Regulation  830 CMR 62C.26.2: Amended Returns

Date: 02/24/2017
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Regulatory Authority: Massachusetts General Laws
Official Version: Published by the Massachusetts Register

830 CMR 62C.26.2:  Amended Returns

Table of Contents

(1) Statement of Purpose; Outline of Topics; Effective Date.

(a)   Statement of Purpose.   The purpose of 830 CMR 62C.26.2 is to explain the process for amending returns and how this process inter-relates with the assessment and abatement of tax by the Commissioner.  830 CMR 62C.26.2 applies to taxpayers seeking to increase a previously reported tax; decrease a previously reported tax; and report any other changes that have no net effect on the tax shown on a previously filed return.

In the case of most Massachusetts tax types, a taxpayer is required by M.G.L. c. 62C to file a return, on or before a required due date, upon which the amount of tax due is calculated and declared by the taxpayer.  The tax declared on the return filed by the taxpayer is a self-assessment of tax by the taxpayer.  In general, a self-assessment is accepted as the tax due from the taxpayer for the tax period indicated on the return unless the self-assessed amount is later adjusted, either by the Commissioner or by the taxpayer.  In most cases, adjustments by the Commissioner take the form of a correction of a mathematical or other error evident on the face of the return, or follow from the statutory process associated with a deficiency assessment.  In contrast, 830 CMR 62C.26.2 discusses taxpayer adjustments to a previously filed return through the filing of an amended return, either to increase or to decrease the amount of previously self-assessed tax or otherwise to adjust items shown on previous returns.

The Commissioner has modified return processing procedures with regards to amended returns to improve processing time and efficiency while maintaining the right of a taxpayer to contest assessments of tax, including self-assessments.  Historically, amended returns that increased the tax reported to be due were processed separately from amended returns that reduced the tax reported to be due.  The latter were treated as “abatements” and were manually evaluated.  Under the revised procedures provided in 830 CMR 62C.26.2, amended returns generally are now processed in the same manner as original returns, without regard to whether the amended return increases or decreases a prior self-assessment.  Amended returns are subject to review and/or adjustment by the Commissioner in the same manner as original returns.  With some exceptions, which are not itemized here, the abatement process is reserved for situations  where the taxpayer disputes a deficiency assessment or an assessment of penalties by the commissioner.  See 830 CMR 62C.37.1.

(b)   Outline of Topics.  Following is a list of sections contained in 830 CMR 62C.26.2:

(1)  Statement of Purpose; Outline of Topics; Effective Date
(2)  Definitions
(3)  Process for Amending a Return
(4)  Commissioner Adjustments
(5)  Deemed Abatements

(c)   Effective Date.  830 CMR 62C.26.2 is effective upon promulgation.

(2) Definitions.

Abatement, an application by a taxpayer pursuant to M.G.L. c. 62C, § 37 that seeks to reduce a previous assessment of tax and/or penalties.

Amended return, a correction or adjustment made by a taxpayer to a previously filed return.

Assessment, any determination of tax due under M.G.L. c. 62C, including the self-assessment of tax by a taxpayer on a return or a deficiency assessment by the Commissioner.

Commissioner, the Commissioner of Revenue or the Commissioner’s designee duly authorized to perform the duties of the Commissioner.

Deficiency assessment, the assessment of tax by the Commissioner pursuant to M.G.L. c. 62C, including, generally, assessments under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 26, and jeopardy assessments under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 29.

Original return, the first complete return filed by a taxpayer for a particular tax type and taxable period.

Return, a taxpayer's signed declaration of the tax due, if any, properly completed and filed by the taxpayer in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner.

Self-assessment, the declaration of a tax due by a taxpayer on a return pursuant to M.G.L. c. 62C, § 26(a), or other applicable law.

Taxpayer, any person or entity required to file a return pursuant to M.G.L. c. 62C.

(3) Process for Amending a Return.

To adjust a self-assessment shown on a prior return, a taxpayer is required to file an amended return, either electronically or otherwise as prescribed by the Commissioner.  In general, the Commissioner will process an amended return in the same manner as an original return, subject to review or other process provided in 830 CMR 62C.26.2(4) and (5).

