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Important COVID-19 Response Update from DOR

DOR is actively monitoring the latest developments regarding COVID-19. Updated: September 25, 2020.

Table of Contents

Overview and Resources

Please be aware that DOR cannot answer any questions about the IRS or the stimulus package. DOR encourages you to visit the IRS website for the most up-to-date information.

Beware of Stimulus Check Scams: As the nation grapples with COVID-19, cybercriminals are on the prowl. Learn how to protect yourself, family, and personal information.

DOR is actively monitoring the latest developments and is following guidance from the Department of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Baker has issued orders that we are following, including the closing of physical workplaces and facilities to non-essential workers, customers and the public from March 24 until May 18. Learn more about Governor Bakers four-phase plan approach to reopen business.

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

Filing and payment extensions and penalty relief

DOR reminds MA taxpayers of Income Tax filing deadline of Wednesday, July 15, 2020
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) today reminded Massachusetts taxpayers that the deadline to file both federal and state income tax returns is Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the tax filing deadlines were extended 90 days from the original April 15, 2020 deadline. Learn more.

Personal Income Tax deadline extended
Personal income tax returns and payments due April 15, 2020 will now be due July 15, 2020. The July 15, 2020 due date applies to personal income tax, fiduciary income tax and trust income tax, and income tax due with a partnership composite return with an April 15, 2020 due date (personal income taxpayers). It also applies to an April 2020 tax installment owed by a personal income taxpayer with respect to deemed repatriated income. Taxpayers who have filed their 2019 returns, but have not yet made the associated payments, have until July 15, 2020 to make the payments. Due dates for estate tax returns and payments have not changed.

Scheduled income tax return payments
If circumstances change and you are unable to pay a scheduled tax return payment, there are options. If you scheduled a return payment through tax preparation software or through DOR's website without logging in, you may cancel the payment by calling the contact center at (617) 887-6367. If you have a MassTaxConnect account and scheduled a payment through your account, you can cancel the payment on your own through your account provided it’s done at least two days prior to the scheduled payment date. If you cancel a payment at this time, it must be paid by the extended deadline of July 15, 2020. We recommend an electronic payment through MassTaxConnect, but it can be made on paper with Form PV. We do not recommend using an online banking transaction as the information necessary to identify your payment, and apply it properly, will not be included.

Estimated income and fiduciary tax payment deadlines extended
The first and second installments of estimated tax, due April 15, 2020 and June 15, 2020, will now be due July 15, 2020.

Extension of time to file and pay personal income tax
There will be an automatic extension to October 15, 2020 for personal income tax as long as the amount due for a valid personal income tax extension is paid by July 15, 2020.

Corporate extensions
Corporate excise taxpayers [all Ch 63 taxpayers] must pay the amount required on the April 15, 2020 due date for an automatic six or seven-month extension. 

Corporate Excise Tax penalties waived
Penalties for late-file and late-pay for corporate excise (including financial institution and insurance premiums excise) returns and payments with an original due date of April 15, 2020 will be waived if filed and made by July 15, 2020. This includes all corporate excise returns and payments with an original due date of April 15, 2020, including those of certain S corporations, banks, insurance companies and non-profits that file on a fiscal year basis.

Paid Family and Medical Leave and Withholding Tax deadlines
Deadlines for submitting returns and payments for Paid Family and Medical Leave and Withholding Tax are unchanged. All original schedule dates apply.

Notarization for DOR forms
Pursuant to “An Act Providing for Virtual Notarization to Address Challenges Related to COVID-19,” Chapter 71 of the Acts of 2020, enacted April 23, 2020, a notary public may perform an acknowledgement, affirmation or other notarial act using electronic video conferencing in real time subject to certain conditions. This new procedure may be used to fulfill the notarization requirement on all DOR forms that require a notarial act. In light of this new legislation, DOR’s prior notice suspending the notarization requirement for the 2020 Form TSA and 2020 Form BCTSA, is no longer applicable.

