DOR may disclose return information to other taxing authorities and those entities specified in MGL c. 62C, §§ 21, 22 or 23, and as otherwise authorized by law.
What if I need more time to file my individual income tax return or corporate tax return?
Generally, personal income tax returns are due to be filed on or before April 15 each year, and estate tax returns are due to be filed 9 months after the date of the decedent’s death, but taxpayers are automatically granted a 6-month extension to file if certain payment requirements are met. The full amount of tax due must be paid on the due date to avoid late pay penalties and interest. Many taxpayers will have already paid most if not all of their tax due through withholding and/or estimated payments, but a payment may also be made on the due date through MassTaxConnect or by using an extension voucher form.
All personal income taxpayers and filers of estate tax returns are automatically granted a 6-month extension of time to file their tax returns as long as they have paid at least 80% of the total amount of tax ultimately due on or before the date prescribed for payment of the tax. For personal income taxpayers the due date for payment of the tax is on or before April 15 each year. For estate tax, the payment due date is 9 months after the date of the decedent’s death, unless DOR has affirmatively granted a later date. The automatic extension will be considered void, if 80% of the total tax liability is not paid on or before the original due date of the return, and interest and penalties for late filing and late payment will apply from the original due date of the return. MGL c. 62C, § 33.
The 6-month extension will run from the original due date for filing the return, as specified under MGL c. 62C. This extension only stops the accrual of penalties, not interest. This extension does not extend the due date for payment of any tax due. Interest will accrue from the original due date for filing a return on all amounts not paid by the due date, and on any amount assessed as a penalty. MGL c. 62C, § 40.
Please note: For estate taxes a taxpayer may request an extension of time to pay the tax by filing a Form M-4678. A request may be granted for reasonable cause. Form M-4678 is available on MassTaxConnect or may be requested from the Estate Tax Unit by calling (617) 887-6930.
Personal income taxpayers and filers of estate tax returns needing an extension of time beyond the automatic 6-month extension should contact DOR’s Contact Center for assistance. For more detailed information, please see TIR 16-10, Simplified Extension Process for Individuals, Fiduciaries, Partnerships, and Estates.
All corporate excise taxpayers are also granted an extension of time to file their tax returns as long as certain payment requirements are met by or before the original due date of the return. Generally, to meet these payment requirements, corporate excise taxpayers must have paid the greater of (1) 50% of the total amount of tax ultimately due or (2) the minimum corporate excise by the original due date for filing the return. Consistent with current rules, taxpayers meeting these payment requirements are given a 7-month extension in the case of corporate excise taxpayers filing combined reports and a 6-month extension in the case of other corporate excise taxpayers (with the exception of taxpayers filing unrelated business income tax returns, who will be given an 8-month extension), please see TIR 15-15, New Streamlined Extensions Process For Corporate Excise Taxpayers.
Electronic corporate extension payments may be made online via MassTaxConnect. See TIR 21-9, Expansion of Certain Electronic Filing and Payment Requirements, for more information about electronic filing.
Corporate taxpayers should know, however, that all taxes are still due on the original due date and by law interest will accrue on any tax liability that is not paid by the original deadline.
I received income from which no state taxes were withheld. Do I need to pay estimated taxes?
Generally, estimated taxes are due if a taxpayer receives enough taxable income - from which there is no withholding - to result in an annual tax liability of more than $400. For instance, a taxpayer may receive income from freelance work or occasional rental income. To avoid penalty charges, taxes on this income must be paid in quarterly installments either electronically via MassTaxConnect or by using Estimated Income Tax Vouchers for individuals (Form 1-ES) or Estimated Income Tax Vouchers for fiduciaries and other unincorporated organizations (Form 2-ES).
Taxpayers may check their quarterly payment history at any time online by using MassTaxConnect or by calling DOR's main information lines at (617) 887-6367 or toll-free in Massachusetts at (800) 392-6089.
How can I find out what items are subject to the Massachusetts sales/use tax?