(a)   Statute of Limitations.  An amended return that reduces the tax reported to be due must be filed within the statute of limitations applicable to an abatement under M.G.L. c. 62C, §  37, or within the period authorized by M.G.L. c. 62C, §§ 30, 30A, as applicable.  Notwithstanding the statute of limitations applicable to an abatement under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 37, an amended return that reduces the tax reported to be due is also subject to the statute of limitations under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 36 applicable to overpayments of tax.

(b)   Substantiation.  At the time of filing an amended return, supporting information, documents, explanations, arguments and authorities that will reasonably enable the Commissioner to determine whether the amended return is correct shall be included and or attached to the amended return.

(c)   Commissioner offsets.  Any refund of tax requested on an amended return is subject to any allowable offset or intercept.

(d)   Reporting a Change Resulting from a Final Federal or State Determination.  See 830 CMR 62C.30.1 and 830 CMR 62C.30A.1 for rules regarding the filing of amended returns by taxpayers seeking to report an increase in tax resulting from a final federal or state determination; to report a decrease in tax resulting from a final federal or state determination; and report any other federal or other jurisdiction changes that have no net effect on the tax shown on a previously filed return.

(4) Commissioner Adjustments.

 The Commissioner’s acceptance or processing of an amended return, including any issuance of a refund pursuant to an amended return, is not a determination by the Commissioner as to the correctness of the self-assessed tax shown on the amended return.  Amended returns are subject to review or audit by the Commissioner during or subsequent to the processing of the amended return in accordance with M.G.L. c. 62C, §§ 26, 29, 30, 30A, 36, 37, and 40.

(a)   Correction of Errors on the Return.  The Commissioner may correct errors evident on the face of an amended return, if any, as provided in M.G.L. c. 62C, § 26(c).  See 830 CMR 62C.26.1.

(b)   Assessment of Additional Tax Due.  If the Commissioner reviews an amended return and determines that additional tax is due, either because the Commissioner disagrees with the correctness of the return amendments or otherwise, the Commissioner may assess additional tax through a deficiency assessment.  See 830 CMR 62C.26.1 and 830 CMR 62C.37.1 for an explanation of the deficiency assessment process, including taxpayer rights of appeal.

(5) Deemed Abatements.

An amended return filed by a taxpayer to adjust a self-assessment is generally not considered to be an application for abatement under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 37, even in the case of a reduction in a self-assessment.  However, the Commissioner will deem an amended return that reduces a self-assessment to be such an abatement application and will so notify the taxpayer where the Commissioner determines that processing the amended return as an abatement is necessary to protect the taxpayer’s statutory rights of appeal or those of the Department to provide sufficient review of an amended return.

In the event that the Commissioner fails to take action with regard to a properly filed amended return that reduces a self-assessment before the expiration of the statute of limitations under M.G.L. c. 62C, §§ 30, 30A and/or 37, such amended return will be deemed by the Commissioner to be an abatement as of the date of filing the amended return.  For purposes of 830 CMR 62C.26.2(5), to “take action” with regard to an amended return means when the taxpayer’s self-assessment is reduced on the Commissioner’s books and records and/or a refund is issued to the taxpayer; the Commissioner issues a Notice of Intent to Assess, Notice of Change, Notice of Assessment or any other notice related to the reduction sought required under M.G.L. c. 62C; the Commissioner issues a letter informing the taxpayer that its amended return has been deemed an abatement application; the Commissioner issues a notice of abatement determination, or the Commissioner issues any other notice indicating resolution of the amended return.

As stated in 830 CMR 62C.37.1(5)(c), the filing of an amended return shall act as a waiver of the right to treat the Commissioner's failure to act on an amended return deemed to be an abatement application prior to six months from the date of filing as a denial of the application pursuant to M.G.L. c. 58A, § 6.  This waiver may be withdrawn at any time in writing by the applicant, in which event the application, unless previously acted upon by the Commissioner, shall be deemed to be denied at the expiration of the six months or on the date of withdrawal, whichever is later.

Where the Commissioner deems an amended return to be an abatement, the process under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 37 and 830 CMR 62C.37.1 shall apply.

830 CMR 62C.26.2: M.G.L. c. 14, § 6(l); M.G.L. c. 62C, § 3

Emergency Regulation Promulgated: 12/5/16
Date of Promulgation: 2/24/17


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