Please see the next section below for further information on extensions.

Additional filing and payment due dates extended for certain taxpayers

May 20, 2021:
Deadline for Filing Returns and Making Payments for Certain Vendors Collecting Room Occupancy Excise and Sales and Use Taxes

The deadline for filing returns and making payments otherwise due during the periods beginning March 20, 2020 through April 30, 2021 has now been extended to May 20, 2021. The Department previously extended the deadline to June 20, 2020, and again to September 20, 2020.

Meals, Sales and Use Tax Return Filing and Payment Deadline Extended

As with the prior announcements, the new due date for sales and use tax (including sales tax on meals) returns and payments applies to vendors with cumulative liability for sales and use tax (including local option) under $150,000 in the 12-month period ending February 29, 2020. The extended due date applies to sales, use and meals taxes collected by eligible vendors in the period beginning February 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.

Penalty Waiver for Other Meals Tax Vendors

For vendors with cumulative liability for meals taxes 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 returns. Interest will continue to accrue.

Room Occupancy Excise Return Filing and Payment Deadline Extended for Operators

As with the prior announcements, the new due date for room occupancy returns and payments applies to operators with cumulative liability for room occupancy excise under $150,000 for the 12-month period ending February 29, 2020. The extended due date applies to room occupancy excise (including local option) collected by operators in the period beginning February 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021. The extended due date does not apply to intermediaries.

Penalty Waiver for Other Room Occupancy Vendors

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

Tax or debt resolutions

DOR is providing relief on a number of compliance actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues. Additionally, we are assisting taxpayers by not cancelling payment agreements for missing payments. We continue to accept Hardship applications.

Appeals

Taxpayers filing a new appeal, whether pre-assessment or post-assessment, are encouraged to use MassTaxConnect. Choose “file a dispute” 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. 

If DOR issues an abatement denial notice (Notice of Abatement Determination), taxpayers who disagree may appeal to the Appellate Tax Board (ATB). Appeals to the ATB must be in writing and a copy of the appeal must be sent to DOR. Sending a copy to DOR helps ensure that collection action is put on hold in a timely manner. With limited or no walk-in service available for the ATB or DOR, sending appeals 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

 

Audit

The Department is not currently conducting in-person interviews with taxpayers but is continuing to perform audits by correspondence.  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 on any correspondence from an auditor, or taxpayers can call the Contact Center at 617-887-6367 for help.

Collections

Highlights of collections relief include:

  • New requests to the RMV to suspend drivers’ licenses and auto registrations for non-payment of taxes have been temporarily suspended. We are not releasing existing license suspensions unless someone is approved for Hardship.
  • The issuance of bank and wage levies has been temporarily suspended. The issuance of levies on employers for refusing to honor a levy on an employee has been temporarily suspended.
  • Liens on real and/or personal property are temporarily suspended except as needed for final review of a collection case or a payment agreement.

DOR will continue to intercept state tax refunds for child support, outstanding Massachusetts tax liabilities and other debts owed to the Commonwealth.  Additionally, DOR will continue to intercept lottery wins, insurance payments, abandoned property, and IRS refunds. Stimulus payments will only be intercepted for outstanding child support.  Representatives are available to answer questions through the Collections Hotline at 617-887-6400.

Certificates of Good Standing
If you need a certificate of good standing for a small business loan or  for any other reason, please follow the instructions on the information page. If you are missing recent tax returns specifically as a result of the recent due date extensions resulting from the COVID-19 emergency, 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 at 617-887-6400 to talk to our staff.
Litigation

Although Litigation Bureau attorneys are not meeting with taxpayers or their representatives in face-to-face meetings, or taking depositions, 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 Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court information, can be found online.