DOR's Sales and Use Tax Guide answers the questions most taxpayers and vendors have about the sales/use tax. The guide includes a list of taxable and nontaxable items.
I'm buying a motor vehicle, boat or recreational vehicle. What state taxes will I have to pay?
Any motor vehicle, boat, or recreational vehicle bought in Massachusetts - even if it is not going to be registered here - is subject to the Massachusetts sales tax. Any motor vehicle, boat, or recreational vehicle bought out-of-state for use in Massachusetts is subject to the use tax.
Motor vehicle sales or use tax is due by the 20th day of the month following the purchase, use, storage, or any other consumption within Massachusetts.
If you purchase a motor vehicle, boat, or recreational vehicle outside of Massachusetts and bring it into Massachusetts within 6 months for permanent use, a use tax is due by the 20th day of the following month when the vehicle entered Massachusetts.
For example, if you purchased a motor vehicle in New Hampshire on January 1st and brought it into Massachusetts on June 30, a use tax would be due by July 20th.
Keep in mind:
- Generally, if you paid a sales tax of 6.25% or more to another state, you would not have to pay a use tax to Massachusetts. See TIR 03-1 for more information.
- If you paid less than a 6.25% sales tax to another state and registered your vehicle or boat, you would owe the difference to Massachusetts if the vehicle was brought into Massachusetts for permanent use within 6 months.
The sales tax on motor vehicles, boats, and recreational vehicles purchased from a Massachusetts dealer is usually collected by the dealer at the time of sale.
For casual sales, motor vehicle sales tax should be paid directly to the registry of motor vehicles.
For casual sales, boat ,and recreational vehicle sales tax is due prior to registration or by the 20th day of the following month, whichever occurs earlier by completing an ST-6 electronically or by paper.
If the sales/use tax is not paid when due, interest and penalty charges will be added.
DOR staff can answer questions regarding motor vehicle, boat or recreational sales and use taxes. Please call (617) 887-6367 or toll-free in Massachusetts (800) 392-6089 during normal business hours.
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What are my tax responsibilities if I buy something in another state?
If you buy taxable items outside Massachusetts that are to be used, consumed, or stored here, on which you paid no sales tax or a sales tax less than the Massachusetts sales tax, you must pay a use tax directly to the Commonwealth. This includes any online purchases where no sales tax is charged. The use tax is levied at the same rate as the sales tax. (If you have proof that a sales tax was paid to the other state, you generally are entitled to a credit on the Massachusetts use tax.) For your convenience, you may report and pay any Massachusetts use tax due on your personal income tax return, Massachusetts Resident Tax Return (Form 1), or Form 1-NR/PY for part-year residents.
DOR's Guide to Sales and Use Tax, explains your responsibilities for paying use tax on out-of-state purchases.
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Who can answer my questions about Massachusetts estate tax?
DOR's Estate Tax Unit provides assistance to family members, executors and administrators in meeting estate tax obligations. Estate tax staff can answer questions on estate tax filing issues. The Estate Tax Unit can be reached at (617) 887-6930.
The Massachusetts estate tax was "decoupled" from the federal estate tax. As a result, Massachusetts estate tax returns are required when the gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts, computed using the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2000, exceeds $1,000,000 for deaths in 2006 and thereafter. Some estates will file a Massachusetts estate tax return but no federal estate tax return, and some estates will pay a Massachusetts estate tax but no federal estate tax. Any changes to federal estate tax after December 31, 2000, have no impact on the Massachusetts estate tax, unless specifically adopted by the Massachusetts legislature.
For more information visit Estate Tax or call (617) 887-6930.
I'm ready to start a new business. How do I find out what state taxes I will be responsible for?
DOR registers new employers and vendors to collect the necessary business or "trustee" taxes such as sales/use, meals, room occupancy and withholding. Employers and vendors must register their businesses through DOR's MassTaxConnect online application.
