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Hot topics at DOR

Follow news from DOR that’s both current and important to Massachusetts taxpayers and tax practitioners. For prior year hot topics, visit the Related section of this page.

Updated: June 14, 2021

Table of Contents

6/14/21: New FAQs on penalty relief – FAQs now date stamped

Our FAQ page has been updated with new FAQs about penalties related to unemployment income and the impact of extended COVID-19 relief on vendors and operators required to make advance payments. Also, by request, we have started adding dates to new or updated FAQs, making it easier to identify what’s new on the FAQ page. Check back often for updates!

6/1/21 DOR completes review of returns filed before unemployment deduction legislation passed

DOR has reviewed all 2020 individual income tax returns filed on or before April 9 that included unemployment income. 

  • Adjustments have been made and refunds have been issued for returns that we determined were eligible for a refund.  If you believe you received a refund in error, please contact us at (617) 887-6367 before taking any action.  Note that simply not cashing the check will not resolve the problem.
  • Today we will begin sending notices to those we determined were not eligible for the Massachusetts unemployment deduction based on their income.   Review the eligibility rules and deduction calculation using our Unemployment Deduction Worksheet.  Anyone who receives a notice,  but believes they are in fact eligible for a deduction, is asked to contact DOR at (617) 887-6367. 
  • Learn more about the Massachusetts Unemployment Income Deduction on our FAQ page

5/28/21 E-mail acknowledgements sent in error

This past weekend, during the conversion from one e-mail system to another, automated e-mail acknowledgements were erroneously sent in response to a group of outdated inquiries. The automated response acknowledged receipt of the email and promised a response from one of our staff. Although the emails were sent in error, they were in fact from DOR. Recipients do not need to report them or take any other action. We apologize for this error and any concern it may have caused.    

5/21/21 New webpage highlights differences between Massachusetts and federal tax law

As many of you know, Massachusetts generally follows the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as of January 1, 2005 for personal income tax. When the federal tax law changes, taxpayers may need to adjust federal amounts when filing their Massachusetts return. We’ve recently posted a new webpage that will help you identify many of the common differences between Massachusetts and federal tax law. Comments and suggested additions to the page may be sent to taxprofeedback@dor.state.ma.us.

4/2/21: Stay up to date with new information on PPP loans and unemployment income

Catch up on the impact of new legislation in Massachusetts on PPP loan forgiveness income and unemployment income for Massachusetts taxpayers by reviewing the FAQs. We will add additional FAQs based on questions we receive from taxpayers or tax practitioners.

3/30/21: Pending legislation related to unemployment income exemption

Please be advised that pending legislation in Massachusetts may exempt a portion of unemployment for qualifying taxpayers. Taxpayers with unemployment income should consider waiting until the legislation is acted on before filing their returns

3/22/21: FAQs for sales/use, meals, marijuana retail taxes and room occupancy excise filers

A provision in the FY21 Budget changed the due date for sales/use tax, meals tax, marijuana retail taxes and room occupancy excise tax returns. In addition, vendors and operators with a tax or excise liability over a certain threshold in the prior year will soon be required to make an advance payment before filing their tax return. Both changes apply to tax periods ending after April 1, 2021. Find out more on our updated FAQ page. These FAQs will be updated so please keep checking back. 

3/19/21: Individual Income Tax Returns and Payments Now Due May 17, 2021

The deadline has been extended for both filing individual income tax returns and making payments from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021.

What you need to know:

  • The income tax filing and payment deadline has been moved to May 17, 2021 for individuals only. The date change does not affect taxpayers other than individuals filing personal income tax returns and making payments.
  • The extension date of October 15 for personal income tax filing is unchanged.
  • Estimated payments due April 15 are not impacted by the date change and remain due on April 15.
  • Taxpayers who have already filed their personal income tax returns, but have not made the associated payment, will have until May 17 to make the payment.

For more information, please review the Technical Information Release and the press release.

3/10/21: Paycheck Protection Loans and other Filing Season Topics

We’ve launched a special filing season FAQ page with common questions about PPP loan forgiveness and taxability of Coronavirus Relief Fund Grants. The FAQs will be updated as needed and more topics may be added so please keep checking back. 

3/5/21: Delay in Small Number of E-file Acknowledgements

On February 20, approximately 780 electronic returns were processed without an acknowledgement being sent out. This was an issue with DOR’s system, not any particular software vendor, and the returns were processed normally with refunds being issued if no additional review was required. If you did not receive an acknowledgement for a return filed around February 20, you can call our contact center at 617-887-6367 to verify that the return was received. Note that we expect the delayed acknowledgements to be issued shortly. 

2/10/21: New EITC Look-back Rule

Under the federal COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, taxpayers can use their 2019 earned income to calculate their 2020 EITC if their 2019 earned income was more than their 2020 earned income. Massachusetts will allow this alternate calculation. For 2020, the MA EITC is 30% of the federal EITC whether the taxpayer used 2019 or 2020 income to calculate it. Electronic filing is the fastest way to get your refund and filers using their 2019 earned income amounts are still eligible to file electronically.

Visit DOR's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) page for more information.  

1/28/21: Form 1099G - Unemployment Compensation – How to Report Fraud

As you know, anyone who received unemployment benefits or pandemic unemployment benefits from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during 2020 will receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, showing the amount of unemployed compensation received. This income is taxable and must be reported on the 2020 Massachusetts Individual Income Tax return Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY. If a taxpayer receives a Form 1099-G reporting unemployment benefits but did NOT receive unemployment benefits, someone may have used their identity to falsely claim unemployment benefits.  Ask them to notify the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) by filing a fraud report online or call the DUA customer service department at 877-626-6800. Obviously, this income should not be reported on their Massachusetts Individual Income Tax return. After DUA reviews the fraud report, they will send a corrected Form 1099-G. Keep a copy of all Forms 1099-G with the taxpayer’s 2020 tax records and be aware that DOR may ask for an explanation of why the amount shown on the Form 1099-G was not reported on the return. 

Contact

Phone

Tax Department (617) 887-6367
Toll-free in Massachusetts (800) 392-6089

9 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday through Friday

Last updated: April 2, 2021
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