How to communicate with DOR

By phone

You can call the appropriate contact center at the following numbers:

  • Tax questions: (617) 887-6367 or (800) 392-6089 (toll-free in Massachusetts)
     
  • Child support questions: (617) 660-1234 or (800) 332-2733
By email

Tax: To submit general questions, comments and suggestions, please choose one of the following topics:

Please do not communicate with us on paper until further notice. The essential staff currently in the office may not have the chance to open correspondence for some time.

The best way to get information to DOR when it’s requested is to upload it through MassTaxConnect. It’s fast, it’s easy and no account is required. If you need help submitting your documents, call us.

If you are making payments, please consider making them electronically through MassTaxConnect, rather than on a paper check. Please check back for new deadlines for payments.

Individuals: If you are not registered with MassTaxConnect yet, choose “Create my username” under Logon and follow the prompts.

Businesses: If you are not registered with MassTaxConnect yet, choose “Register a new taxpayer” under Quick Links and follow the prompts.

Individuals and businesses will find links at the top of the MassTaxConnect homepage for both FAQs and how-to videos about MassTaxConnect.

Child Support: You can send CSE a secure email by visiting CSE’s website and clicking on “Login to your Case Manager account” under the Online section.

For urgent municipal finance and regulatory compliance questions, please email the Division of Local Services at COVID19DLS@dor.state.ma.us.

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.

Online transactions

We apologize for any inconvenience. Please use the online self-service options.  

DOR recognizes that our customers may need assistance with various tax, child support, and municipal obligations due to the impact of the coronavirus. We are here to help and taxpayers are advised of the following support tools and measures during this public health emergency:

  • In many instances, taxpayers automatically receive at least six extra months to file their tax returns, as long as they satisfy certain tax payment requirements.  See AP 604: Extensions of Time to File Tax Returns.
     
  • DOR may also waive penalties under certain circumstances if a taxpayer is late in paying their tax obligation and will work with impacted taxpayers to waive such penalties.  See AP 633:  Guidelines for the Waiver and Abatement of Penalties.
     
  • In the event mail service is delayed, you can ensure that returns, payments and refunds are received if you elect to submit them or receive them by electronic means.
     
  • The Probate Court is closed. The Child Support team is continuing to work with the Probate Court to develop a plan to handle child support cases.
     
  • Get important updates from DOR as they happen. Just sign up with your email.

Division of Local Services

Telephone services have been temporarily suspended. Local officials and those working on behalf of municipalities should consult with your local counsel for legal advice.

For urgent municipal finance and regulatory compliance questions, please email us at COVID19DLS@dor.state.ma.us. Before submitting questions, please check the DLS website and review our DLS Alerts notifications for the most up-to-date information.

Child Support Enforcement

As a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency, all child support in-person offices are closed until further notice. 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.)
  • Please update your email address email address and phone number(s) if they are not current to help us reach you quicker.
     
  •  Contact CSE by sending an email with a general question. To send us an email, click on the “Email us” link in the Contact Us section.
  • Call our Interactive Voice Response Phone System at 1-800-332-2733 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 by phone at (617) 660-1234 or (800) 332-2733 or email. To email us, please click on the “Email us” link in the Contact Us section. We will work together with you to find the best solution for your situation. 

What if I had a court hearing scheduled? DOR is in the process of scheduling a limited amount of virtual court hearings each week. If you receive notice of a scheduled hearing, please follow the instructions provided in the notification. If you are unable to join the hearing virtually, or have other concerns, please call the number provided on the notice or CSE’s Customer Service Bureau at 1-800-332-2733.

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

Federal stimulus payments will be subject to intercept for past-due child support.
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.

Are masks taxable?

Yes, the purchase of a mask is taxable. This question may come up these days given the enormous increase in the need for masks. DOR put together a blog to answer the question. Established businesses already know how to collect and pay sales tax and likely know that they need to charge sales tax on face mask transactions. New businesses cropping up in response to the need may not know. New businesses can find some useful startup information and specifics on sales and use tax on the website.

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