As of October 1, 2019, businesses with at least one Massachusetts employee are also required to remit PFML contributions on behalf of the employee to the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund. For more information visit Paid Family and Medical Leave exemption requests, registration, contributions, and payments.
DOR also offers Small Business Workshops designed to help all new or small businesses understand their filing requirements.
If you are starting a new corporation, you can obtain information from the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Corporation Division.
Please note: Employers must report newly hired employees and independent contractors to us within 14 days of their first day of work. Find out how you can report your new hires to us. See Report New Hires.
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Can DOR help me with my corporate excise returns?
Yes. Most corporate filers can access their account information online on MassTaxConnect and perform many functions, including filing a return. In addition, there is a wealth of information on corporate excise tax on the mass.gov website, including current forms, schedules and instructions. Finally, DOR has staff who can explain which forms business corporations should file as well as answer any questions about bills and/or payment requirements. To speak with a DOR representative, please call (617) 887-6367 or toll-free in Massachusetts (800) 392-6089 during normal business hours.
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I need a Certificate of Good Standing to sell my business. How do I get one?
DOR's Certificate Unit issues Certificates of Good Standing to corporations that need to establish that they are in good standing with the Commonwealth in regard to withholding, sales/use, meals and room occupancy taxes as well as the corporate excise. The fastest way to request a certificate is online through DOR's Certificate of Good Standing application on MassTaxConnect.
I think my organization is tax-exempt. How do I find out for sure?
The IRS maintains an online database that allows users to search for and review the status of exempt organizations at irs.gov. You may also call the IRS toll-free at (877) 829-5500 to verify that your organization is tax-exempt.
DOR's Exempt Organizations Unit answers questions about both tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations. This unit also issues the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (Form ST-2), and determines corporate excise exemptions. Staff members can explain all the necessary filing requirements for your organization. They can be reached at (617) 887-6367 or (800) 392-6089.
My tax situation is very complicated. How can I get guidance on my responsibilities from DOR?
DOR administers the laws governing all types of state taxes strictly according to the Massachusetts General Laws.
DOR's Rulings and Regulations Bureau issues public written statements that explain the Commonwealth's tax laws in detail, all of which are available at DOR's online Legal Library, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These documents are useful tools for taxpayers and tax practitioners who want to know DOR's official stand on an issue.
Unlike oral advice from the Department, which is advisory only, DOR's public written statements listed below are official statements of DOR policy. Many complicated questions commonly raised by taxpayers are answered in one of the following DOR public written statements:
Regulations are DOR's official interpretations of Massachusetts tax statutes. DOR issues regulations after public hearings in order to communicate clearly to taxpayers and their representatives DOR's position on a particular issue or specific provisions of the law. Industry groups, tax professionals and private individuals are encouraged to take part in the regulatory process.
Technical Information Releases (TIRs) explain changes in federal or Massachusetts tax laws. TIRs also communicate DOR's response to those law changes or to court decisions affecting federal or state tax laws or administration.
DOR Directives are concise statements of position, designed to clarify specific issues that are not covered in any regulation or other public written statement.
Letter RulingsPage updated: February 4, 2020 are responses to very specific technical questions, formally asked by taxpayers, that are not already covered in public written statements. To obtain guidance on submitting a request for a letter ruling, please call the Rulings and Regulations Bureau at (617) 626-3250 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Because a ruling is based on one taxpayer's specific facts and circumstances, DOR's response is binding only with respect to the taxpayer making the request, although others may consider rulings as nonbinding indications of the Department's position at the time the rulings are issued.)
To obtain a copy of any Regulation, TIR, Directive or Letter Ruling, visit DOR's Legal Library, or call the Rulings and Regulations Bureau at (617) 626-3250 or send an email to email@example.com.
DOR public written statements are also published in the MASSTAX Guide.
The MASSTAX Guide is available at the State House Library in Boston as well as at libraries throughout the Commonwealth. Sets of the MASSTAX Guide may be purchased through Thomson West by calling (800) 328-9352.